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Traveling to Myanmar over land through Mae Sai (Thailand) border crossing is now possible. The only way to get into Myanmar before was to fly into Yangon, and then take it from there. The new border crossing has been officialy opened since August 28, 2013.
Three month visas can be obtained on the same day for extra payment or the next day at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. You Can cross over thru Mae Sai (Thailand) to Tachileik (Myanmar) and after that, its possible to go on the bus, but trains are also available if one travels from Tachileik to another nearby town on the bus.
Hope this is helpful to many who want to see the golden land, overland!
And now moving on to Arriving and Departing at Yangon airport
Depending on how many incoming aircraft have arrived will determine the wait at Passport/Visa control.
Do complete your Arrival form on the aircraft as it will save yourself valuable time. There is a Customs Declaration form for currency and gems but they are so relaxed nowadays that you may not need to bother.
On arrival go down the escalator and irrespective of whether you have a Visa in your passport,or an evisa Authority letter,go to the "Foreigners" queue- . At the far end of the luggage carousel you
will see maybe 8 Exchange Banks and ATM's.There is a further Bank just outside.Rates only vary by a few kyat.
Luggage trolley's are free, collect your bags and then proceed through Customs-all bags have to go through the scanner.
Opposite you after the scanners are "Duty Free" liquor shops with wine from $15+ but this is the same price you pay at shops in Myanmar but is still a good saving over hotel prices which are double that (or triple+ at The Strand or Governors Residence)
The usual crush of Agents/Hotels/Welcome board awaits you and further on the left is a shop, the other Bank Exchange and the Taxi kiosk,there prices are little different to the touts and you and your luggage will be escorted to your allocated cab-tip the helper 1000kyat.
If you book with a driver direct then Ignore "little helpers" who will try to assist with your luggage for a tip-the taxi driver will load your luggage for you.
You can take your own luggage through but a porter ,at 1000kyat will
unload your luggage and then load/unload it through the scanner. Beyond
that you push your trolley to check in (Thai is far left,Bangko Airways far right)
After check in go up the escalator to Passport/Visa control
There are the usual restaurants. cafes and shops and surprisingly the tourist shop prices can be lower than downtown.
If you want to buy liquor then it is sealed in a tamper proof bag so it can go through the final scanner-note all other drinks are not allowed.
Both kyats and $s are accepted.
The final scanner queue at the gate can be a bit of a scrum as there is only one machine per gate and security is quite strict, but friendly.
The bus will drop you at the arrivals room-large with,few seats and no carousel.
You can wait till your bags are unceremoniously dumped in a pile in the doorway or you can take the easy option and give one of the lads your baggage stubs-he will then find the bags ,load them onto a trolley and accept your 1000kyat with thanks. Your stubs are checked against your luggage, and retained ,as you leave the baggage area.
By the exit is the taxi booth , it does not cost more than asking around. You cannot take your trolley outside the building but your cabbie will load your bags so ignore, or wave away, the "little helpers"
Much has been posted about the scrum for the early morning flights when all of the aircraft of the seven airlines depart at 5 minute intervals between 06.00 and 07.15hrs.
Most early checkin is at at 0515 (still dark) so take advantage of an official porter to help with bags,they will take you to check in for the usual 1000kyat . All the airlines in Domestic seem to still use the giant Avery scales and everything-labels, boarding cards etc is manual.
The airlines do not seem rigid on the 20k hold weight and a few k
over is generally acceptable but once were 20k over with parcels for
School Charities but Asian Wings, but when they saw the labels, were very
generous and made no charge ,and with a big smile and a thank you. As
most aircraft are ATR's the airlines are fussy on cabin luggage size and
weight but a standard wheelie at 8k is fine as it will fit in the
overhead locker.Airlines are in no way as strict with return flights from remote airports with many not weighing hold luggage.
With your boarding pass (sometimes allocated seating-sometimes tarmac dash) you are given a airline picture coloured sticker so to help you get on the right aircraft/airline.
There is a small cafe but do try to get seats near the gates for early notice of your flights being called.
There are no departure boards just an airline employee with your flight number who walks around shouting out the number and whether it is gate One,Two Three or Four. Do not go by destination-it is the Airline and Number that matter as, although your destination maybe Nyaung U (Bagan) the flight could be going to Mandalay.
Listen out for your flight and then to the gate and board the bus.
Hope all this helps a constantly updated thread is on the Myanmar Travel forum