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Fish Stink, Boat Bartering, No Spying and Viagra – The Ranong Visa Run Guide

The notorious Thailand visa run’s are one of the most fun things about long term travel around South East Asia (not). Some of these borders can be a little confusing if it’s your first time and the only fun in revisiting these places is tweaking you technique. I have had the pleasure of visiting a few of these boarders quite a few times over the years, and today I wanted to share with you my break down of how to tackle this particular boarder crossing.

Ranong to Burma Step by Step Guide.

* Ranong immigration opens 8am, it is really easy to find as it is right on the pier where the boats leave for Burma (Myanmar), I got there from the Ranong bus station on a motor bike taxi for 60 Thai baht.

* Get stamped out of Thailand at the immigration office.

*Buy a brand new Ten US dollar note for payment later in Burma or bring one with you. I got one from the little shop that sells coffee next to the immigration office (cost 420 baht with a little bartering). The important thing here is that it has to be crisp, flat and not folded otherwise they will not accept when you get to Burma and will make you pay in Thai Baht at a really crappy exchange rate.

*Grab a boat to Burma. If you ask to get on a boat with Burmese people you can pay 50-100B or rent a boat for yourself for your group at around 400-500 baht.

*Ride the boat for about 40 minutes stopping at some of the various check points along the way. You don’t have to leave the boat as the driver will collect all the passports and take care of everything.

*Once on the Burmese side the you have the choice to stay there for one night or come back the same day. If you want to come back the same day, they give you 30 minutes to go and do the Burmese stamp where you pay $10. Remember, crisp and uncreased.

*You get enough time for a quick look round and either dodging or indulging in the guys who are pushing cheap booze, cigs and viagra. I didn’t this time but I have before picked up a couple bottles of spirit and a few cartons of cigarettes (Dirt Cheap-totally legit). Personally never indulged in the vigra but apparently it’s all legit and cheap.

– A funny little story about this is that, on one of my previous visits to this boarder a few years ago, one on these street guys who was selling the viagra would not leave me alone and when I told him I was not interested he said, “what about viagra for women ?”.

I thought it was just for men.

Then he continued with his punchline, “yeah, it’s a powder you put in their drink“.

I didn’t know what to say, sort of funny and so not funny at the same time. Shocking really, I didn’t know whether he was joking or not. His marketing certainly made me stop for a moment though.

Although I must say that these days it is been cleaned up alot around this area and Burma has done a good job of constantly improving it over the years. All the guys who are street sellers are very good about not being too pushy and generally polite. They are really friendly people and are totally safe to talk to, I have never heard of anyone having any problems on this small Burmese boarder town.

If you are doing this trip for your first time you could take the option of doing all this from any guest house or tour booking place in Ranong or even as a one day trip from Phuket and other places. You usually pay only a small amount for the service where a guide from Thailand will take care of through the whole process. Or if your feeling brave you could just print out this guide and do it yourself. “Up to you” as they say around these here.

Cool eh ?

Had the pleasure of doing this trip before ? Anything to add, please do drop it in the comments below.

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