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Entrance to the city limits of Tachileik
Entrance to the city limits of Tachileik
Tachileik is located in Myanmar
Location in Burma
Coordinates: 20°27′N 99°53′E / 20.450°N 99.883°E / 20.450; 99.883
Country  Myanmar
Division  Shan State
Admin. district Tachileik District
Admin. township Tachileik Township
Population (2014) 51,553
 • Ethnicities Shan
 • Religions Buddhism
Time zone UTC+6.30 (MST)

Tachileik (Burmese: တာချီလိတ်မြို့ [tà tɕʰì leɪʔ mjo̰]; also spelt Tachilek; Thai: ท่าขี้เหล็ก, RTGSTha Khi Lek), is a border town in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar. It is the administrative seat of Tachileik Township and Tachileik District and most populated city in eastern Shan State with 51,553 residents per 2014 census count, ahead of Kyaing Tong , but only 4th statewide.[1]


Tachileik was a border crossing used in the opium trade from the Golden Triangle,[2] and was the town that the drug lord Khun Sa.[2]used to live.

On 24 March 2011 a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the region very close to Tachileik. It caused some damage as far away as Chiang Mai.

On 24 March 2012, a bomb wounded 2 people at the Regina Hotel golf course in Tachileik, followed by a second bomb that exploded an hour later.[3]


Climate data for Tachileik
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28
Average low °C (°F) 12
Average rainfall mm (inches) 15
Average rainy days 5 3 3 10 18 21 23 25 19 14 8 6 155
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248 252 248 240 217 150 124 155 180 186 210 217 2,427
Source: World Climate Guide


Tachileik has an airport which links to three Burmese cities - Yangon, Mandalay, and Kengtung.[4] By road Tachileik is connected to Kengtung, which lies 106 km (66 miles] to the north, by the Asian Highway route AH2, and via Kengtung west to Taunggyi, capital of Shan State, and east by route AH3 to Mongla and on to Yunnan Province, China.[5][6]

Border crossing

Myanmar passport stamp for entry at Tachileik

Tachileik can be accessed from the Thai town of Mae Sai, which sits directly south on the other side of the small Mae Sai River.[2] There are two bridges that provide access between Mae Sai and Tachilek, one is actively used for border crossings and the other newer one was not yet being utilized as of January 2007.

It may be possible for tourists to take a bicycle across the bridge, but logistically it would be difficult. It is a porous border and is actually not difficult to wade across the river. Burmese merchants used to be able to cross over and do business in Mae Sai for days at a time. The border is also a popular destination for Westerners (referred to locally as farang) who either reside in or are visiting Thailand and who need to get their passport visas renewed.

Thailand-Myanmar Bridge

There is no charge for a 'visa run' going from Thailand to Burma on the Thai side, but there is a charge of US$10 or 500 Thai Baht on the Burmese side.[7]


The crowning tourist attraction is a large gold-colored stupa,[2] which, among other things, showcases the seven days of the week. The idea is for a pilgrim to go to the spot which has the day he/she was born known as the planetary post, and do a simple spiritual ritual.

West of town there are hiking trails, though currently they're designated for locals, not for tourists. There's an Akha hill tribe, over an hour's walk north-west of Tachilek called Ho Yu. There are no maps and no guides for such excursions, and Burmese authorities frown on foreign visitors leaving the beaten track. Perhaps in the future, Tachilek authorities will lighten up on their restrictions for tourists, but for the foreseeable future: trekking, hiking, exploring, rock climbing, camping, and enjoying the river are not allowed.

Pasa Wildlife Reserve is located in the eastern side of the district.

Tachileik Shwedagon Pagoda


In 2009, it was reported that Tachileik vendors openly sold endangered animal parts.[8] It has been suggested by some that this trade is fueled by the many Chinese who frequent the area.[citation needed] Located immediately following the bridge that divides Myanmar and Thailand is a marketplace[9][10] that sells a large variety of products, including DVDs, perfume, clothing, luggage, and wine.

Tachileik has a reputation as a distribution nexus for heroin and ya ba (speed pills) moving from rural Myanmar to the world market.[citation needed] The reports say the drugs are manufactured and distributed by a number of armed cease-fire groups in Shan State, in particular the United Wa State Army. However, Tachilek is not dangerous, and even solo forays out at night are safe. (UWSA).[6]

Health care

  • Tachileik General Hospital

See also


  1. ^ http://citypopulation.de/Myanmar-Cities.html
  2. ^ a b c d Chien, Choo Tse (2004) "Border Areas & Into Burma Photo Gallery" at pbase.com, archived here on 9 February 2005 by Internet Archive
  3. ^ "Two wounded in Myanmar golf course bombing". Agence France-Presse. Hindustan Times. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Time Taken and Distances (Car / Flight / Boat)". myanmartravels.net. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  5. ^ "Asian Highway in Myanmar" (PDF). unescap.org. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  6. ^ a b Lawi Weng. "'Yaa-Baa' Bust in Tachilek". The Irrawaddy, March 11, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-03-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  7. ^ "Burma, part 2: Checkpoints". the Daily Muse. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  8. ^ Richard S. Ehrlich (5 December 2009). "Endangered animal skins and iPods. A day trip to Tachilek, Myanmar". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  9. ^ John P Seely (2003–2012). "Tachilek: Gateway to Myanmar". John P Seely.com. John P Seely. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  10. ^ paulandwaralak (28 January 2012). "Tachilek market Burmaover the border from Mae Sai in Thailand". YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 26 August 2012.

External links

  • Media related to Tachileik at Wikimedia Commons
  • Tachileik travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Satellite map Maplandia
  • Picture

Coordinates: 20°27′N 99°53′E / 20.450°N 99.883°E / 20.450; 99.883

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