Monday, April 28, 2008

Mae Sai, Portal to Burma - I have made it!!!

immigration to burma
Immigration to Burma at Mae Sai


I have officially crossed the whole of Thailand!! All on buses alone, travelled vertically from Kuala Lumpur, through to Hatyai, cross Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and finally Mae Sai!!! Woo hoo~~~!!! 3900km and 37.5 hours of bus rides in total!!

nicolekiss journey into thailand and cambodia
37.5 hours on the red lines.


I feel so achieved!!!

My bum hurts.


Important facts:
Hatyai – Bangkok = 993km (RM75 on second class bus, 13 hours)
Bangkok – Chiang Mai = 656km (RM42 on second class bus, 10 hours)
Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai = 191km (RM12 on first class bus, 3 hours)
Chiang Rai – Mae Sai = 68km (RM3.5 on public bus, 1.5 hours)

Upcoming facts:
Mae Sai – Bangkok = 924km (RM65 on first class bus, 13 hours)
Bangkok – Aranyaprathet = 275km (RM4.8 on train, 6 hours)


Two weeks ago I took my last journey up north from Chiang Rai and into the border town of Mae Sai, the most northern town in Thailand if you don’t know.

in a tuk-tuk to bus station
On the tuk-tuk to Chiang Rai bus station.


Bloody tuk tuk costed more than my bus ride to Mae Sai. (RM5) -.-

Tuk tuk driver brought me right in front of a public bus which I got on without a second thought the moment the conductor told me it only costs 35baht to get to Mae Sai. (what a sucker for cheap ticks)

Two hours later, I was blogging at my guesthouse looking into Burma.

looking into burma
O.. there’s burma~


Mae Sai is a beautiful little town with little to offer except for sheer serenity and peace & quiet. Many small family run guesthouses are set up alongside the river separating Burma and Thailand, the one I stayed in was run by a British man.

guesthouses by the river in mae sai


There’s a small market here, where Burmese would come over during the day and go back in the evening to earn a small living from the occasional travellers who come here to renew their visas. You can find more locals here than foreigners as Thais love to take a weekend visit over to Burma for some cheap buys.

market next to immigration


Here, I met Steve (an old Australian drug dealer/trader who has earned his fair share and decided to live in Thailand for the rest of his remaining life, funny old guy) and Dino (a German who came to Thailand and decided never to leave, set up his business in trading and retailing online and earning three times the salary his country pays).

steve and dino


Me and Dino hooked on pretty fast (since both of us are living off the internet) and decided to tour Mae Sai on a motorbike.

dino and big scorpion
Giant scorpion on top of a temple hill


me and scorpion


Enjoyed the night scene of Mae Sai on top

mae sai at night
Nice isn't it?


Our very cute motorcycle key holder.

motorcycle key


We also went to a street side steamboat,

steamboat on the road
Give a whole new meaning for food on the road


That served a lot of bloody meat.

bloody meat


Dino and I had a fun time chatting and exploring new areas and opportunity what internet could bring.

dino from germany


And cam-whoring as well. Dino taught me how to ride a motorcycle!! Yay!!! I managed to get as far as 500m!!!

nicole


The next morning, I woke up with a little (big) surprise on my face.

Somehow in the middle of the night I got stung by an incredibly horrible insect which I know nothing of and my eyes has swollen reducing my eyeball to half its size!!

I looked in the mirror in horror, nearly shriek to death thinking that my face was permanently destroyed, which of course I didn’t.

I have to become a timothy-to-be with the eye-patch I bought from a local pharmacy.

my eyepatch
arg.... Shiver me timbers..


But still it’s still looked very palpable. So I resort to a Chanel by the street.

me and dino biking in mae sai
Nothing beats a good shade to protect your ugly appearance.


Steve and Steve brought us youngsters to see a home they bought in Mae Sai some distance away. A acre of land and a three storey house!! I want to retire too!!

steve and steve


That very same day, I went to Burma for a stroll! :D (Raj, you can tie me to a pole and call my mom now)

union of myanmar


Almost everyone who comes to Mae Sai was here to cross this immigration border.

monks crossing to burma
Monks crossing to Burma


Now for a day’s pass to Burma, you need to pay $10.

permit to enter burma
I’m Rambo!


And you’re on your way to the city of the Golden Triangle.

city of the golden triangle


At the other side of the border, you’ll be able to find a lot a lot of imitation goods, that to my presumptions most probably come from China. There’re many small handicrafts and trinkets sold too. But every other shop was selling almost the same thing over and over. So the price was pretty much fixed. But it’s good to haggle too.


monks shopping for crinkets


Be prepared to get harassed by kid beggars though. There were lots of them roaming around the street barefooted begging for money, it’s a sad sight to see.

burmese kid


Burma is clearly a little less developed as compared to Thailand, you can pretty much see the instant difference the moment you crossed the border.

burma


It was a little too unbearable to see really. I got back just before the immigration closed at 5pm.

That evening, I boarded a bus back to Bangkok. Half an hour into the journey, the bus stopped and police and soldiers came abroad to do a check up. To spot for illegal immigrants from Burma, said Dino.

police looking at me
Policeman posing for my camera before asking for my passport -.- (so vain)


The control was really tight. No one was left unchecked. Not even Dino.


soldier checking dino's bag
Soldier checking Dino’s plastic bag.


Just when I thought it would be another blind check.

A guy was called forward from behind. (A Burmese I presumed)

burmese guy


He was holding some documents when he stepped off the bus after the police.

The bus soon departed, without him.


It’s really depressing when you imagine how these people wanted to badly to come over to Thailand to make a better living just because they can’t find one back home. I heard from Dino that just few weeks ago, nearly a hundred Burmese illegal immigrants died hiding behind inside a bus due to suffocations while crossing the border.

This journey into the golden triangle, third world countries, and countries I would not have known through discovery channels and misunderstood because of Hollywood block buster movies has really opened my eyes.

Till now, I couldn’t forget the face of that kid who begged me for money the day I visited Burma.

burmese kid

29 comments:

  1. when i go to Laos..and take a stroll on the mekong deck area...there's a lot of child begger...my fren was having a grilled pork in his hand...and he giv them all...=)...sad thing to c in these country...wish to giv them a little bit money but that would just encourage them more...sad case...sigh...

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  2. its very sad to see that children are begging instead of getting education. many illegal immigrants died when they were trying to make a living for their families. money is indeed everything when it comes to such situations. people always wanted to help but how much could one help..this is so sad..sigh..wonder what did UN did for them..

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  3. hi! i'm da guy who greeted u in FB chat, hope it didn't bother u..

    tx god ur left-eye had recovered.. erm, but did u saw something unusual wif ur left-eye after that? reminding me wif a hk movie "my left-eye saw ghost".. haha~~

    juz 1-day-trip 2 burma huh? thazzit?

    hope u enjoy ur trip in cambodia now..

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  4. Grats, you've conquered Thailand with your butt.

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  5. hey dino's quite good looking :P

    yeah.. heart-wrenching right, the kids and the people. :(

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  6. I wonder why u dun have many female friends....and the reason probably is...u're a bitch!

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  7. windwalker28/4/08 9:02 AM

    What an achievement Nicole!

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  8. Hi Girl,

    How are U now? take care yea... need my help give me a ring. & do come back in one piece :D

    See U soon

    Ken

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  9. You need any girlfriends? I can join you. *LoL*

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  10. Nicole, you're blog is damn cool wei! I like the pictures you take and the way you blog. ^^

    Super Interesting Trip~ do load us with more pictures of course. hehe

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  11. It's heartbreaking to see unfortunate people ! We are very fortunate with what we have now ... even being able to sit and write this comment ^__^
    Have a safe trip as always, Nicole !

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  12. poor kid.but dont think tat only appears in burma.come to kk,and you will see the philipino children begging at the marketplace,selling cigarettes,doing oddjobs..sigh.change is what we need.

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  13. the last picture is excellent. beyond just the composure of a great picture, this picture relayed a depth in the plight of the children there.

    its great to read about your travels, keep it going and take care! =)

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  14. I like the last picture as well.. really poor kiddo

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  15. I've been following your Thailand posts. I'm so jealous! I wanna explore the world one day too =)

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  16. Hello, just a passer-by. you take great photos! may i ask what camera are u using?

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  17. is dino's dick big?

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  18. Wah Nicole you rocks !!!! Travel thru Thailand.......you're one heck of a traveller. Hm cant wait for the day I see you in Astro doing the Travel and Adventure thingy !!!!!

    BYW on the Burmese II death..it was in a container..not a bus though....

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  19. my gawd...you've been traveling for so looong! Try to break your record, step into the land of China!!!!

    You go girl! You're the Rambo!

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  20. Hi Nicole

    good to know that u were able to endured the hardship to actually get where you are. hope you keep it up. again i like the photos. do keep putting photos in as i am into photography. do take care. next time if you plan to travel to exotic place, just give us a tinker as we want to follow up on your journey.

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  21. Howdy! Great to see you back on track and going into such an incredible journey with beautiful outcomes - people of all kinds, places with interesting cultures and of course a sore butt!

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  22. Well done Nicole. I hope one day I have the time to do this kind of traveling too. I miss that. Meawnwhile, I will just have to wait for you to share your experience with us. Thank you.

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  23. To the "anonymous" who always like to talk nonsense and keep attacking nicole there, I think you're properly living in jeolousy of not getting any attention from Nicole and keep verbal abusing by commenting in her blog. Hanging with guy then she is bitch, if hanging with girls think you will said she is bisex or les.Your attitude really make me feel like throwing out... Please pay respect and stop abusing people lah...
    =.= so childish....

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  24. freakuency2/5/08 12:39 AM

    Oh dear, u really made it!
    Salute!!
    Still remember u were talking to me about ur plan to round the world 3 months ago, frankly I had a little doubt about it.

    But jst in short of 3 months, U have travelled such a distance!
    .... @_@ ....

    Salute!

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  25. Child beggaring, although inhuman, still could be found in less developing countries.

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  26. I don like kids very much but oh gosh.. that kid's face~~~ T_T i cant stand looking at it any longer. so kolien lah. :'( i reli hope he'll be alright..

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  27. Wow.. I can't imagine traveling all by urself. I wanna do that someday though. Did u plan everything or was everything spontaneous?

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  28. Hi,

    You are a brave and beautiful young woman. I hope you have a lot more great adventures.

    Remember - always keep travelling !

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  29. I bet it is a very exciting travel... very cool. by the way you look kinda sexy wearing that eyepatch ;P

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