Umphang is a never-heard-of destination in Thailand. It's an interesting place. You can only reach Umphang via Mae Sot. And you can only leave Umphang via Mae Sot. And Mae Sot is only 162 km away, but a good 5.5 hours away on winding and undulating mountain road. Why? Because Myanmar has an appendage sticking into Thailand, so you have to make a longer circular route to reach Umphang (best to look at the map). Be prepared to get dizzy on the road trip. Better yet, bring some puke-bag with you.
So, what's in Umphang to make it all the trouble? For one, it has the biggest waterwall in Thailand. It's also the 5th biggest in Asia! Also, Umphang is not yet corrupted by crass tourism. It's still pristine.
Umphang Blogs by TheLoneRider
Food in Umphang(Feb 10-15, 2002) For an obscure place, Umphang holds its ground on its culinary offerings. But one dish takes center stage....more »»
Trekking Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint(Feb 11-12, 2020) One of the DIY attractions in Umphang is the Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint - a scenic view from a hilltop 9 km away on paved road, and 1 km on foot by loose-gravel trail path. My last hike was the Monk's Trail in Chiang Mai. This would be a good one to try.....more »»
Exploring Umphang, Thailand(Feb 10-15, 2020) It was only in Mae Sot when I overheard some travelers talking about this obscure and almost unknown destination in Thailand, 5.5 hours from Mae Sot. They talked about a great waterfall, trekking tours, rafting, river splashes and a lot of nature. It reminded of my previous home in Sagada. It was enough to get me excited and pack-up.....more »»
Umphang Travel Info
Mae Sot to Umphang (and back) by bus
Getting to Umphang
From the Mae Sot Divisional Market (Burmese Market), I boarded the blue songthao (going to the border) and got off at the Bus Station near the airport (B20, 10 mins). At the bus station, I went to platform #5 Umphang, and boarded the blue songthao (departure times 07:30 after every hour until 13:30, B140, 5.5 hours). The first 2 hours was on flat, the following 2.5 hours was a dizzying mountain twist like a pretzel road, and the last hour was still curvy, but not as tight. One boy threw up at all the luggages in front of him, to the chagrin of the passengers! Best to have your Google Map activated when nearing Umphang so you know when to get off closest to your hotel before the songthao reaches its final stop. Better yet, show the driver where your hotel is, and he's likely to drop you off the doorstep.
Leaving Umphang for Mae Sot, go to the blue songthao depot at the Umphang Walking Street (see map). Departures are every hour beginning 06:30 to 13:30, B140, and only 5 hours! It should take you to the market and then to Mae Sot bus station near the airport (I don't really know since I alighted at Robinsons).
What to Do in Umphang
The main attraction of Umphang are the multiple waterfalls (Thi Lor Su, Thi Lor Jor, Thi Lor Lay, Se Pala, Pitu Grow), rafting, caving (Tha Kubi Cave), hot spring, and trekking. There's is not much within the town proper. Tour rates usually start at B1500/person and can go as much as B4000/person for multi-day trekking.
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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