Mae Sot is a border town, bridging Myawaddy, Myanmar through the Friendship Bridge (#1).It used to be bustling with activities when mostly-Karen refugees from Myanmar were still making the land crossing. There is a large settlement of Burmese people who have already established themselves here through the Burmese market, Burmese eating places, wholesale gems and teak, etc.
Lately, Chinese money is being infused into the local economy. Already, major infrastructure projects are underway. Mae Sot is set for transformation. Before, Mae Sot was a transition stop to cross into Myanmar. Now, it's becoming a destination all its own, offering travelers multi-day activities ranging from waterfall treks, elephant camp tours, Night Bazaar, Saturday Street Market, Burmese food exploration, the gem market, Morning Market, temple sauna, and other unique temple tours.
Doing a visa run or crossing into Myanmar? Don't just pass through Mae Sot. Stay a few days and discover its many hidden gems!
Mae Sot Blogs by TheLoneRider
Post-Umphang Mae Sot(Feb 15-20, 2020) From Umphang, I was supposed to get my stuff from Sleep Nest Hostel in Mae Sot and head east for Tak. But the B47/night deal in Tak wasn't available anymore. More importantly, I like being in Mae Sot, hanging out at Sleep Nest Hostel. Pulling another ace off my sleeve, I offered to develop a customized map for the hostel in exchange for 2 nights. The owner said yes!....more »»
Time on my Hands in Mae Sot(Feb 5-10, 2020) With 30 days on my visa and no itinerary in mind, I was in no rush to leave Mae Sot. Time to explore this place most people just pass through with in crossing into Myanmar.....more »»
Full-Body Ocular by the Immigration Officer in Mae Sot, Thailand(Feb 5, 2020) Upon entering Thailand in Mae Sot, the immigration officer gave me a smile, looked at my passport, and then gave me a suspicious, scrutinizing look. She then stepped-out of her office to give me a full-body ocular. I got nervous.....more »»
Mae Sot (Thailand) - Myawaddy (Myanmar) Border Crossing(Jan 23, 2020) There are many misleading information online about the border crossing from Mae Sot to Myawaddy. Some because the information is too old, some because Immigration practice has been inconsistent and some because the information is only partial. I had to be ready for the worst.....more »»
Visiting Mae Sot(Dec 27-30, 2019) With Suzi's re-visit to Chiang Mai, I was invited to travel with her to Mae Sot, the place where she devoted a few months of volunteer service to an NGO for the welfare of the Burmese refugees. Of course I said Yes!....more »»
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)
General Travel Tips
- 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.)
- 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 journey...you just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
- 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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