Ever since the country with two names opened up its borders to tourism a few years ago, Myanmar (Burma) has become one of the hottest backpacker destinations of recent times. As of August, 2013, you can continue overland to the rest of Myanmar from a couple of the border towns butted up against Thailand. This is great news for travellers who are already in SE Asia, and prefer to experience travel by land rather than by air.
Myanmar still requires all visitors for more than a day to attain a visa. These tourist visas are valid for 28 days from the date of entry, and you have 3 months to activate it at either one of the border crossings, or at an international airport. Luckily for us, it is quite easy to acquire, and we’re going to tell you how we organised our Myanmar visa in Bangkok, Thailand!
How To Get Your Myanmar Visa In Bangkok
Getting To The Embassy
“The Embassy Of The Union Of The Replublic Of Myanmar” is located at 132 Sathorn Nuea Road, in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok. This is less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Surasak BTS station.
If you prefer to take a taxi, the address in Thai, is: 132, ถนนสาทรเหนือ, แขวงสีลม เขตบางรัก กรุงเทพมหานคร, 10500.
If you end up arriving via the BTS station, take the exit on the left hand side, walking towards the direction that Siam station is by following the train lines. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, continue walking until you pass a large school. You will cross Pan Road, and the embassy will be on your left. Walk up Pan Road to find the visa section of the building.
The embassy opening hours for visa services are 9am til 12pm. We arrived at 8am, and there was already at least 30 people in line. By 8:30am, the line up extended up the street and around the corner. We suggest you get there early!
What You Will Need
Here is a list of what you will need to apply for your visa:
– Your current passport (with at least 6 months validity til the expiration date)
– A photocopy of the photo page of your passport
– 2 passport sized photos of the applicant
– The visa application form, correctly filled out
– Money to pay for the visa application
The amazing thing is, besides your passport and the money, you can get everything else you need directly in front of the entrance! There will be a small van parked on the street that offers free application forms, paperclips, photocopies of your passport for 3 baht a copy (10c) and four passport photos for 150 baht ($5). If you want better value for your photos, walk another 100m up the road and on your left will be a yellow sign advertising visa photos. Walk up the stairs, look to your right, and there is a photo booth. The cost is 100 baht ($3.50) for eight pictures. Just make sure you select the right size via the buttons and mini screen!
Take one of your photos and glue it in the box on the application form (the van has glue!), paperclip your form with your passport photocopy and the second picture together, and put it in your passport.
When it comes to filling out your application form, it is very straight forward. The only thing which may concern you is the addresses required in Myanmar and Thailand, and your employment history. Don’t stress! We just put down our Thailand guesthouse we were staying in, Googled a hotel in Yangon, and put down our last two jobs with altered employment dates. THEY AREN’T GOING TO CHECK IT! One guy in front of us just used our Myanmar address for his form. Too easy!
Well now that you have everything you need, all you do is stand in line and wait for the doors to open! Once they do, you patiently wait until you reach counter 4 at the front of the queue. When you get there, you hand over your passport along with all the required documents. The employee will check that everything is in order, and then ask when you want to pick up your passport (they don’t take your documents yet). You have 3 options. Same day, next business day, or in two business days. To pick it up on the same day, you need to have proof of a flight to Myanmar leaving that day or early the next morning. Besides that, you don’t need evidence of how you are getting to Myanmar. The employee will give you a number and you then step aside and wait for your number to be called up to the next corresponding counter.
When your number is called, you walk up to the window, hand over all your documents, and then pay the fee. The prices are as follows:
Same day – 1260 Baht (AU$42)
Next day – 1035 Baht (AU$35)
Two days – 810 Baht (AU$28)
They had change when we went through, but we were pretty early in the morning. It wouldn’t hurt to try and have as close to the correct amount as possible. Everyone likes to pay in 1000’s.
In exchange for your passport, you receive a yellow receipt. DON’T LOSE THIS!!! The employee will tell you what day to return to collect your passport, and off you go! All this from when the doors opened took less than 30 minutes, but you can imagine if you arrived late with a long queue in front of you how this could take a lot longer.
Show Me The Visa!!!
Return on the day you have been told. Passport collection is only between 3:30pm and 4:30pm. Once entering, there will be two lines. One for Thai’s, one for foreigners. Join the appropriate line. This will move quick! When you get to the front, you hand over your yellow receipt and they will hand you back your passport. The visa is simply a full-page sized stamp. Confirm that all the details on it are correct (passport number, dates, etc), thank the employee and you are on your way! It is as simple as that!
Next stop, Myanmar!
Now that you’ve got your visa for Myanmar, be sure to check out our other tips and posts from the fascinating Buddhist country!