Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Myanmar : Southeastern Myanmar : Myawaddy
Myawaddy (also sometimes spelt Myawaddi, Myawadi or Myawady) is a border town in Myanmar. Access for foreigners is currently only possible from Mae Sot in Tak Province, Thailand, though this is set to change in a few years time.
Since 28.8.2013 foreigners are allowed to cross the Thai-Myanmar boarder at Myawaddy. Traffic to Myawaddy from 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. I crossed from Myanmar to Thailand on the 29.9.2013 and didn't face any problems. 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" (i.e. 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 $10 or 500 Thai baht for entry.
As of September 2013, on your re-entry back into Thailand you are given visa waiver for only fifteen days, not "30 days" (as one guidebook incorrectly claims).
While in Myawaddy the Thai Baht is universally accepted, and so there is no need to change Bhaht into the 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 padodas 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 100 metres 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, however foreigners are currently not permitted to stay in Myawaddy overnight.
Edit: On 26 December 2013, I checked in at * Sein Naga Motel, Bogyoke Road, Myawaddy (Along the street parallel to and north of the main road from the border crossing), ☎ 058-50705 (Myan), 088-1514-002 (Thai). Simple rooms. No hot water, no breakfast. The pagoda is down the street. A few minutes away from the border crossing, money exchangers, the bank, and shops. Double, shared bathroom: 10,000 Kyats, triple (double bed + single bed in the same room: USD$25. . After I checked in, the motel staff took my passport to the immigration office for some paperwork and brought it back in a few minutes. I think this means that foreigners are in fact allowed to stay in Myawaddy overnight.
Note that all onward travel is limited according to which day it is - see above.
On 27th December 2013, I took a minibus from Myawaddy to Yangon for 25,000 Kyats. The journey lasted from 9am to 6pm. I bought my ticket from a stall on the right side of the main street (if you face away from the border). They have a poster that says: "Ar Kar Tha", with the following information: