Myawaddy or Myawadi (Burmese မြဝတီမြို့) is a border town in Myanmar.
At some point, this is expected to be a full international border crossing as part of the Asian Highway Network route AH1 which will connect Tokyo in Japan with the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. In July 2015, the part between Kawkareik and Myawaddy opened.
The Mae Sot (Thailand) - Myawaddy border crossing is the main overland entry point for foreigners wishing to get from Bangkok to Yangon or Thailand to Myanmar in general, and vice-versa. Also it is a moderately popular destination for tourists and expats in Thailand who want to make a "visa run", i.e. get a new Thai entry permit stamp by making a short visit to another country. Many western foreigners receive a 30-day entry permit when re-entering Thailand. Other nationalities even receive 90 days. However, be aware that for western foreigners no visa-on-arrival is available on the Myanmar side.
Until recently, access for foreigners was only possible from Mae Sot, and foreigners were not allowed to travel further overland into Myanmar from Myawaddy or stay overnight, but that is no longer true.
The time in Myanmar is 30 minutes earlier than in Thailand, and the traffic drives on the right.
From the Thai town of Mae Sot, take a songthaew or other transport to the border crossing at the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge over the Moei River; Myawaddy is immediately on the other side of the bridge. The ride from Mae Sot is between 20 and 50 baht.
Foreigners must have a visa for Myanmar prior to entry. It can be obtained in Bangkok within a day when applying in the morning. The border opens between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m..
Myawaddy is centred around the wide strip of highway that leads from the Friendship Bridge through town and is small enough to be explored easily on foot; alternatively, ubiquitous red bicycle rickshaws go everywhere.
- Shwe Muay Wan (the Golden Pagoda) ( 2-3 minutes from the border checkpoint by rickshaw). Very picturesque site with several big Buddha images enshrined on its grounds, one of which is a replica of the golden Buddha image of Mahamuni Temple in Mandalay. Locals claim that this pagoda is more than 1,000 years old.
- Myikyaungon Temple (the Crocodile Temple) ( 6-7 minutes from the border checkpoint by rickshaw). Very unusual temple on the back of a gigantic crocodile statue. There is also a library on top, but women do not have access. An anti-clockwise series of pictures explains the life of Buddha.
- Giant Standing Buddha. This complex houses a 20 m high standing Buddha and a large golden bell shared tower.
- Kyan Khinn Monestry.
There are more temples with big pagodas a bit away from the town centre and in neighbouring villages. Visiting these distant places gives a bit of experience of "real Myanmar" with small wooden huts and locals working in their fields. If you possess a decent kind of transport, the following sights might be of interest to you:
- Pagoda & field of status. Buddha images more than a hundred similar sitting behind this sight.
- Circle of posts
- Circle of little pagodas
- Little pagoda
- Hill pagoda. This temple is situated on a hill 200 m walk from the previous one. It also has a big pagoda and gives a good view of the surrounding area.
- Water hole
- Stadium like Place of Worship
Market. Afternoon & early evening. Explore this single street market of 2 km length and its side roads for an authentic Myanmar.
Although Thai baht used to be accepted in Myawaddy (as written in many places online and in guidebooks) this is no longer the case. There are ATMs that can be used to withdraw kyat. In addition, there are many money changers along the road right after the border post, but be cautious and double check.
Myawaddy Complex, ☎ . Casino and Duty Free Shops
There are many restaurants and shops around along the street towards the border.
There are several guesthouses and small hotels, but be sure to call or book ahead since not every accommodation in Myanmar is available/licensed to tourists.
- Hotel Lawka, Chit Kyi Yay Lane, ☎ 058 51330. , 09 31223727
- Myawaddy Hotel, Chit kyi yay Road (750 m from the border post), ☎ 058 50519. , 09 252 636527Rooms are ok and clean. Including breakfast and a restaurant. $22-30.
- You can cross the border to Mae Sot in Thailand.
- There are several buses daily from Myawaddy to Hpa-an (Pa-an) and Mawlamyine (Moulmein) for about 5,000 kyat. Depending on when you arrive, it will be easier to take a private taxi (for about 10,000 kyat). After passing the customs office, you will be approached by taxi drivers or their friends who speak English. Depending on the route, the ride will take about 3-5 hours including stops.
- The bus to Yangon leaves at 8, 9 and 10 a.m., takes 12 h and is about 13,000 kyat.