a seeker in search of Easter Eggs
Umphang, Thailand

Food in Umphang Feb 10-15, 2002

Food in Umphang

Location Google Map: Umphang, Thailand

When I met an Indonesian priest, he said the best food in Umphang is in Pa Ae Kitchen (not written in English - look in map). He recommended Pad Thai. It must have been the best Pad Thai plating ever! B40? Unreal! The taste however, was not Pad Thai the way I remember it in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. It seems to have an "Umphang" taste - a common taste denominator amongst most food I've had in Umphang. Different, but equally as good.

Food in Umphang
Gheng Kua Karen dish

Gheng Cua Karen
I read in Travelfish (a very informative travel site) that Krua Ban Hao was a good place to eat a regional staple, "gaeng kua" which is probably the same as another recommendation I had from a local couple, "Gheng Cua Karen". Sure enough, that's what I ordered (stand alone side dish). At B100, it was pricey given the serving. But the taste however was delicious. Curious how others would serve it, I defaulted back to Pa Ae and ordered the same at B50 (smaller serving with rice). The taste was equally as good, if not the same. This is a dish you should try. I haven't heard this dish in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Even in Mae Sot, it's not available except in the Karen village.

Ending Thoughts
For an obscure place, Umphang holds its ground on its culinary offerings. It prepares the familiar dishes differently, with also a different flavor. The one dish that takes the cake is Gheng Cua Karen (not sure if that's how it's spelled). Generally, I try to point out what's in the picture when I see a promising dish. At worst, it's good and decent. At best, it's wow! It's uncanny how an obscure little town can hold its own about their culinary offerings. Food in Umphang has been a pleasant surprise.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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Next stop: Visiting the Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand

Umphang Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Visiting the Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand Feb 14, 2020
  2. Food in Umphang Feb 10-15, 2002
  3. Trekking Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint Feb 11-12, 2020
  4. Exploring Umphang, Thailand Feb 10-15, 2020

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).

songthao departure schedule, Umphang, Thailand
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.

Travel Tips for Thailand

How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days

This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.

    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.

  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.

    30-Day Extension

    NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
  4. when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
  5. when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
Book Train Tickets in Thailand

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General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. 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.
  4. 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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