Sitting opposite the Thai border town of Mae Sai, Tachileik is a hectic, dusty frontier city. For many years, it was one of the only overland border crossing between Thailand
and Burma open to foreigners. Crossing from Thailand, you'll be struck immediately by the difference in development between Tachileik and Mae Sai. Tachileik, though, is much more prosperous than most Burmese towns such as Myawaddy
, Rikhawdar, Htee Kee and Kawthang of an equivalent size, thanks to it location on the Myanmar – Thai border and the subsequent trade in all manner of legal and illicit items.
There is no reason to stay long in Tachileik; for travellers, the town is a popular transit point for Myanmar border crossing tours into Thailand or Laos
. If you're coming from Thailand and looking to travel onto Kengtung (Kyaingtong)
, make sure to cross the border early in the morning: the last bus to Kyaingtong leaves at noon.