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Three Pagodas Pass

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Having made the journey, all the way up the highway to the Mon Bridge and to the border of Myanmar, I just have to round off the trip with a visit to the actual border post.

Three Pagodas Pass as its known, name inventively after, erm Three Pagodas is where local Burmese produce comes across from Myanmar, and Thais sell the goods across to the Burmese.

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This is a good place to buy some Myanmar spirits and beers, and see a bit of Myanmar culture. At the moment though, it's not a tourist crossing. Tourists are not allowed to get a day pass, and cross into Myanmar, like the crossings further north in Chiang Rai.

I chat to a van driver who offers trips across into Burma to see the sights to Thai people. He tells me the law is being changed next year, and he's brushing up on his English for the tourists.

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Around the border post, the main goods that seem to be traded are wooden or brewed in wood! Whiskey, some of it in giant bottles! But familiar brands like Red Label, and a local blend, 100 Pipers line the stalls. The seller tells me that rich Thais and Burmese like to show off big bottles of whiskey on their shelves as a show of wealth!

Wood crafts and jewelry are another big export from Myanmar. I did some jewelry shopping, with topaz and gemstones plentiful.

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A Korean BBQ pan caught my eye on the brass-ware stands, about $35, not cheap by Burmese prices, but cheap by Western ones. Yep, I'll get one of those. All that shopping has made me hungry, and just next door a Burmese man fries up samosas in a little pot, that also warms the ones he's made earlier above.

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I get a bag of the peanuts fried in batter that he also sells. Interesting, I might do that recipe, they taste nice. They would make an excellent gop-gam side dish at a party. There a few restaurants here and so I have lunch.

After that I explore the furniture, solid carved wood, traditional Thai furniture. Not for me, but older people like it.

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They are building some new places here, in anticipation of ASEAN, the Euro-zone of Asia. It will reduce border barriers. At the moment to export from Thailand to Cambodia usually involves a boat! The land border is closed to bulk freight. For Myanmar, tourists are strictly controlled, and that will be loosened in the coming years. The new buildings will serve the increased cross border traffic.

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