We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Which Chiang Rai hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Belfast, United...
Level Contributor
40 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Hi

We are planning to do a bit of cycling in the Golden Triangle region and wanted to cross the border in either Burma or Laos or both.

Would prefer to do a bit more than just cross over and look at markets.

Could you reasonably spend a day in Burma in the border town and the same for Laos? (with 2 kids aged 8 & 11 in tow)

This would help me work out how many nights I might have to spend in Chiangsaen.

Thanks

Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
15,864 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Bear the visa situation in mind. You need a visa to enter Laos; you may need one to enter Myanmar, if the day passes are no longer available. Also, when crossing back into Thailand your existing visa or visa waiver stamp would be invalid (unless you have multiple entry visas). If you're here on a 30 day visa waiver stamp, then that expired when you crossed the border, and each time you cross back into Thailand from Laos and Myanmar you'll only get a 15 day stamp in each case.

Belfast, United...
Level Contributor
40 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Thanks - the visa timelines won't be a problem as we will be in Thailand all in for under a week.

Really trying to get my head round whether a trip into Burma or Laos (albeit a short one) would be worth while and do-able in a day (or will I have whinging children..... I know the cycling would keep them occupied :)

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
Level Contributor
3,352 posts
163 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Singamum: If you want to spend a day in Laos you have to cross at Chiang Khong, which will be a two hour drive from Chiang Rai. A little shorter if you are leaving for Chiang Khong from the Golden Triangle. I have found spending a day in Laos fabulous, but only when I have been accompanied by a Hmong speaking guide who could take me to some rural hilltribes and around the villages. The kids in these areas are extremely shy, as they haven't seen a lot of westerners (the kids in the border towns will of course have seen lots of westerners). I have also thoroughly enjoyed spending a day outside Tachilek (crossing into Burma from Mae Sai) when I have went outside Tachilek into some of the villages, schools etc. On one trip we were greeted by the local village chief and the school principal who gave us a wonderful day in their village and invited us in for tea.

If you wanted to get out of the border down atmosphere in either place, you'd probably want a guide to help with obtaining a more local experience. Otherwise, you will likely only see the tourist markets and the kids will be whining and bored.

You will need to plan on at least 30 minutes to cross each way.

Jermsak speaks fluent Hmong and I have used him in both border areas. He does not speak Burmese fluently but can communicate a bit. I am not sure as to whether the Mr. Cha speaks Burmese or Hmong.

Hope that helps and enjoy your holiday.

Broder

Colbert, Washington
Level Contributor
8 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Hello again. I was the one toiling between CR and CM for my family with two older teens. I had almost made air reservations for CM when an email came thru from both Jermsak and Mr Cha. So..CR here we come!

Jermsak is only available for one of the days that we are in CR, but we decided to do the raft trip with him after all the great reviews. Mr. Cha will be available for the other two days. Mr Cha has about 12 different programs that he offers and has sent descriptions by email. Have you ever read these? They all sound wonderful and difficult to prioritize. If you have a copy, I would be curious as to which other tours you would recommend. He does describe one tour to Mae Sai, crossing into Tachilek, Burma-GT- Chiang Saen--which sounds fantastic..--do you know if we would need a visa to go into Tachilek & Don Xao Island? Can we purchase a day visa for each of us? Do we need to bring our passports with us? I really have enjoyed reading your posts--and yes, I read both "30" lists and wish we had more time! Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom ~Lynn

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
Level Contributor
3,352 posts
163 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Lynn:

How fortunate for you! You get to experience the raft trip, Mr. Cha and Jermsak, all in one visit!

I haven't seen Mr. Cha's tour options, but the trip you described above is a popular one. You can get what I call a "day visa" at the border in Burma to cross over at Mae Sai into Tachilek. It costs 500 baht. You have to get a permit to go into Don Xao Island (Laos) now, which you can obtain in Chiang Saen.

For my tastes, the trip to Don Xao Island and the Golden Triangle area in Sob Ruak is just a bit too touristy these days, as in the past few years several casinos have been built on the Laos side and the quiet charm of the area has diminished significantly. However, I do still like taking a boat ride down the MeKong River, going to the sight where you can see the three countries and visiting the Opium Museum or Hall of Opium in Sob Ruak. But if I am in that area, my favorite thing to do is to take the old farmers truck up to the artist museum and King Mother's projects. That is a real experience. Cassnu, another DE in Thailand recently did that experience with Mr. Cha, so I know he is offering that option. You could do the farmers truck visit and still take a ride on the Mekong and visit the Opium museum all in one day.

Crossing into Burma is fun if you get outside of the tourist market. I like to go to the local morning market and get out into the villages. You definitely need your passport and it will be taken from you at the border and returned to you when you leave (and yes, this is a perfectly safe and routine procedure to cross into Burma).

Have fun,

Safe Travels,

Broder

1 post
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

This all sounds great, how do I get in touch with Mr Cha and Jermsak?

Colorado
Destination Expert
for Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai Province
Level Contributor
3,352 posts
163 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Jermak's email is jermsak_cei@yahoo.co.th. I don't have access to Mr. Cha's email right now, but can get it for you in a day or two if someone else doesn't respond. I gave it to Cassnu and she used him as a guide and she checks this forum pretty regularly so maybe she will see your post and respond.

Broder

Colbert, Washington
Level Contributor
8 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

Charlie's contact information. Asianwaytours@hotmail.co Chaleechiangrai@hotmail.com

Mobile: +66 81 992 1982

I retrieved a list of guides by searching under Thailand:Finding a tour guide. Then scroll down until you find Chiang Rai area.

~Lynn

9. Re: Going into Burma or Laos from Chiang Rai

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 5:16 pm, December 16, 2013