Myawaddy or Myawadi (Burmese မြဝတီမြို့) is a border town in Myanmar. 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.
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.
Myawaddy 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, for western foreigners no visa-on-arrival is available on the Myanmar side.
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 bby Songthaew.
Foreigners must have a visa for Myanmar prior to entry. It can be obtained in Bangkok within a day when applying in the morning, or simply online. The border opens between 06:00 and 18:00. The border crossing is hassle free: remember the name of the city you are going to and the name of an adress you will stay in, so the crossing may be a bit faster.
Myawaddy is centred on 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.
- 1 Shwe Myint 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.
- 2 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.
- 3 Giant Standing Buddha. This complex houses a 20-m-high standing Buddha and a large golden bell shared tower.
- 4 Kyan Khinn Monestry.
There are more temples with big pagodas a bit away from the town centre and in neighbouring villages. With decent transport the following are accessible:
- 5 Pagoda
- 6 Pagoda & field of status. Buddha images more than a hundred similar sitting behind this sight.
- 7 Pagoda
- 8 Circle of posts
- 9 Circle of little pagodas
- 10 Pagoda
- 11 Little pagoda
- 12 Hill pagoda. This temple is on a hill that is a 200-m-walk from the previous one. It also has a big pagoda and gives a good view of the surrounding area.
- 13 Pagoda
- 14 Pagoda
- 15 Water hole
- 16 Stadium like Place of Worship
1 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.
2 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 or licensed to tourists.
- 1 Hotel Lawka, Chit Kyi Yay Lane.
- 2 Myawaddy Hotel, Chit kyi yay Road (750 m from the border post), ☏ , . Rooms are clean and reasonable. Including breakfast and a restaurant. US$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 or necessary 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. A proper road is under construction.
- The bus to Yangon leaves at 08:00, 09:00 and 10:00, takes 12 hr and costs about 13,000 kyat.