Phu Nam Ron Border Crossing Blog
The Phu Nam Ron border crossing is the most direct route into Myanmar from Bangkok, Phu Nam Ron is circa 200km from Bangkok and so perfect for the do it yourself Thai visa extension. For those traveling further the Southern Myanmar beaches of Maungmagan and Nabule are just 160km west of the border. The following is a travel blog from a backpacker who traveled over from Bangkok in late 2013. (updated July 2014).
An update for Thai visa runners wishing to extend their visa at this border can be found at the bottom of this page.
Who is up for some adventure?
Crossing the border from Kanchanaburi (Thailand) to Dawei (Myanmar/Burma)
Today I crossed the border from Thailand to Myanmar in Phu Nam Ron (Thailand) / Htee Khee .
This is one of the four border crossings that are open to foreigners between the two countries. For other border reports please click here
This border crossing is unlike any other border crossing I have done.
So if you have a visa for Myanmar you can make your way from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi. You can get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok via train, bus and minivan all for around 100 Bhat. You can easily spend a few days in and around Kanchanaburi ( Erawan Falls , Bridge over the River Kwai + Museum + Hellfire Pass + train ride along the Death Railway ), although I did not find the inner city charming itself.
From Kanchanaburi local buses leave from the main bus stop several times daily to Phu Nam Ron . The trip takes just under 2 hrs and costs 70 baht.
Earliest bus: 10:30 in the morning – there are also buses at 11:30 clock and 12:30 in the afternoon. But you should take the 10:30 one, since it’s still another 5 hours on the road until you arrive in the to the coastal town of Dawei and there is no accommodation option between the border crossing and Dawei! (for shuttle service information direct from Bangkok to Phu Nam Ron please click here)
After stamping out from Thailand there is a stretch of 6km “No Man’s Land” before you arrive at the Myanmar border office ! You should take a motorcycle taxi that drives you to the other side for 50-60 baht, as for me I hitched a ride in a truck which worked too. Htee Khee is only a new “town” (basically just an assortment of a gas station, a small handful of simple houses and an immigration office for stamping). You can’t stay there overnight and there is nothing to do.
Both exiting Thailand and entering Myanmar ran smoothly. Like every where in Myanmar people are happy and excited to see foreigners. Especially at this remote place. There are still only a few hundred foreigners who have come through this newly constructed road.
You can (a lot of times have to) pay everything in Myanmar’s local currency Kyat rather than USD, although many hotels accept it. There is an ATM in Dawei where you can withdraw Kyat.
At the border crossing in Htee Khee minivans are waiting to take mostly returning locals to Dawei. The cost is 800 Bhat or USD 25. Chances of negotiating a lower price are little as you don’t have different options and can’t stay in Htee Khee but some people managed to get a price of 600 Bhat
There is no paved road but the first half is newly formed by a Thai company and is 4 lanes wide and comparatively pothole free gravel road, the first 2.5 hours’ drive runs along the river, left and right densest jungle to the horizon some wildlife and gently undulating countryside. No farmland, just jungle. There are hardly any buildings in this area except for occasional bamboo huts carved out of the dense jungle. Very simple. Something I ‘ve never seen …the second half of the road after Myitta Township is 2 lanes, 70% sealed and 30% gravel road with the occasional potholed.
In Dawei , there are probably 9-10 hotels that can accommodate foreigners. In the Garden Guesthouse you can get for 13 USD. I went to Maung Shwe Than Hotel first that costs 18 USD for a reasonable room, double bed with A / C .
Once you did this border crossing you are in a part of the world which up to 2014 is mentioned in hardly any travel guidebook – not even the Lonely Planet. You can’t get much further away from the beaten path.
Enjoy this exciting border crossing and Southern Myanmar!
Update for Thai Visa Runners.
As of the 8th of July 2014 you now must be in possession of a Myanmar Visa before arriving at Phu Nam Ron Border if you wish to use this gate, Myanmar Visa’s can be obtained at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. For more uptodate info please phone Three Dawei Visa Service on 08 21 922 488.