Feb 5-10, 2020
Time on my Hands in Mae Sot
Location : Mae Sot, Thailand
Finding a Place to Sleep
With 30 days on my visa and no itinerary in mind, I was in no rush to do anything except to chill in Mae Sot. First thing was to look for a place to stay. The cheapest option, California Maesot House (B171) was full. I proposed a barter deal with the town's newest and grandest hotel, Teak Hotel, but management was not interested (owners usually accept my offer, but my offer didn't even reach the owners). I was even thinking that if I don't get a deal, I'd go straight to Bangkok where a hotel owner who has since become a friend, gave a standing offer to let me stay there.
Sleep Nest Hostel
Fortunately, Sleep Nest Hostel accepted my offer in exchange for a few night's stay. I jived well with the owner and his mother, who were both hands-on. They were just amazing! It's a hipster-ish hotel and attracts young backpackers. It was a perfect set-up. There was an open-air veranda that opens up to the street, a work area fronting a glass wall looking out to the street, comfortable bunk beds in an a/c dorm room, and all-day coffee/snacks. It was so chill I could have lived there.
Equally, I jived well with my fellow travelers who came from many walks of life - cavers, chef, English teachers, seekers, etc. They were interesting as they were varied. I met just about everyone including a former school principal who offered me a teaching job! I taught free/donation-based yoga daily at 8am. Even the owner's Mom, who was in her mid-50s, joined me rope-skipping on my cardio routine. It felt like my good 'ol days again as the excitement of travel is once again rekindled. Since I stayed a few days longer than most, I saw all of them come and go. I've bonded with most of them so there was always that bittersweet goodbye.
I will have to say that the place that offered the most animation was the Mae Sot Divisional Market, popularly referred to as the Burmese Market. I go there every day after yoga and just soak-in the energy. There is also the 2-street Saturday Night Market and the border market, Rim Moie Market. Because Mae Sot is a border town where refugees from Myanmar took refuge to, Mae Sot keeps a sizable Burmese population. Their presence is felt at the markets - Karen tribe people, Muslims, Shan, etc. During the early mornings around 6:30am, activity is buzzing. You see monks doing their alms round, morning denizens beginning their day in a Muslim coffee/roti shop, Thai shopkeepers offering their traditional crafts, street food hawkers, etc.
Because Mae Sot is multi-cultural, food offering is likewise varied, extending from Thai, Chinese, Shan, Halal (Muslim), and Karen. There is a Muslim section where you get the best roti and coffee morning times in their ubiquitous coffee shops. The Chinese presence is equally dominating with their congee, noodle soup and fried donuts. Shan noodle and its special seasoning are not to be missed. Food is definitely something to explore in Mae Sot.
Travelers usually stop overnight in Mae Sot en route to crossing into Myanmar - they don't usually stay long. With my planned longer stay here, I was hoping to discover its hidden gems by exploring, nosing around and simply being out-there! But it seems like I have to pack-up again after hearing about this fabulous place that had the biggest waterfall in Thailand!
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
(Feb 9, 2020) Love this. How does someone do yoga 11 hrs/day for 8 yrs?
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Next stop: Exploring Umphang, Thailand
Mae Sot Travel Information / Tips
Chiang Mai to Mae Sot by bus
There is a Green Bus line that departs from the Bus Arcade and drops you off at the Mae Sot bus terminal. Departure: 08:30 and 13:10. Return schedule (Mae Sot to Chiang Mai): 6:15am and 10:00am. Duration: 6 hours/30 mins. Cost: wide seats B490, regular seats B315(agencies or hotels may charge a small commission)
Mae Sot Attractions
- markets - Saturday Street Market, Burmese morning market, Border Market, gem market, night bazaar
- waterfalls - Tararak Waterfall (the nearest at 25 km), PA Wai Waterfall, Namtok Pha Charoen National Park, Khunpawor Waterfall, Phueng Luang Waterfall
- elephant camp tours - Retro Elephant Camp & Good Morning Maesot (only 3 km away)
- Burmese food exploration - mostly at the Burmese Market (Mae Sot Divisional Market)
- temple tours - Wat Manee Praison (temple sauna), Wat Chumpol Khiri, Wat Aranyakhet, Mae Soon Chuen Thai, Wat Mae Sot Na Dan (Wat Ngiao Luang)
Mae Sot Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Teaching 'Marketing English' to Hotel Staff Feb 17-19, 2020
- Post-Umphang Mae Sot Feb 15-20, 2020
- Time on my Hands in Mae Sot Feb 5-10, 2020
- Full-Body Ocular by the Immigration Officer in Mae Sot, Thailand Feb 5, 2020
- Mae Sot (Thailand) - Myawaddy (Myanmar) Border Crossing Jan 23, 2020
- Visiting Mae Sot Dec 27-30, 2019
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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