Sun 27 Jan 2008
Visa Run To Lao
The two most accessible borders are Burma (aka Myanmar) and Laos. The tourist border-crossings for each are about the same distance from Pai, but the Burmese government is a military junta and one of the most oppressive governments in the world, and much of the world has strict sanctions against them, and many human-rights groups are on campaigns to keep everybody from supporting the military junta in any way. I’m not nearly as educated on the subject as I’d like to be, but I’ve heard enough to weigh my actions. Meanwhile, Laos is more expensive and more time consuming to cross into… about $50 more expensive and an extra couple of hours of time.
Does anybody go to Laos instead of Burma? Not often. There are regular visa-runs from Pai to Burma and back. The same goes for several other popular northern cities. The van leaves every couple days at 10pm. It drives all night, drops a few people off near the Laos border, continues to the Burma Border, waits for an hour for the border-runners to cross over and back, and then drives straight back to Pai (NOT going back past the Laos border), to get everybody home by about 4pm the day after they left.