Mae Sot Travel GuideSot Mae travel guide
Walk into the vibrant inner city market and perhaps you' ll soon forgotten which side of the boarder you're on. Myanmar salespeople show colorful Myanmar clothing for the Thanaka-powdered faces of Karen, Mon, Shan and other tribal minorities from across the state. The Muser miners are interacting with Muslims from Burma, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, while Western NGO staff welcome Thailand residents who have their origins in China, Isaan and Chiang Mai.
As more and more travelers from all over the world become involved, you have a captivating mixture of these. During the nights you can set up in a small bar to talk to the NGO staff and help the many Burmese immigrants and displaced persons. Mae La, the biggest refugee centre, is situated about 60 kilometers from Mae Sot and is a vulnerable home for about 40,000 displaced persons, a fistful of whom are waiting to be resettled in the USA and Europe.
Directly western of the city, the Mae Tao Clinic provides free health services to the needy; Youth Connect is running a migration education programme with the help of 80 community-based companies; and major organizations such as the Border Consortium are working to address the core needs of the camp's population. Travelers who want to learn more about the refugees crises, which receive little recognition internationally, should support non-profit cafés and stores such as Borderline, WEAVE and Passport.
Myawaddy / Mae Sot is a favourite checkpoint for travelers who want to come to Burma straight from the democratic break. From Burma you can head eastwards to Sukhothai, northwards to Mae Sariang or southwards to the isolated Umphang hills where the impressive Thi Lor Su Waterfall is located.
Mae Sot is situated about 500 kilometers north west of Bangkok, 400 kilometers east of Yangon and 350 kilometers southwest of Chiang Mai and borders the Thai-Burmese boarder at the west side of Tak county in the valley of the Moei River, which dives between mountains on both sides. Prasatwithi and Intarakiree. In the city centre there are many stores, a few cafés (including one opposite the Mia Casa Restaurant) and several hotels and cash machines.
Intarakiree Policing is in the center of Intarakiree and a Tourism Policing Department is further eastwards near Intarakiree Soi 24. Mae Sot General Hospital is situated on Sripanich Road to the south eastern side of the city, while Pawo Hospital is situated on Chidlom Road to the South-West.
Symbolized by a dark green door with Thai lettering next to the Landfair Shopping Centre in the centre of Mae Sot, the main town market just outside Prasatwithi has several covered marketplaces and innumerable stands burrowed into a maze of alleys. Head further southwards and turn westwards onto Chidlom Rd. or eastwards onto Suksri Rat Uthit Rd. (it's the same street with different name according to direction) and you step into a large Islamic area with several musketeers and cafés that serve rotis and fresh Myanmar cakes.
Intarakiree crossed a channel viaduct to the eastern side of the city centre and entered a calmer area mainly inhabited by north Thai people. Drive westwards from the city centre on the Intarakiree and past many of Mae Sot's guest houses, hostels and traveling dining and pubs before reaching the Asia Highway (aka Route 12) near the coach terminal located just south of the airfield.
It' s four kilometers to the Rim Moei Market and the frontier. You can take Hwy 105 northbound from Mae Sot to Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son or Hwy 1090 (the "Death Highway") southbound to Umphang. Sot Mae is out of the way when you come from somewhere else in Thailand, although it is simple enough to come here from Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet and Tak cities, all on or near the large buses between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
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