"The bottom of Burma: Victoria Point" Top 5 Page for this destination Kawthoung by BorderHopper

Kawthoung Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 42 photos

An Interesting Spot on the Map

Of all my border crossing forays into Burma the most memorable would have to be the journey to Kawthaung. My most recent crossing via the choppy waters of the Pak Chan estuary from the bustling, noisy docks at Ranong, Thailand happened during an overland journey via Thailand's Highway 4. On my tattered Thai road map I kept spying the little red dot indicating the city of Ranong. What was intriguing to me was that Ranong was located across an estuary from a place called Victoria Point. The thought of a place called Victoria Point had kind of an appeal to me...the sound of the place was very colonial, and geographically it was also the southern most point of Burma. I tend to like "notable geographic spots" like the northern/southern most point, the Golden Triangle, Four Corners, etc.....so the Southern most point of Myanmar seemed like a logical stop for me considering I was passing through the region. No matter where in the world I may be, I just can't pass an oppurtunity to cross a nearby border and have a peek.

Preparing to cross from Ranong, Thailand

On this trip I was travelling with my wife Wacharaporn and our 3 year old son McKinley. We had never been to Ranong before so upon reaching the city we pulled into the first large hotel we could see, the Ranong Royal Garden. Once settled we took our rental car out for a little exploring of the town. I wanted to find the border...or at least the river that seperated Thailand from Myanmar. We did eventually find our way through the narrow, winding streets which ended at the banks of the Kra Buri river. It seems that the Kra Buri River runs along the southern border of Myanmar from the Isthumus of Kra (the most narrow point between the Adaman Sea and the Guld of Thailand) and empties into the Pak Chan estuary in the Adaman Sea. My little tour through Ranong did finally point the way to the actual crossing point between Thailand and Burma. The docks at Ranong are crowded with touts and boatmen, merchants and travellers, and are the jumping off point for the 45 minute long tail boat ride to Kawthaung, Myanmar. After the powers that be in Burma changed the name of their country to Myanmar they also changed many of the former Bristish era names like Victoria Point to Kawthaung. Sort of the same thing the Indians did to Calcutta...which is now Kolkata.

Our foray into Myanmar

If you are planning a day trip into Myanmar from Thailand be sure to oraganize your exit stamps at the appropriate offices located near the docks. The exit stamp from Thailand will cost you $10 usd. Once your documents are in order you can head to the docks and start bargaining with the touts. We dealt with a seemingly shady looking guy who got us on a long tail boat for the price of 400 Thai baht ( a bot more than 10 usd). That wasn't such a bad price for the 3 of us and I was in no mood to haggle with my wife and son in tow. The trip across the estuary was rough, and the seas were choppy. Our first stop was at a floating wooden house where some folks collected our passports, had a look thru them, and waved us onward. We cruised for another 30 minutes when I could finally see the ragged looking buildings lining the shore along the docks at Kawthaung. It looked like a steamy, gritty place...just the kind of place I liked to visit. We pulled up along the Myoma Jetty dock and were helped off the boat by a dark, oily skinned, young man speaking a kind of British accented english. He offered us tours of the town, but we declined with a smile and a handshake. My family and I walked to the dock house where the Myanmar border authorities collected our passports and pounded in their bright red entry stamps for the price of $10 usd. My wife, who is a Thai national, did not have to pay thris price. I was also pleased that the border officials here in Kawthaung were much more plesant than the agents we had previously encountered uo north in Tachilek, Shan State. This was a good indication that the people of this gritty waterside town may be just as charming....and for the most part they were. The streets were crumbling with pot holes filled with murky rain water. Loud Burmese music blarred from roving loud speaker set atop trucks. Men in sarongs carrying large duffles over their backs weaved their way past smiling women with yellow powdered cheeks. Everywhere it was the sound of flip flop sandles clicking under the feet of children, motor scooters & honking horns, and the sound of a language of which was unfamiliar to us. My first impression of the people were that they were more Indian (South Asian) in appearence & that the town kind of reminded me of a place called Sudder Street in Calcutta. I love when things are so different on the other side of a border!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:You feel like you actually crossed a border. You'll notice a big difference from the Thai side
  • Cons:Costs add up on when crossing here for a day trip or visa run.
  • In a nutshell:Sarong clad men with beatle nut stained teeth & yellow powdered cheeks of smiling Burmese women await you in gritty Kawthoung.
  • Last visit to Kawthoung: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated Feb 11, 2007
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Reviews (2)

Comments (2)

  • Aug 8, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Im starting my trip in myanmar. is it possible to enter from Kawthaung into Thailand?

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2007 at 9:47 AM

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who make it across the boarder

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