Myanmar: Crossing the Border to Thailand

After just about recovering in Bagan, it was time for my killer journey over to Thailand. Winner arranged at 13,000 kyat sleeper bus to Yangon which included pick up. It left at 7pm, arriving in Yangon around 5ish the next day. I had intended to take the train but the bus was just more convenient. In Yangon, the bus terminal is called Aung Mingalar and is way out of town. Most people will pay 8-10,000 kyat for a taxi but there’s a very cheap and simple alternative.

Upon arriving in the bus terminal (which is big and hectic), I followed the signs for the ‘City Bus’ which led me to a host of rickety buses. The number 43 takes you to Sule Pagoda Road, right in the centre of downtown Yangon and costs just 300 kyats for the hour or so journey. The bus numbers are written in Burmese but 43 looks like a mirrored ‘9’ (or two crabs’ pincers, or a mirrored ? without the dots (၄၃). I’m sure there are other similar characters too – answers on the back of a postcard…) and there are loads of them. The bus conductors are normally happy to help direct you.

I faced a long, dirty, smelly and rainy day in Yangon with nowhere to go and very little to do as I had my stuff with me. I found a nice park to sit in and chilled there, occasionally finding shelter when it rained. Finally, I grabbed the 43 back to Aung Mingalar (they leave from next to Sule Pagoda, to the side of the City Hall) and headed into the bus station for the next leg from Yangon to Myawaddy for the border crossing. I had booked my ticket from an agency in advance but you can probably get it cheaper booking directly at the ticket office. The company is Shwe Myanmar – as you head into the bus terminal, veer right towards the offices and then head across the square to the big red office. There’s a sign on the front advertising the Myawaddy bus.

The river separating Myanmar and Thailand

The bus left at 7pm and was a stop-start journey. Previously traffic to Myawaddy could only use the road on alternate days but a new highway has now been built so two-way traffic is allowed. I arrived at Myawaddy, wandered through the town to the border crossing and passed over to Mae Sot in Thailand on foot with no difficulty. My Myanmar adventure was over! It was time to reacquaint myself with Chang…

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