Difference between revisions of "Myawaddy"
Revision as of 21:27, 3 October 2014
Myawaddy (also sometimes spelt Myawaddi, Myawadi or Myawady) is a border town in Myanmar.
Since 2013 foreigners are allowed to cross the Thai-Myanmar boarder at Myawaddy. Traffic between Myawaddy and Hpa An goes west (Myawaddy to Hpa An) on even numbered days, east (Hpa An to Myawaddy) on odd numbered days so plan your border crossing carefully. The border closes at 18:00 Myanmar time and the immigration procedure is quite simple. Pick-ups and taxis are easily available on both sides.
The Myawaddy - Mae Sot border crossing is a moderately popular destination for tourists and expats in Thailand who want to make a "visa run" (ie, get a new Thai entry permit stamp by making a short visit to another country).
The time in Myawaddy is 30 minutes earlier than in Mae Sot, and the traffic (mostly) drives on the right.
From the Thai town of Mae Sot, take a songthaew or other transport to the border crossing at the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge over the Moei River; Myawaddy is immediately on the other side of the bridge.
To do a visa run, foreigners must deposit their passports at the Myanmar immigration checkpoint and pay a fee of either USD10 or THB500 for entry.
On re-entering Thailand without a visa, passport holders from the G7 countries of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States now get another automatic 30 days in Thailand without the need for any visa.
If you are a citizen of Brazil, Chile, Peru, South Korea, or Argentina, you will fare even better as you'll be stamped into Thailand for 90 days. Citizens from most other countries get only a 15 day stamp put in their passports. According to the Thailand Immigration Bureau, the number of times you can cross a land border into Thailand and be given 15, 30 or 90 days in Thailand is now unlimited. The Thai authorities have a nasty habit of changing this quite frequently with no warning, so do re-confirm this at the time you are travelling.
While in Myawaddy the Thai baht are universally accepted, and so there is no need to change baht into kyat (the Burmese currency).
Myawaddy is centred around the wide strip of highway that leads from the Friendship Bridge through town and is small enough to be explored easily on foot; alternatively, ubiquitous red bicycle rickshaws go everywhere.
Places of interest in town include:
The Golden pagoda, 2-3 minutes from the border checkpoint by rickshaw. Very picturesque site with several big Buddha images enshrined on its grounds, one of which is a replica of the golden Buddha image of Mahamuni temple in Mandalay. Locals claim that this pagoda is more than 1,000 years old.
The Crocodile temple, 6-7 minutes from the border checkpoint by rickshaw. Very unusual temple situated on the back of a gigantic crocodile statue.
Three more temples with big pagodas a bit away from the town centre in neighbouring villages (there are many more pagodas in surrounding areas, as everywhere in Myanmar).
One of these pagodas is situated on the grounds of the children's dancing school, so you can see many small kids there. There are also more than a hundred similar sitting Buddha images on one of the sides of this pagoda.
Another temple is situated on a hill 100m walk from the previous one. It also has a big pagoda and gives a good view of the surrounding area. Visiting these distant places gives a bit of experience of "real Myanmar" with small wooden huts and locals working in their fields.
There are several guesthouses and small hotels. You can find cheap guest houses from MYK6,000 for a single room, and MYK10,000 for a double room. Foreigners are only permitted to stay overnight if they've got their visa.
All onward travel is limited according to which day it is - see above.