Visa run, a.k.a. the world’s worst road trip

Yesterday, we took the time-honored journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Sai to extend our visas.  I was expecting it to be pretty terrible… and it was worse.

We were told it would take four hours to get to Mae Sai, which is true.  However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that it would be a six hour journey, if the minibus driver wasn’t swerving into oncoming traffic most of the time to get ahead of slower cars and driving at what must have been twice the speed limit for the winding mountain road.  I can’t say such antics weren’t anticipated, as it’s a pretty well known fact around here that minibus drivers range from slightly crazy to downright dangerous.  Perhaps my impression of events is made worse by the fact that, in order to avoid being carsick, I was doped up on dramamine and looking right out the windshield the whole time.

We were in Myanmar for approximately 15 minutes, as we only had an hour to get our visa and get back on the bus, so we didn’t even get to explore the little border town that has popped up amidst the foreigners trying to stay in Thailand a little while longer.  I took exactly one picture on our whole trip, on the bridge that’s kind of no man’s land between Thailand and Myanmar:

Image

Note the haze.  While the smoke has (kind of) cleared here in Chiang Mai, it is still going strong in the north.  I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to take a picture with the sign marking the northern most point in Thailand, but considering that we didn’t even have time for lunch it didn’t make the cut.

We leave after Songkran for Laos, and another 12 hour minibus journey, to get our long-stay visas.  Let’s just say I’m not exactly excited about the whole thing, but it will be nice to get out of Chiang Mai and take a little vacation.

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