Lunch in Myanmar – Mae Sai border visa run

Due to my poor planning in applying for a Thai visa, I’m here without a visa which means I can only stay thirty days before having to leave then return. Yesterday was my thirtieth day in Thailand so off I went to claim another fifteen days by going to Myanmar for one hour.

I boarded the minibus at 5.30am for the sixteen-hour round trip that took me down the 762 twists in the road to Chiang Mai, north to Mai Sai to walk across the border into Myanmar, then back to Chiang Mai, and back up the 762 curves to Pai, arriving home at 9.30pm. It really did feel like coming home when we finally drove back into Pai, I’m going to be sad to leave next Sunday.

It was a painful trip that I’m glad to be doing only once (some people do it every three months so they can live/work in Thailand). But I did meet some cool people and see some interesting and pretty sights. Plus, my hip was too sore to train anyway, so it wasn’t all bad. The most interesting people I met were two women. The first, an Australian artist in her sixties who has been nomadic for the past eight years, travelling and teaching English in Asia, Morocco and South America. The second, a woman from London who is living in Chiang Mai but working as a freelance copywriter for companies in London and the States. I picked her brain about her work and found her really inspirational – it definitely got me thinking!

When I crossed the border I walked through a marketplace in Myanmar for about thirty minutes. Lots of beggars and cheap watches, bags, perfume etc, nothing worth buying. Crossed back over, found some lunch and got back on the bus at 1.15pm for the 8-hour ride home.

Also, on Tuesday evening Becca, Matt and I sadly had to farewell Beccy – the beginning of the end of the awesome foursome. Beccy was heading to the Laos border for the next leg of her trip but we’re planning to meet up in Cambodia in December. Becca is also leaving tomorrow and as mentioned I’ve decided to head off on Sunday week, the 18th November. Matt is about as indecisive as me and I’m waiting to hear whether he’ll leave with Becca or wait for me so we can travel together to Bangkok over five days.

Nearing the end of my time in Pai! I’m spreading my last week of training sessions over two weeks so I can take time off because of my hip. While I wait for it to get better I’m going to do some more touristy things like a cooking class and an elephant trek in the next few days. Also, today someone was foolish enough to rent a scooter to me, which I’m 100% going to crash! I’m going to use it to explore a bit further out of town.

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