by Regin Reyno
One of the countries that you must visit if you want a cultural experience in Asia is Burma, or what they now call Myanmar. Years of strict military rule enabled it to preserve it's culture. The internet just entered in that country recently-no ATM machines were available in that country until November 2011. No 7-11's, some parts of the country still has no electricity, and Coca-cola just entered two weeks ago. The majority still wear their traditional clothes. Men wear skirts, or what they call longyi. So for a traveler like me who's after cultural experiences, Burma is a country not to be missed.
So if you're planning to visit Burma, don't go there without a visa.
Here's how you can get a Myanmar visa in Bangkok:
The Myanmar Embassy is located at 132, Sathorn Nua Road in Bangkok. In going there take the sky train or what they call BTS. Head to Susarak station. It is near Surasak station.
From Surasak station go to EXIT 3. Walk down up to street level and then about-face or turn in the opposite direction. Walk until you reach the building. It is located approximately 200 meters from the train station. It took me 4 minutes to reach the embassy.
It is located at the corner of Sathorn Road and Thanon Pan. It has white wall with spikes on top. Walk down Thanon Pan road and you will see the entrance to the embassy for tourists or foreigners.
Applying for a Myanmar visa is easy. You just need a 2 passport size photos, a photocopy of your passport's photo page and a passport valid for at least 6 months. They will let you fill-out a form. Just don't write journalist or photographer in the form as your job, as you may have problems.
I arrived in the embassy at around 11:55am, and they are about to close. But I pleaded to the counter to still process my visa as I have no other time in some other days. So I paid THB 1,260 for the express process, fill-out the form, handed the 2 photos, and then that's it- finished. No interviews. They asked me to pick it up in the afternoon.
After a delicious but cheap lunch in the street, I killed the time by having a foot massage in the nearby Health Land, a popular spa chain in Thailand, for only THB 250 for 1 hour.
And finally at around 3:45pm, my passport was handed to me with my Myanmar visa. Praise the Lord!
2 working days-THB 810/USD 26.22
next day- THB 1,035/ USD 33.79
same day (express)- THB 1,260 USD 41.14
THINGS TO BRING
two passport-size photos
photocopy of passport photo page
Myanmar Embassy is open from Monday-Friday
They are close during Thai and Burmese holidays
Do you have further questions on how to apply a Myanmar visa in Bangkok? Feel free to ask.