Our visas require us to leave Thailand every 3 months. And what a way to see the neighbor countries! On a recent Sunday, we spent the day driving to one of the closest borders to us in Chiang Mai — a country called Burma or Myanmar. Since another missionary family, the Tangs of California, were planning their quarterly “border run,” we asked if we could tag along to learn the ropes even though our three month visa stamp was not yet due. Here in Thailand it is very economical to hire a van with a driver to take you on long road trips. After 10 hours of driving (5 each way), our share of the cost (including gas) ended up being about $60 total for the whole family. Who wants to drive mountainous roads when you can relax and watch a DVD!
After arriving at the immigration office on the Thai border, we were required to show our passports to a series of people before we could proceed to Burma. Once on Burmese soil, we then needed to continue to another set of windows, fill out some forms, take our pictures (you wonder what they do with those photos), and pay our $10 American money per person — must be a crispy , unwrinkled bill or they will not accept it.
Being in Burma was a bit tense for us since we are well aware of that country’s history of oppression and violence. Happily (for us!), they allowed us to return to the Land of a Thousand Smiles relatively unscathed! We look forward to our next border run in about 3 months. Who knows? We may try our luck visiting another neighboring country such as Laos or Cambodia!