What an adventure!!! From Kho Phagnan we left at 6.30am on Friday 17th Feb and got the boat and then the bus to Suratthani, over on the mainland in Thailand. When getting off the boat on Sak Pier we were really lucky and saw lots of dolphins swimming past as we walked up the long pier, some were pink dolphins too which was very exciting!! From Surathani we got a bus to Ranong, which is the border town on the Thai side of the Thai Burma border. We had hoped we might make it over to Burma that night, but the journey took longer than we thought and the border shuts at 6pm and so we spent 1 night in a 'hotel' in Ranong. The hotel, we are pretty sure, used to be hospital or institute of some sort. It was a very clinical concrete building with lots of 'rooms' - none of which had plugs and had these awful rusty creaky looking metal 'wardrobes' that I insisted on looking inside before I went to sleep to check that there was nothing or nobody in there - eeek!. But, it was 4 pounds a night, so we couldn't really complain! Saturday morning we headed on the boat from Ranong over to the border, not really knowing what to expect. The journey over the from Thailand to the order crossing into Burma took around 20 mins and involved a series of stops at different check points on little islands on the way over. Was all a bit strange and a very different experience than other border crossings we have done! You8 get on a little longtail boat, unfortunately for us it started to pour down when we got on, and we had a half hour wait before we left. Our boat started slowly filling with water and a little Thai guy had to sit and scoop it out with a container to keep us above water ha! We arrived on the wee boat over at the border and had to climb with our rucksacks over all other boats parked up alongside us (but between our boat and dry land!!) to get to some rocks...climb up them...then over a fence...then go to scary immigration where had to pay 10us dollars to enter...but they don't accept your 10dollar bill...you have to go and 'buy' one from these touts who sit outside and sell you a crisp bill for a few quid profit. Nuts!!!!! Then they keep ur passport until you leave the country which is always unnerving & you can't go outside a 5km radius of the border due to crazy government rules!!!
That aside it was easier than we had thought it would be! Burma was an amazing place to see. It turns out that most people come and do the visa run in one day, very few people come themselves and stay there, so we were like celebs for the 24 hours we were there; everyone staring and kids laughing and pointing etc. They were just fascinated by us!! We felt safe enough there, I was a little nervy at night time there but in the day it was absolutely fine. We got a hotel there for the 1 night which was nice but very pricey really compared to Thailand, but I guess they don't have many people ever staying there so they need to make as much money as possible when they do! Goats roam the streets here and it was a real authentic experience to be able to stay here for 1 night. Ordering food was interesting, didn't quite know what we would get but we managed all the same and tried the local 'Myanmar beer' which was really nice actually. Tomorrow we will head back over to Thailand (that's if the Burma immigration do give us back our passports and of that wasn't a scam!) and we will have a new 15 day visa for the rest of Thailand.