With the deepening of international cooperation, the border region of China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand has become the only multi-national geo-economic zone contacting China and ASEAN. The land use and land cover change (LUCC) in this region has become the focus of international research. The purpose of this study is to detect the spatial and temporal land use and land cover changes in the border area, and compare land use differences in the four member countries. Through interpreting the Landsat TM/ETM images of the study area in 1990, 2000 and 2010, this paper classified land use and land cover of this region in the three periods, including some dominant or special land use such as rubber plantations and slash-and-burn cultivation (shifting cultivation), and quantitatively analyzed the spatio-temporal variations and characteristics of land use change during 10-year and 20-year periods as well as mainly land use change area, spatial distribution and dominant transition types. To investigate the area proportion and position of changes, this paper further detected the general variation, net variation and exchange variation of each land use in the study area and in the four member countries respectively. Finally we analyzed the inter-national difference of land use comprehensive degree. The results showed that: 1) The area of rubber plantation and tea plantation had the largest increase during the period of 1990-2010. Meanwhile, the area of shifting cultivation, built-up lands and permanent farmlands also increased, while the area of woodland, shrub, grassland and water decreased. 2) Land use transitions between woodlands and shrubs and their transition with permanent farmlands, shifting cultivations and rubber plantations had determined the basic characteristic of land use changes in the study area. 3) The rubber plantations and tea plantations both increased. Permanent farmlands had little changes in area but changed greatly in spatial distributions. The change of water and shifting cultivations were also location changes. For grasslands, shrubs, woodlands and built-up lands, spatial location changes and area changes had roughly equivalent proportion. 4) The land use comprehensive degree in the border area of China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand increased generally during the period from 1990 to 2010, the increase amount in the later 10 years being larger than before. Comparing the four countries, Thailand had the highest land use degree, followed by China, and Laos and Myanmar had the lowest land use degrees. The increase of land use degree in China and Myanmar became slower in the later 10 years, and became faster in Thailand in the later 10 years. The land use degree in Laos decreased in the first 10 years and then transferred to increase in the later 10 years.