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Three Pagodas Pass

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Thailand : Central Thailand : West of Bangkok : Three Pagodas Pass
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Three Pagodas Pass (Thai: ด่านเจดีย์สามองค์ Darn Chedi Sam Ong) is on the Thai-Myanmar border but accessible to foreigners only from the Thai side. It is located between Sangkhlaburi in Thailand and Payathonzu in Myanmar.

Understand[edit]

The Three Pagodas Pass was for centuries along the main land route between India and South East Asia. The strategic location was last exploited by the Japanese during World War II, who used POW labor to build the infamous Death Railway to ferry supplies across.

Get in[edit]

From Thailand: the nearest major town is Kanchanaburi. There are frequent bus services from Kanchanaburi to Sangkhlaburi (4-5 hours), from where you can continue by pickup truck (30-40 min, departures hourly).

From Myanmar: the nearest town is Payathonzu, however foreigners can only get there using the border crossing from Thailand. The border crossing at Three Pagodas Pass is in a state of flux, but has been reopened as of December 9, 2010. as of January 19th 2012 it was open to Thai citizens but NOT open to foreigners.

Get around[edit]

Since 2007 the Thai-Myanmar border at the Three Pagodas Pass is closed for foreigners. The information below is only useful when autorities decide to re-open the border.

At the final songthaew stop, either walk (head for the Three Pagodas and then turn right) or take a motorbike to the border (you will be very limited in what you'll be able to visit without a motorbike).

At the Thai border, you need a photocopy of your passport and 2 passport photos; your passport will be held at the checkpoint, and you must return on the same day. At the Myanmar checkpoint, you need US$10 (if paying with US$ notes) or 500 baht (if paying with Thai currency) - therefore it's best to change some baht to US$ before leaving Kanchanaburi. There are no banks here; the nearest (Siam Commercial Bank) is back in Sangkhlaburi. You need US$ only for the Myanmar entry permit - once in Myanmar, Thai baht is accepted for everything else.

Back at the border, your passport will be returned and you can head back the same way back as you came. There is also the possibility to take a bus directly from Kanchanaburi to the Three Pagodas Pass. Note that you will not receive any passport stamps (neither Thai exit or entry stamps, nor Myanmar entry or exit stamps) - hence this border crossing cannot be used for "visa runs".

See[edit][add listing]

The Thai side of the pass consists of the three smallish chedi, a couple of shrines, a market oriented around Burmese goods (carved wood, gems, textiles), and the border gate to Myanmar.

In Myanmar you can take a look at a few temples as well as a market. None is really in any way very special. However there is one temple that is up on a hill, from where you get a great view across the border land.

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Burmese wooden furniture, jade carvings, and textiles are popular purchases.

Eat[edit][add listing]

On the way from Sangkhla Buri there is a concrete bridge. Down to the right is a small restaurant on the river. There is also another restaurant on the roadside just past this on the right hand side that does meals for around 25 baht.

Just before the Three Pagodas themselves there is a resort with a restaurant attached but this was not open in February 2008.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There is a Three Pagodas resort just uphill from the border, but this was closed for refurbishment in February 2008. The accommodation consists of about 20 small air conditioned chalets.

Stay safe[edit]

The area around the pass has occasionally been the site of skirmishes between the Myanmar army and various Karen and Mon rebel groups. However, any such activity will mean that the pass is closed, so risk to tourists is minimal.

Get out[edit]

There are only two ways: either back to Kanchanaburi or by crossing the border to Payathonzu in Myanmar.





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