The southernmost tip of Burma – known as Kaw Thaung in Burmese, Ko Song in Thai, and Victoria Point when it was a British colony – lies just a few kilometres west of Ranong across the gaping Chan River estuary, and is easily reached by longtail boat from Saphan Pla fishing port just outside Ranong town centre. It’s quite straightforward for foreign tourists to hop across to Burma at this point, and hop back for a new fifteen-day stay in Thailand (the “tourist visa exemption”). You can either do it independently, as described below, or you can make use of one of the all-inclusive “visa run” services advertised all over town, including at Pon’s Place (B850 including visa). Most visa-run operators use the Saphan Pla route, but they can also book you on the faster, more luxurious Andaman Club boat (B1000 including visa), which departs from the Andaman Club pier 5km north of Ranong’s town centre and travels to and from the swanky Andaman Club hotel, casino and duty-free complex, located on a tiny island in Burmese waters just south of Kaw Thaung.
Boats to Kaw Thaung leave from the so-called Burmese Pier in the port of Saphan Pla, 5km southwest of town and served by songthaews from Ranong market. Thai exit formalities are done at the pier, after which longtail boats take you to Kaw Thaung and Burmese immigration. Here you pay US$10 (or B500) for a pass that should entitle you to stay in Kaw Thaung for a week but forbids travel further than 8km inland. Note that Burma time is thirty minutes behind Thailand time, and that to get back into Thailand you’ll have to be at the immigration office in Saphan Pla before it closes at 6pm. Thai money is perfectly acceptable in Kaw Thaung.
There’s nothing much to do in Kaw Thaung itself, but it has quite a different vibe to Thai towns. As you arrive at the quay, the market, immigration office and tiny town centre lie before you, while over to your right, about twenty minutes’ walk away, you can’t miss the hilltop Pyi Taw Aye Pagoda, surmounted by a huge reclining Buddha and a ring of smaller ones. Once you’ve explored the covered market behind the quay and picked your way through the piles of tin trunks and sacks of rice that crowd the surrounding streets, all that remains is to take a coffee break in one of the quayside pastry shops.