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I’ve had a busy week since we last checked in. I prepped tons of content for the upcoming weeks, trained for an upcoming 5K run, answered a bazillion emails, had a blast for St. Patrick’s Day, oh… and went to Burma.

Unfortunately, no, it wasn’t for the two-week girl’s trip I was so excitedly planning this year — a post on why that trip got cancelled is still in the works — nor for the liveaboard I’ve been dreaming of joining for ages. It was for a visa run. A bureaucratic necessity for many living in Thailand, a visa run in the south consists literally of shuttling to the border, boating into the special district of Kawthaung, getting your passport stamped, boating back into Rayong, and going about your merry way.

The funny thing is you can’t actually enter Burma from Kawthaung beyond a small zone tightly surrounding the city, unless you’ve already obtained a visa for the country in Bangkok. But you can go in and get that stamp, paying Burma ten American dollars for the privilege. Not that I’m complaining. In my case that stamp bought me an extra thirty days in the country beyond my two already-extended visas, for a total of seven months altogether in Thailand.

I promised myself I wouldn’t do any visa runs this year as I’d rather take the excuse to do a weekend away in a neighboring country. But ah well. With so much on my plate and so little time left in Thailand, it seemed crazy to leave for any longer than a boat ride back and forth to Kawthaung.

Since I otherwise left my cameras up on the shelf this week, today’s snaps come courtesy of my ever-so-brief time in Burma. I hope you’ll enjoy.

Photo A

Burma Visa Run From Koh Tao

Photo B

Burma Visa Run From Koh Tao

Photo C

Burma Visa Run From Koh Tao

Photo D

Burma Visa Run From Koh Tao

Which photo is your favorite?

Note: If you’re wondering why I call the country in these photos Burma instead of Myanmar, it’s simply because on the island I currently live on in Thailand about a third of the population is Burmese, and they unequivocally refer to their home country as Burma. I just follow their lead.

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36 Comments...
  • Melanie Fontaine
    March 20 2016

    I still remember your post from a Visa run to Burma way back in the day, when you mentioned someone approached you thinking you had a… let’s just say questionable profession! 😉 This makes me nostalgic! My favorite picture is Photo B – Asian signs never fail to make me chuckle! 😉 Have a great week!
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..The Most Scenic Place I’ve Ever Stayed At: Munduk, Bali

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      Ha! I was telling Ian that story while we were on this trip (thank goodness we were able to do it together.) What a memory.

  • Caroline
    March 20 2016

    I love photo B, because of the sign! But C with the mountains in the background is also great.

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      That sign made me so happy. What a sweet sentiment, indeed.

  • Thuc
    March 20 2016

    I love C because I am a sucker for mountains
    Thuc recently posted..WANDERLIST: 30 BEFORE 30

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      When they are next to the ocean, I couldn’t agree more!

  • Cate
    March 20 2016

    I love photo c! So mysterious! Looking forward to the next post, as always!

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      Thanks Cate! Excited about the next one…

  • Patrice
    March 20 2016

    I crossed into Burma last April just because….. I thought “How could I not??” I walked across the bridge from Chiang Mai. Very cool! My “Thai” family weren’t allowed because they didn’t have the proper paperwork. Love photo D. Reminds me of the bridge I crossed 🙂

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      Was that near Mae Hong Son? I loved my visit to that town. So beautiful, and so close to the border I felt like I could touch it!

    • Patrice
      March 21 2016

      The town was Mai Sai…part of the Chiang Mai province. I crossed into Tachilek. The Golden Triangle region where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet. Mai Sai has a great market- a paradise with a selection of precious stones…sapphire, emerald and jade.
      Also, while in Chiang Rai we visited the Royal Palace Doi Tung. Built as a winter retreat for the King’s mother. It is breathtaking! From the balcony railing(carved elephants) you can see the border where the three countries meet. Amazing!!

      • Alex
        March 26 2016

        Sounds awesome 🙂

  • becky hutner
    March 20 2016

    aaaaaAAAAAAAAW BURMA! How I love you so. B because seeing one of those signs for the first time touched me and I even roped it into a story published in the “Best Women’s Travel Writing” series (Vol 10, avail on Amazon. Just sayin..;)
    becky hutner recently posted..Canadian in…London??

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      No way! I am totally adding this to my reading list, Becky Hunter.

  • Ijana
    March 21 2016

    Have you done an actual visit to Burma yet that wasn’t a visa run? Thank you very much for your explanation on what to call the country, as I’m always confused on which name to use and end up flip flopping between the two names xD I gotta say photo B because the Burmese language has my absolute favorite alphabet of all time, but C is also awesome cause nature is pretty.

    • Alex
      March 21 2016

      Sadly I have not, despite all the best intentions! Looking forward to my someday visit. I am always confused on what to call it to, hence my impulse to explain myself 🙂

  • Miriam
    March 21 2016

    Sounds like a busy week indeed 🙂 I vote for photo C because of the mountains!
    Miriam recently posted..Saint Petersburg, you are fascinating

    • Alex
      March 26 2016

      Busy in the best way!

  • Rashaad
    March 21 2016

    I love photo D – because in my mind, when you cross a border, you’re entering a new world.
    Rashaad recently posted..Home Sweet Home – Graduation

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      Hopefully next time I can enter it a little less briefly! 🙂

  • Dominique
    March 21 2016

    Haha, I like B! Who is that sign even meant for? 🙂 Hilarious!
    Dominique recently posted..Bonaire – Kralendijk and Rincon

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      I think it’s just a general reminder to the locals — I find it so endearing!

  • Steve
    March 21 2016

    I’m choosing photo B Alex. Nothing wrong with a friendly greeting. Have a happy easter.
    Steve recently posted..The Next Trip

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      To you as well, Steve!

  • Susan
    March 21 2016

    Ok, I’m the first who is voting for D, Just because i adore walking out on those rickety but kind of perfectly fine piers/bridges in SAE:)
    Susan recently posted..TOP MOMENTS BI-WEEKLY #2

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      Ha, yes — definitely makes every day into an adventure.

  • Katie
    March 22 2016

    Was just in Rayong a couple of weeks ago! Passed through there on our way to Ko Chang Noi (which was meant to last a couple of nights, but became a week-long affair). My choice this week is C – reminds me of our longtail trip to the island there, and making me seriously long to go back! Enjoy the rest of your time in Thailand 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Three Offbeat Museums to Visit in Penang

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      Thanks Katie — it’s going WAY too quickly!

  • Dirk
    March 22 2016

    Thanks for this wonderful blog !!

    See you soon again.

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      Thanks for reading, Dirk!

  • Julia Nix
    March 24 2016

    photo C. alex, before you leave thailand, i hope you have rounded some funky interviews with ur friends (good looking guys, i don’t mind 🙂 for your “working abroad” section. it’s one of my favorites. i like “confessions” too, your online journal. your blog still speaks to me. 🙂

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      Thanks Julia! I’ve been trying to round up a few more interviews for Earning Abroad, lately… hopefully they are in the works!

  • Hannah
    March 26 2016

    Oh Burma…I love that country. I only spent a week there and it wasn’t enough. Photo A actually looks a bit like the buildings in the palace/fort complex in Mandalay- the red/gold combo is so pretty.

    • Alex
      March 29 2016

      One of these days, I WILL go for longer than the ten minutes it takes to stamp my visa in and back out. One of these days…

  • Timothy W Pawiro
    April 18 2016

    Love photo A! 😉
    Timothy W Pawiro recently posted..Sitting beside the pine forest at Waroeng Pinus

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