Traveling from Thailand to Myanmar by land it’s pretty easy and safe for solo travelers. In this article, I will present my experience of traveling from Chiang Mai to Yangon by bus. This was a part of my travel in Asia by land from Vietnam to Myanmar through Laos and Thailand.
1. Applying for a visa. The first step of this journey was to apply for a visa. Look, don’t read all the articles about how to apply to the Consulate of Myanmar in Chiang Mai for a touristic visa. It’s easier and way faster to apply online and the price it’s exactly the same, 50$. I was misinformed that I should do it at the Consulate and when I’ve searched about visas, the price was 85$. The agencies are paying Google for their site to appear first when you search about online visas so it could be confusing for you. You should apply from the official site of the Myanmar Government. It’s easier, you don’t need to wait 3 working days, in my case the second day I received the letter of approval. You need though to know exactly the border from where you’ll cross to Myanmar. I will let here the site from where I’ve applied: https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/Tourist
2. Taking the bus to the border. The most famous crossing point by land from Thailand to Myanmar it’s Mae Sot to Myawaddy. From Chiang Mai to Mae Sot I took a Greenbush from Arcade Bus Terminal 3. You could download the app GreenBus and buy the ticket online or book it online and pay in a 7Eleven store in the next two hours. I chose to go in a 7Eleven with the code from the app and I paid 340 baht for one ticket. In order to cross the border in the same day, I advise you to book the morning bus at 08.30h. The only inconvenience with this bus is that it’s very slow and it has many stops on the way. We arrived around 15.30h at the bus station in Mae Sot. There you have the option to take a tuk-tuk until the border for 50baht.
3. Crossing the Friendship Bridge. Firstly, I went to the Thai Border where I took the stamp for getting out of the country. Then I crossed the Friendship Bridge to Myawaddy, it was a nice experience and my first time for me walking between the borders. I tried to find the middle of the Bridge and take a picture being in two different countries at the same time. I arrived at the other end of the Bridge where they firstly verified by temperature due to the coronavirus crises. Then I presented my approval letter from my Evisa and I completed one form with my information. I went to another office where they took me pictures and they gave me the stamp of getting in the country. Funny story – the officer gave the visa until May, then he realized I have only 28 days’ stay and he called for me back and changed the date. In the approval letter, it is written that you should prove at the border that you have a flight out of the country, a booking of accommodation and sufficient funds for the period of stay in Myanmar. I had prepared all this but they didn’t ask anything.
4. Bus to Yangon. I wasn’t sure how we will travel until Mae Sot so I didn’t book anything from Myawaddy. You should book something online, I think it’s better. I met a guy that took me to book a bus to Yangon for 15 USD. Everything was fast and the bus station is near to the border so you could do it by yourself, I think I paid more because I followed that guy, anyway I needed help and he was there to give it to me. The night bus left at 18.00h from Myawaddy and arrived around 05.00 am at the Yangoon Bus Terminal. Attention!!! This bus station is 20 km outside the city, I was very frustrated that I need to pay a taxi for this distance so I refused even if I was alone in the middle of nowhere in a new country. After a while, I found a city bus A36 that took me to the Yangon Downtown for 200 Kyat. The taxi drivers were asking for 7000 Kyat so it was a really big difference. I’ve reached my accommodation in Yangon safely even if it was early in the morning.
That was my long journey from Chiang Mai to Yangon, I left Friday morning at 08.30 and I arrived around 06.00 am Saturday in Yangon Downtown.