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Mae Sai/Tachilek Border Info


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Wel sed.

For the umpteenth time man, they're not called VOA, they're Visa Exemptions. VOA's are for the following countries: Bhutan China Cyprus Czech Republic Estonia Hungary India Kazakhstan Latvia

Anyone who goes up there but does not intend to cross or ask immigration about the VIP pass can ask the guy in the shop that does the photo copies, it's too the left of immigration looking towards the

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Even in the US, whether you are allowed in or not, depends on the immigration officer you encounter. They state very clearly that having a valid visa does not guarantee entry. If you are not on your best behavior and don’t answer questions to the satisfaction of the immigration officer you encounter, you are out of luck.

We all know that appearance and manners are important in Thailand and those who refuse to play along do so at their own peril. Just like any other country, Thailand has the right to refuse entry to anyone they wish.

Yes, but in Australia, and I assume the USA is the same, Immigration officers still have to adhere to legislation and in this case (VIP pass) policy.

Countries state a visa does not guarantee entry in case evidence is found that the person in question intends or has breached visa conditions.

Yes manners are important, but I doubt anyone would be refused entry into Australia and or the US purely because the person failed the attitude test

or was wearing the wrong colour shirt.

It seems to me that getting a VIP pass these days is a bit of a lottery and can be dependent on the sort of day an officer is having, which is not right.

There should be a straight forward policy on these things.

Yes we grant them or no we don't.

Good post. There are rules, and those should be adhered to. For example, don't bring drugs or guns across the border. I don't believe Imm officials are trained to allow or forbid entry based on suppositions of another person's perceived attitude, lack of politeness, or less than dandy physical appearance. One person could look handsome to one official, and unkempt to another. Should the official who thinks the person looks unkempt, therefore forbid that person to leave to walk 100 meters to visit a market?

I can read between the lines about the posts from certain people who counter everything I post. They surmise that I am rude or perhaps they think my appearance is shoddy. I don't dress like Donald Trump and I don't turn on the charm as well as others. However, I have had decent conversations with some of the border Imm officials - sometimes we share jokes. In other words, relationships are ok. On the other hand, I (and others) may be on a blacklist or something similar - though sometimes I'm told 'mai dai' before they see my passport. If I'm on a blacklist, I'd hope they'd at least inform me, if that were so. Yet, other farang (not just me) have been told a flat 'mai dai' for VIP-pass requests recently. The policy is not consistent. If some posters want to forever justify everything Thai officials do, then that's their choice, but it makes them look silly.

People who respond (to this thread) with biased opinions are welcome to do so. But what counts is first- or 2nd-hand facts of what's actually going on at the border. That's what I have been posting (and yes, some commentary also). However, the people who are insinuating I'm rude or bad appearance are not basing their opinions on any facts. It's conjecture at best, while not adding any factual info to the conversation.

Again, if people travel hundreds of KM's with plans to either renew their visa or do a day-trip and are forbidden from doing so due to the subjective whims of a border guard (against regulations), then that's a problem. It's screws up the travelers' plans and causes unnecessary expenses.

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Again, if people travel hundreds of KM's with plans to either renew their visa or do a day-trip and are forbidden from doing so due to the subjective whims of a border guard (against regulations), then that's a problem. It's screws up the travelers' plans and causes unnecessary expenses.

Ant and everyone who goes to Maesai to renew their Visa is allowed to do so , renew an existing visa, that is .

You can do a day trip, if you have the correct return visa .

The only thing that you cannot do is to leave Thailand without getting an exit stamp .

Some people on tour groups are allowed to do this, which is quite understandable , maybe its part of their tour package , visit Thailand for a few weeks and also venture into Myanmar .I do recall seeing some felangs in Tachilek who were "on the nod" , which is slang for the state they get in after taking heroin , when they just keep nodding , you have been there many times and some people may have been wondering why do you keep wanting to go there so often , a few hours in a life time is enough for most people

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Again, if people travel hundreds of KM's with plans to either renew their visa or do a day-trip and are forbidden from doing so due to the subjective whims of a border guard (against regulations), then that's a problem. It's screws up the travelers' plans and causes unnecessary expenses.

Ant and everyone who goes to Maesai to renew their Visa is allowed to do so , renew an existing visa, that is .

You can do a day trip, if you have the correct return visa .

The only thing that you cannot do is to leave Thailand without getting an exit stamp .

Some people on tour groups are allowed to do this, which is quite understandable , maybe its part of their tour package , visit Thailand for a few weeks and also venture into Myanmar .I do recall seeing some felangs in Tachilek who were "on the nod" , which is slang for the state they get in after taking heroin , when they just keep nodding , you have been there many times and some people may have been wondering why do you keep wanting to go there so often , a few hours in a life time is enough for most people

Who is Ant? Do I care?

Criteria for renewing visas has changed a lot. Read up, and get informed.

A 'day-trip' (VIP pass) is not contingent on having ''the correct return visa." It doesn't involve visas of any sort.

I haven't seen anyone 'on the nod' as you mention. Maybe I don't recognize it, as you do.

Whomever reading this, who wonders why I like to visit Tachilek, can read my detailed explanation, several posts earlier.

But this isn't just about me, it's about non-Thai and non-Chinese people who would like to visit the Tachilek tourist market. Do we need a good-enough reason (to please Thai officials) to do so? Do I need a nanny to tell me where to go, where not to go, and how to think? Maybe if I was Thai or Chinese.

luke000: "some people may have been wondering why do you keep wanting to go there so often , a few hours in a life time is enough for most people"

I met a hill tribe man today who likes to go and trap and kill tiny blue birds in the forest. That's his choice. It's not my cup of tea. Yet I have other things I like to do. You have some things you like to do. I don't have to like to do what you do, and you don't have to do what like what I do. As long as neither of us break the law or harm anyone, then it's ok, isn't it? You don't have to approve of the things I like to do (like sunbathe while reading a book), and I don't have to approve of things you like to do. Fair enough? Sometimes I feel like I'm conversing with 5-year-olds.

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Criteria for renewing visas has changed a lot. Read up, and get informed.

No it hasnt, it is still exactly the same as it was five or so years ago .

If you have a Thai Visa will allows re -entry (DETV, METV ED-visa wtc) you can still leave from Maesai to Tachielk and come back again, same as it ever was, nothing has changed in that regard .

P,S as you seem confused and you will give some BS reply, I will reply to your reply, even though you havent yet replied : A Visa Exempt stamp is not a Visa and even back when you could do Visa runs, you were not renewing a Visa, you were getting a new Visa exempt stamp .

THAT has changed, but renewing Visas is still the same as it ever was

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Criteria for renewing visas has changed a lot. Read up, and get informed.

No it hasnt, it is still exactly the same as it was five or so years ago .

If you have a Thai Visa will allows re -entry (DETV, METV ED-visa wtc) you can still leave from Maesai to Tachielk and come back again, same as it ever was, nothing has changed in that regard .

P,S as you seem confused and you will give some BS reply, I will reply to your reply, even though you havent yet replied : A Visa Exempt stamp is not a Visa and even back when you could do Visa runs, you were not renewing a Visa, you were getting a new Visa exempt stamp .

THAT has changed, but renewing Visas is still the same as it ever was

We don't agree. The difference is, I have 1st hand knowledge of flip-flopping policies at the border. It sounds like you are reading from some policy statement.

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Criteria for renewing visas has changed a lot. Read up, and get informed.

No it hasnt, it is still exactly the same as it was five or so years ago .

If you have a Thai Visa will allows re -entry (DETV, METV ED-visa wtc) you can still leave from Maesai to Tachielk and come back again, same as it ever was, nothing has changed in that regard .

P,S as you seem confused and you will give some BS reply, I will reply to your reply, even though you havent yet replied : A Visa Exempt stamp is not a Visa and even back when you could do Visa runs, you were not renewing a Visa, you were getting a new Visa exempt stamp .

THAT has changed, but renewing Visas is still the same as it ever was

We don't agree. The difference is, I have 1st hand knowledge of flip-flopping policies at the border. It sounds like you are reading from some policy statement.

That really isnt a difference because I also have first hand experience of crossing that birder, well over 60 times and on numerous different visa categories.

Edited by Rimmer
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I may go up this week, I had a talk to CR immigration while getting my stamp this month and they didn't want to discuss VIP passes but said just call into Mae Sai immigration and get a reentry for my visa which I'll save as plan B. smile.png

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I may go up this week, I had a talk to CR immigration while getting my stamp this month and they didn't want to discuss VIP passes but said just call into Mae Sai immigration and get a reentry for my visa which I'll save as plan B. smile.png

That makes a lot of sense. Making plans based entirely on the expectation of getting a VIP pass is kind of like being a walk-in at a hotel without a reservation, it might work or it might not. You can’t really blame them if they don’t have a room for you. If you are flexible and are willing to go elsewhere there is no problem but if you want certainty it is best to prepare in advance. In this case being prepared with a plan B, getting a reentry, makes sense.

I am guessing that the VIP pass is not part of the immigration law and was put in place to make it easier for us to pop over the border. I have always viewed it as a privilege and not a right. After all crossing an international border is a big deal in most places.
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This has been a very useful thread for visitors in the past and I think the VIP problem is now well documented, I'd really like to see it move on unless someone personally makes a crossing. smile.png

It seems like it can change from 1 day to the next, so recent experiences shouldn't be taken as gospel.

It probably doesn't affect that many living in Thailand, but it does have an effect on visitors here.

We had 4 friends over from Oz last week, and they would've liked to pop over into Mae Sai for a look

and shop, but with all of the uncertainty, decided not to go.

Maesai is on the Thai side.

Tachilek is on the Myanmar side.

There really isnt much to see or do in Tachilek .

Everything that you can buy there m you can but cheaper across the border .

The eating places are grotty .

The only reason to go there is to say that youve been there

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This has been a very useful thread for visitors in the past and I think the VIP problem is now well documented, I'd really like to see it move on unless someone personally makes a crossing. smile.png

It seems like it can change from 1 day to the next, so recent experiences shouldn't be taken as gospel.

It probably doesn't affect that many living in Thailand, but it does have an effect on visitors here.

We had 4 friends over from Oz last week, and they would've liked to pop over into Mae Sai for a look

and shop, but with all of the uncertainty, decided not to go.

Maesai is on the Thai side.

Tachilek is on the Myanmar side.

There really isnt much to see or do in Tachilek .

Everything that you can buy there m you can but cheaper across the border .

The eating places are grotty .

The only reason to go there is to say that youve been there

Yes, apologies, I mean't popping over to Tachilek.

I don't think you can get dvd boxests and obviously duty free wine on the Thai side however.

Edited by Will27
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I may go up this week, I had a talk to CR immigration while getting my stamp this month and they didn't want to discuss VIP passes but said just call into Mae Sai immigration and get a reentry for my visa which I'll save as plan B. smile.png

That makes a lot of sense. Making plans based entirely on the expectation of getting a VIP pass is kind of like being a walk-in at a hotel without a reservation, it might work or it might not. You can’t really blame them if they don’t have a room for you. If you are flexible and are willing to go elsewhere there is no problem but if you want certainty it is best to prepare in advance. In this case being prepared with a plan B, getting a reentry, makes sense.

I am guessing that the VIP pass is not part of the immigration law and was put in place to make it easier for us to pop over the border. I have always viewed it as a privilege and not a right. After all crossing an international border is a big deal in most places.

My visitors (visa exempt) based themselves in Chiang Mai and there were no plans to visit Tachilek.

Once here (CR), someone suggested going. No great problem not vsiting, but more a slight disappointment.

My point is though, why make it difficult?

Regardless of it being a right or privilege, it's an international border and there should be a policy in place methinks.

Anyway, there are those who think it should an arbitary decision by Immigration and those that don't.

Not everyones going to agree on everything I guess.

If people realise it's a bit of a lottery, there shouldn't be much disaapointment.

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This has been a very useful thread for visitors in the past and I think the VIP problem is now well documented, I'd really like to see it move on unless someone personally makes a crossing. smile.png

It seems like it can change from 1 day to the next, so recent experiences shouldn't be taken as gospel.

It probably doesn't affect that many living in Thailand, but it does have an effect on visitors here.

We had 4 friends over from Oz last week, and they would've liked to pop over into Mae Sai for a look

and shop, but with all of the uncertainty, decided not to go.

Maesai is on the Thai side.

Tachilek is on the Myanmar side.

There really isnt much to see or do in Tachilek .

Everything that you can buy there m you can but cheaper across the border .

The eating places are grotty .

The only reason to go there is to say that youve been there

Yes, apologies, I mean't popping over to Tachilek.

I don't think you can get dvd boxests and obviously duty free wine on the Thai side however.

Although it is illegal to bring counterfeit goods into Thailand and there is a limit on the duty free that you are allowed to bring in

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Admitting that the main purpose of the cross border trip is to purchase counterfeit, pirated or otherwise illegal products and bring them duty-free into Thailand hardly sounds like the kind of argument which would go over well with Thai authorities.

On the one hand we want rule of law and certainty and on the other we want to break the law and not be punished. That sounds like an interesting predicament.
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Admitting that the main purpose of the cross border trip is to purchase counterfeit, pirated or otherwise illegal products and bring them duty-free into Thailand hardly sounds like the kind of argument which would go over well with Thai authorities.

On the one hand we want rule of law and certainty and on the other we want to break the law and not be punished. That sounds like an interesting predicament.

Not everything purchased there is illegal.

You seem to be missing the point though, It's about issuing VIP passes or not.

Not what's on someones shopping list. Customs are there to check for illegal contraband.

That reminds me, I must turn myself in for buying that dvd at the market a while ago.

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I could be missing the point but it could be that Thai immigration is trying to cut down on what they see as illicit practices of those popping over the border. Just because not everything is illegal doesn’t make everything okay.

As you said before, if people realize it’s a bit of a lottery and plan accordingly there shouldn’t be much disappointment. I can’t think of a good reason why we should be able to demand the right to cross international borders without using our passport and they seem to have every right to demand that we follow the law.
I don’t see any harm in asking for a VIP pass but I wouldn’t count on getting one or get upset if they said no.
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I could be missing the point but it could be that Thai immigration is trying to cut down on what they see as illicit practices of those popping over the border. Just because not everything is illegal doesn’t make everything okay.

As you said before, if people realize it’s a bit of a lottery and plan accordingly there shouldn’t be much disappointment. I can’t think of a good reason why we should be able to demand the right to cross international borders without using our passport and they seem to have every right to demand that we follow the law.
I don’t see any harm in asking for a VIP pass but I wouldn’t count on getting one or get upset if they said no.

If Thai Immigration are that worried about people bringing back things like copied DVD's and the like (which I seriously doubt), then they can

easily put a stop to it by not issuing VIP passes.

I doubt people arranging their holiday, will factor in that border crossing and go to the hassle of obtaining a visa. They just won't bother going.

No one's demanding anything. Of course Immigration have every right to demand we follow the law, but no one seems to know when it's

going to be applied and when it isn't. People just wasnt some clarifiaction. I don't think that's too much to ask.

You asking for and being refused wouldn't affect you as you have a visa.

It's mainly effecting tourists who want to go.

We could go around in circles all day and still not resolve anything.

We obviously have different opinions, so best to just agree to disagree on this one methinks.

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Maesai is on the Thai side.

Tachilek is on the Myanmar side.

There really isnt much to see or do in Tachilek .

Everything that you can buy there m you can but cheaper across the border .

The eating places are grotty .

The only reason to go there is to say that youve been there

Yes, apologies, I mean't popping over to Tachilek.

I don't think you can get dvd boxests and obviously duty free wine on the Thai side however.

Although it is illegal to bring counterfeit goods into Thailand and there is a limit on the duty free that you are allowed to bring in

rolleyes.gif

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This has been a very useful thread for visitors in the past and I think the VIP problem is now well documented, I'd really like to see it move on unless someone personally makes a crossing. smile.png

It seems like it can change from 1 day to the next, so recent experiences shouldn't be taken as gospel.

It probably doesn't affect that many living in Thailand, but it does have an effect on visitors here.

We had 4 friends over from Oz last week, and they would've liked to pop over into Mae Sai for a look

and shop, but with all of the uncertainty, decided not to go.

Maesai is on the Thai side.

Tachilek is on the Myanmar side.

There really isnt much to see or do in Tachilek .

Everything that you can buy there m you can but cheaper across the border .

The eating places are grotty .

The only reason to go there is to say that youve been there

You go where you want, I go where I want. Fair enough? Or would you like my opinions on places you like to go? Didn't think so.

Admitting that the main purpose of the cross border trip is to purchase counterfeit, pirated or otherwise illegal products and bring them duty-free into Thailand hardly sounds like the kind of argument which would go over well with Thai authorities.

On the one hand we want rule of law and certainty and on the other we want to break the law and not be punished. That sounds like an interesting predicament.

Thailand is counted as among the 'dirty dozen' countries ww which are most involved with fake and pirated items. That's among nearly 200 countries ww.

Let's not get 'holier than thou' here. As Luke mentioned, we're mainly talking about border crossing policies.

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The VIP pass is bonus for tourists, proper tourists who are temporary visiting different Countries .

Its for tourists who want to visit the most northerly part of Thailand and as a bonus, they can visit another Country without officially having to go .

The legalities of the VIP pass are questionable, thats why no official wants to talk about it and immigration are doing you favour by giving you one, people really shouldnt demand a VIP pass and question officers about their decisions .

VIP passes are on the quiet allowances for tourists to quickly cross the border officially unnoticed, they certainly shouldnt be used by regular smugglers of illicit goods .

They certainly shouldnt used by people in Thailand that just want to go there to get cheap wine and the latest batman movie

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I posted on another thread (same topic) that I and another farang asked for VIP-passes at the border, 4 days ago, and were both told by separate Thai officials that we could get them. Do I get a 'Like This' from Villagefarang for posting this? Sceandugenga gets 'likes' from VF for every one of his posts, and I never get any from VF. Boo hoo.

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I posted on another thread (same topic) that I and another farang asked for VIP-passes at the border, 4 days ago, and were both told by separate Thai officials that we could get them. Do I get a 'Like This' from Villagefarang for posting this? Sceandugenga gets 'likes' from VF for every one of his posts, and I never get any from VF. Boo hoo.

Do you feel better now?smile.png Talk about silly.facepalm.gif

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I don't get a lot of likes so he probably feels sorry for me, however a quick swipe of the mouse reveals you guys are very close in your number of likes so that might explain why things are a little edgy here.

I'll give you both one..... smile.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update re; border crossing: I spoke for several minutes with a Thai woman official there. She started by saying no VIP passes, period. After speaking awhile, she admitted that groups are allowed to cross for day-only, but only if they have a Thai guide (I assume that means a certified Thai guide, and not just a Thai person who says he/she's a guide). Most big groups that go over for short visits are Chinese, so that rule must be tailor-made for them.

It's yet another non-sensible, unannounced rule plastered in place by the subjective crew who control the Thai side of the border. Why is a guide needed to wander around the market by the bridge? Are we 3-year-olds? I know more about Tachilek than any 200 Thai guides combined, but that's not the issue. It's about control and money. Bureaucrats creed: If we can control it, we will restrict it, to the 10th degree. And if there's added money to be made, under or over the table, fine.

The cattle chute at the entryway into Thailand is narrower than before. They halved the passage space from 3ft to 1.5ft. In the several minutes I was there, farang were tripping over baggage and each other, trying to maneuver to negotiate the tiny windows where eye contact is not possible, unless a person squats down with their butt pressed against the metal divider grate. It's impersonal to the 10th degree. Similar, but not quite as ridiculous, as the modified entry kiosk on the west side.

I'm sure that if you're not a visa runner you can still cross the border as usual, even with your car if you want. However, now you will probably be required to get exit stamps for Thailand, the usual entry/exit stamps for Myanmar and another entry stamp for Thailand upon return, right?

Also, how can Thai guides be allowed to operate in Myanmar? That is beyond their jurisdiction and considered illegal work. Wouldn't the guides need to be Burmese? In which case the Burmese would be the ones applying such a rule (which I doubt, although they did have a rule like this up until 2013 when the border became truly international).

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Again, if people travel hundreds of KM's with plans to either renew their visa or do a day-trip and are forbidden from doing so due to the subjective whims of a border guard (against regulations), then that's a problem. It's screws up the travelers' plans and causes unnecessary expenses.

Ant and everyone who goes to Maesai to renew their Visa is allowed to do so , renew an existing visa, that is .

You can do a day trip, if you have the correct return visa .

The only thing that you cannot do is to leave Thailand without getting an exit stamp .

Some people on tour groups are allowed to do this, which is quite understandable , maybe its part of their tour package , visit Thailand for a few weeks and also venture into Myanmar .I do recall seeing some felangs in Tachilek who were "on the nod" , which is slang for the state they get in after taking heroin , when they just keep nodding , you have been there many times and some people may have been wondering why do you keep wanting to go there so often , a few hours in a life time is enough for most people

Who is Ant? Do I care?

Criteria for renewing visas has changed a lot. Read up, and get informed.

A 'day-trip' (VIP pass) is not contingent on having ''the correct return visa." It doesn't involve visas of any sort.

I haven't seen anyone 'on the nod' as you mention. Maybe I don't recognize it, as you do.

Whomever reading this, who wonders why I like to visit Tachilek, can read my detailed explanation, several posts earlier.

But this isn't just about me, it's about non-Thai and non-Chinese people who would like to visit the Tachilek tourist market. Do we need a good-enough reason (to please Thai officials) to do so? Do I need a nanny to tell me where to go, where not to go, and how to think? Maybe if I was Thai or Chinese.

luke000: "some people may have been wondering why do you keep wanting to go there so often , a few hours in a life time is enough for most people"

I met a hill tribe man today who likes to go and trap and kill tiny blue birds in the forest. That's his choice. It's not my cup of tea. Yet I have other things I like to do. You have some things you like to do. I don't have to like to do what you do, and you don't have to do what like what I do. As long as neither of us break the law or harm anyone, then it's ok, isn't it? You don't have to approve of the things I like to do (like sunbathe while reading a book), and I don't have to approve of things you like to do. Fair enough? Sometimes I feel like I'm conversing with 5-year-olds.

I can't see them Chinese getting special treatment like you say. Just to leave the country and come back they need a re-entry permit. I've been through the process with a Chinese colleague of mine - had to apply for the whole re-entry permit at Mae Sot just for a day trip to Myawady.

Sure, if you have a guide you can go (this is a rather strange thing though) but this isn't limited to nationality. Just happens that "farangs" generally travel alone or in small groups, while Chinese often, though not always travel in large groups. If you don't mind banding together with a few others I'm sure the same could be arranged for you, as silly as it is of course. Otherwise, just stamp in/out and you should be fine.

I did happen to spot a large number of "farangs" mostly middle aged and older in Tachilek on my last visit there in April 2014. A surprisingly large number and they were all sitting in rickshaws. Yes I also happened to use the VIP pass for me. I'd be OK with stamping in and out (I have a visa and am not a visa runner) though the VIP pass seems like a convenient thing if you're just wanting to cross for an hour or two (or even a whole day) and don't want to go through the hassle of stamping in and out. It saves time too. When I went, there was one other Chinese man travelling alone who also used the VIP pass, while some tourists, including an Asian-American lady and her American boyfriend who were scrutinized because it appeared they were heading across the border to get a new visa exempt entry and their entry permits were close to expiring. I'm not sure if they or another guy were refused in the end (I remember there was a refusal but didn't pay much attention to who it was - I just wanted to cross the border as quickly as possible!)

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I'm sure that if you're not a visa runner you can still cross the border as usual...., even with your car if you want. However, now you will probably be required to get exit stamps for Thailand, the usual entry/exit stamps for Myanmar and another entry stamp for Thailand upon return, right?

How can you be sure (?), if the border guards aren't sure from week to week. Doubtful about cars, though I'd be glad to be proven wrong. A farang driving a car in Tachilek is as common as a swimming meet (note: there is no swimming pool in Tachilek). I have, however, driven a motorbike in and around Tachilek, but if I told you how I did it, I'd have to report you to Dick Cheney's waterboard office.

Also, how can Thai guides be allowed to operate in Myanmar? That is beyond their jurisdiction and considered illegal work. Wouldn't the guides need to be Burmese? In which case the Burmese would be the ones applying such a rule (which I doubt, although they did have a rule like this up until 2013 when the border became truly international).

Good point. Yet you're assuming there's a modicum of common sense among border guards. There's not. And, in case you're wondering, Chinese tourists in groups are given privileges not afforded the rest of us. Thailand is under a self-appointed government who make no bones about giving privileges to Chinese - tourists, businesses, defense contractors, real estate developers, and banks. The border scenario is just a tiny portion of that.

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