I'm Just Here For The Food

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Border Run

Thailand will only give tourists a 30 day visa, but it’s free, so it’s not too bad a deal. This means that if you want to stay longer than that you need to extend your visa. This means high-tailing it to the nearest border, exiting the country, and then re-entering. Simple processes as long as you’re near a border. Unfortunately my Visa expired 4 days before I actually had to catch a plane home, and the fine for over staying is 500 Baht a day ($12). Fortunately Ranong is right across from Myanmar, and so doing a border run is pretty easy to do.

I don’t know why I got excited at the idea of a border run, but it just seemed so thrilling. Maybe I was just reminded of Cannonball run or something who knows. It just seemed to have this air of mystery that I found exciting. So I left Koh Chang, caught the boat to Ranong, and then went and talked to the pier workers about doing the Border Run. The guy exchanged bath for a crisp clean $5 which is what the border people want. If you don't have one, then it’s almost double the cost. After that he took me to the immigration office to get stamped out of the office. Then it was off to another pier to catch the boat to Myanmar. On the way we stopped by the Thai Border guard and then made our way to Myanmar. The boat trip was actually pretty nice as ther are statues and Wats on a few of the islands, and Myanmar seems to have a lot of Green to it. Once there I checked in at the immigration office, was offered cheap booze and cigarettes from a 9-year old, and then got back on the boat for Thailand. Then it was back to the immigration office to officially enter Thailand again.

All in all it cost around $10, and took about 1 ½ hours, 15 of which was in Myanmar. Was it thrilling and exciting? Kind of actually, but I think that mostly came from not knowing what the hell was going on. Plus, there is something exciting about borders. I feel like a drug mule no matter the crossing is like. Are the guards going to be tough? Am I going to have to bribe someone? Am I on a list somewhere? All these things go through my mind as I’m crossing. Not exactly sure why, but it does. Plus, now I have a Myanmar stamp in my passport, so that's kind of cool.

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2 Comments:

  • I also have that sense of trepidation whenever I cross a border or pass a cop car on the road - the inner nerd that doesn't want to break the rules comes out.

    By Blogger Lisa, at 12:06 AM  

  • Hi Peter,
    I don't think we do know each other. But let's me introduce myself. I'm originally from Ranong-thailand, and i'm doing some kind of reserch on the tourist perception toward Ranong Provice.If you don't mind, may i ask me some questions about it.
    From your travel experience, what make Ranong differ from other interm of travel experience? What lack out when you travel to this province?
    Thank you so much for your time, and let's me know if you need any help when you get to this place again.
    ID
    Mayomea@hotmail.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:42 AM  

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