This is our experience/record of crossing the Myanmar-Thailand border on Wednesday, 28 December 2016. Our traveling party consisted of seven people and six motorcycles. We started at 1:30pm and finished at 5:30pm but we had to return the next day. Our Myanmar tour guide and government minder processed us out of Myanmar.
Border Name: Myawaddy-Mae Sot
Closest major cities: Myawaddy, Myanmar and Mae Sot, Thailand
Costs: $494.57 ($64.88 visa fees, 2.74 bank fees, $10.20 photocopies, 26.71 taxis, and $390.04 for Thai vehicle permits and insurance)
Paperwork required at border:
*Passport with Thailand visa
*Myanmar tourist exit card
*Thailand entry tourist card
*Thailand vehicle permit and insurance
Note: we keep all originals in individual plastic sleeves. We labeled these sleeves clearly to avoid confusion as to what was what, to keep original documents clean, and to differentiate what is original and what is a copy. All border-crossing officials have respected the sleeve.
Thailand Visa – procured at the embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal
*Passport with two photocopies
*Application form plus two copies
*Passport photos (three)
*Six months bank statements to show solvency
*Photocopy of itinerary letter that was part of our Thailand vehicle permit application
*Motorcycle title (two copies)
*Visa fee 3,500 Nepalese Rupee per person plus 100 bank fee
*Vehicle permit and insurance 7,000 Thai Baht per motorcycle
The land crossing “visa on arrival” has changed so that generally it is only possible to get 15 days on arrival and then only possible to extend for 7 days. We wanted 30 days so we applied for our visas prior to arrival. We downloaded the visa application form from the Thailand embassy in Nepal website and followed the instructions for required documents. Because we did not have an airline ticket we provided our itinerary letter and copy of our motorcycle title to illustrate how we were planning to travel. In Kathmandu you are required to pay your visa fee at the bank and then bring the receipt as part of your application. At the branch nearest to the embassy they have small forms to fill out for paying your Thai visa fee. It was very easy. We dropped off our applications on a Wednesday and picked up our passports with visas on Tuesday.
Thailand Vehicle Permit Application Paperwork required:
*International driver’s permit
*Driver’s license from home
*Motorcycle photo side view and back view with license plate
*Official letter with itinerary that was legalized (notarized at the US embassy)
This process will be changing as of 1 March 2016 when the new regulation is updated and anyone traveling with their own vehicle will require to have a guide. We entered prior to 1 March and used Aran Travel to arrange our vehicle permit and insurance. We provided all documents listed above via email to Mrs. Thip and she applied for and arranged our vehicle permits and insurance. Note that if you are not a US-citizen the requirements might be different. For example, if you documents are not in English or Thai you will need to have them translated. The biggest difference is that Thailand does recognize the US-international driver’s permit (we signed the same international convention) but this does not apply to most other countries so you will need to get a Thai driver’s permit when you arrive in Thailand. The following FaceBook group (Thailand – New regulation affecting overland travellers) is helpful for navigating these changes: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1024579897597702/
We arrived at the border, after lunch, at about 1:00pm and along with our guide and government minder we were processed out of Myanmar.
Step 1 – Immigration: We filled out tourist exit cards and provided our passports. The officer also reviewed our group paperwork before taking our photo and stamping us out of Myanmar.
Step 2 – Customs: Paperwork was provided to customs by our guide and someone counted our group of bikes and that was all.
Total time to exit was about forty-five minutes.
Drive across the bridge and you find immigration, customs, and vehicle registration.
We had a problem because our permit was delayed so we did not have the required paperwork in hand for the motorcycles to enter Thailand. We had our tour agent (who arranged our permits) talk to the officer at vehicle licenses to explain our situation. When we arrived at the Thai border we went and purchased a SIM card so that we could talk to our agent and we gave our phone to the officer. He authorized us to go to immigration to get stamped into Thailand. The motorcycles stayed in the customs area near the police window. They were safe there until the next day. The next morning our permit was ready so we printed out three copies along with our insurance and returned to the border.
Step 1: Permits: The last office on your right hand side (south) is a vehicle registration where you need to bring your Thai vehicle permit and insurance. You need to provide two copies of your Thai permit, insurance, passport, motorcycle title, and international driver’s permit. You will be given a customs declaration form to fill out and the officer makes one photocopy. The officer makes two packages of all these items, stamps them both, keeps one, and gives you one. Don’t lose this, as you will need to give it to customs when leaving Thailand.
Step 2 – Immigration: Walk across the road (north) to the immigration window (number 14) and get a Thai entry tourist form to fill out. Provide that and your passport to be stamped into Thailand. We had procured a 30-day Thai visa in Nepal.
Step 3 – Customs: Window 16 just down (east) of immigration is the customs window. Provide them with a copy of your Thai vehicle permit, vehicle insurance, motorcycle title, passport, and international driver’s permit. They put all your information in the computer and provide you with a printed out customs declaration form. It is stamped with the penalties for overstay. You will need to provide this document to customs when you leave Thailand.
Step 4 – Insurance: Insurance was provided as part of our permit package.
Total time to enter Thailand was about 3 hours on the first day and one hour on the second.