"Tachilek, Shan State" Tachilek by Rodan44

Tachilek Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 144 photos

Tachilek is a border town in Shan State that is connected to the most northern city of Thailand, Mae Sai, by bridge. We were able to cross the border and enter Myanmar at this point for US$5 per person. We had to leave our passports with Thai immigration before crossing (which made everyone kind of uneasy) and then present only photocopies of the passports to Myanmar immigration. As such, we were prohibited from traveling outside the city and we had to return to Thailand before the border closed in the evening.

Tachilek is just like any border town anywhere else in the world that borders a wealthier country... shady and full of vice. It is notorious as a smuggling route into Thailand, especially for the opium grown in the infamous Golden Triangle region. The border has been closed on several occasions due to exchange of crossborder fire between the Thai and Myanmar military or from ethnic insurgent groups that live as refugees in Thailand.

Just across the border is a street market. It caters mostly to locals, but there are a few shops that sell Burmese crafts, especially lacquer and wood carving. From what I've been told, a lot of contraband can be purchased at this market as well, such as Tiger body parts, but we weren't interested in finding anything like that. Also hanging around the border are several "tour guides" who have pictures of some of the various sites around town. You just point to what you want to see and they have a taxi ready to take you there. Despite being apprehensive at first, this turned out to be a cheap and convenient way to see the town.

Despite spending only a few hours in one city in Myanmar, it is apparent that this is an amazing country with a rich culture. It's depressing to see how the detestable military junta has kept its people oppressed and poor while doing practically nothing to improve the situation in the country. I would love to see more of this wonderful land, but I think it would be best to wait until there are some substantial political reforms. To any other travelers reading this, I would also recommend that you boycott visiting Myanmar for the time being. Don't support the tyranny with your tourist dollars!

Please visit the Myanmar page on my personal website to see many more high quality photos from this destination.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Allows a quick glimpse into a beautiful yet troubled land
  • Cons:Evil military led totalitarian regime
  • In a nutshell:Makes you appreciate everything Thailand has accomplished
  • Last visit to Tachilek: Jul 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • awayhome's Profile Photo
    Jun 11, 2004 at 3:39 PM

    Hi! Enjoyed looking thru your Tachilek page. Yes, I do have more photos (some of the same people you also photographed) but I haven't had the time to build a page. Happy travels!


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