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Thailand seeks to upgrade border crossing at Three Pagodas Pass

The border crossing linking Thailand and Burma at Three Pagodas Pass. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The head of Thailand’s Immigration Bureau will propose that the government upgrade the Three Pagodas Pass in Kanchanaburi province from a temporary border crossing to a permanent one to facilitate rapidly growing tourism and trade with Burma.

Police Lt-Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn made the comment during a visit to the border pass in Sangkhlaburi District on Saturday. He said the crossing had become more important because the value of border trade with Phaya Tong Su in Burma through the area was increasing steadily.

A large number of Thai and foreign tourists also like to cross the border to tour Phaya Tong Su, with Burmese residents as their guides to attractions including local temples and markets, Nathathorn said.

As well, he said, more people from Burma were entering Thailand for work through the border crossing because it was a shorter journey than other routes.

However, the border crossing is only open from 8 am to 6 pm, which limits tourist travel to short day trips. As well, shipments of goods must be diverted via other permanent checkpoints, increasing costs to businesses and ultimately consumers.

Thailand currently has 37 permanent border checkpoints and 47 temporary ones. Three Pagodas is one of five crossings that the Thai Chamber of Commerce has identified as the priority for upgrades.

Nathathorn also noted that the railway station at Thanbyuzayat in Burma was just 100 kilometres from the border pass and the rail network provided convenient links with major cities including Moulmein, Mudon and Rangoon.