Eli Orzessek suggests caution around the border from Myanmar into Thailand.
We have done a lot of backpacking and enjoy the challenges. But my question is: where is it best (and easiest) to cross into Thailand? We are allowing about 10 days to do this, then back to Bangkok by train or bus.
Alison & Rodney Woodcock
This is a bit of a tricky one but I've received some advice from Intrepid Travel.
I'm sure you've done some research, but I will point out that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's SafeTravel website warns against travelling along the borders of Myanmar, advising against all tourist and other non-essential travel, including official border crossings. It says that military activity, ethnic militias, armed drugs smugglers and landmines pose a particularly high risk to your safety.
With all that out of the way, here's the advice I received from Lee Sheridan, general manager of Intrepid's PEAK Myanmar: "There are several border crossings with Thailand — the furthest south is the Kawthaung/Ranong border crossing. Once in Thailand it's relatively easy to get flights or overland transport from Ranong to Bangkok.
"Another option would be the Myawaddy/Mae Sot border crossing east of Mawlamyine.
"A third option is in-between these two and east of Dawei, crossing into the area west of Kanchanaburi in Thailand. The Kawthaung/Ranong crossing is easiest in terms of transport, and also gives the opportunity to explore southern Myanmar and the delights of the archipelago."
Intrepid's product team adds: "The MFAT website mentions that many ethnic groups have signed ceasefire agreements, primarily those located on the Thai-Myanmar border. There are some exceptions to some areas in Shan and Kachin states. We always recommend passengers follow travel advisory warnings.
"We have not heard of any recent issues in the border crossing exiting Myanmar at Htiki, entering Thailand at Baan Nam Pu Ron immigration point, or those as previously mentioned."
If you are backpacking be sure to check in with friends and family frequently and also pick up a local sim card so you can call for help if needed.
You should also register at SafeTravel to submit the details of your trip so they can locate you in case of emergency.
If any readers have made a similar journey and have any advice, we'd love to hear from you.