Access from Tak is about 100km along Highway #105 via Doi Musoe (870 m altitude) and Doi Son (784 m altitude).
Frequent minibuses connect Mae Sot directly with Tak bus station, starting at 5:30AM and finishing around 7PM, and in theory departing every 30 minutes - however those that are already full can be expected to leave early, and those that are not will probably go late. The journey takes about 90 minutes and costs 50 baht/person. The surcharge for putting a bicycle on the roofrack is 50 baht.
There are buses throughout the day from Moh Chit Bus Station in Bangkok. VIP buses are 700 baht as of June 2008. Try to get a spot at the top level of the bus (VIP) as you are not near the toilets at the bottom. They stink! There are as well, 1st class buses, and other levels. When you get the bus it goes all night so you get there very early. Remember that your ticket (VIP) gives you a free meal or drink at the stop that the bus makes in the middle of the night. When you stop take your ticket and you get one meal (pretty average) or a drink/yoghurt drink. When you arrive at Mae Sot there are Tuk Tuks and motor bikes to take you to the hotels. Be advised, several of them will attempt to scam you. Negotiate your fare prior to taking a ride anywhere.
Mae Sot airport is about 2km west of the edge of town, and just 1km from the border. PB Air started flying to Mae Sot in June 2009.
Wat in Mae Sot (Thailand)
The airport is still definItely closed. Getting around town is pretty simple by foot but if you are looking for other forms of transport... Push bike - These can be rented from most guest houses but in the high season they are almost totally booked out. Motor bike - you can hire motor bikes from most places that sell motor bikes (easy to find!). They cost around 160b per day. You must wear a helmet (supplied) as the police do fine people (even foreigners!). You have to leave your passport for bond and fill up with petrol when you return it. The shop on the corner just up from the Mosque is very good and has good bikes with good service.
To hire cars is a hassle and expensive - stick to motor bikes or rent a taxi. Motor bike taxi can be had anywhere you see a buch of guys sitting around with a coloured jacket over their shirts with a number on the back. Prices depend on how far you go. You can also get a form of transport similar to a tuk tuk. You get them from the bus station to town for about 50 b again depending on how far you are going. If you need to go to the bus station and there are a few of you the guest house can get you one.
The municipal market in town is quite vibrant and represents an amazing cultural mix. There are Indo-burmese textiles, food and teak; as well as Karen, Mon, Hmong and other Burmese minority shops of all kinds. Turtles, eels and frogs all available at food stalls (mostly these are live) while of course more "western" meats such as pork, chicken, beef and lamb. Beef and lamb are much harder to come by. Gem and Jade shops abound in Mae Sot as well - but they are not for amateurs, you best be able to tell the difference between real and fake gems if you plan to buy.
Wat Mani (a temple) on the eastern side of town (near the Tesco Lotus) has a sauna, for about 20B.
Go to the Herbal Sauna at Wat Mani (in the east part of town). If you walk on the northern main road (in eastern direction) enter the temple complex at the sign Wat Mani, walk straight and turn right around the main building. The herbal sauna is at the back of the main temple. Bring your own towel and water bottle. Women should wear a sarong or loose cloth. There's a separate section for men and women. The steam room is tiny but this gives a good opportunity to mix up with locals. Open in the afternoon. GPS-coordinates: N 16° 43.019 E 98° 34.455
Gem stones in a shop in Mae Sot
The main market is a great place to purchace some Burmese goods. Wandering around it is easy to see the ethnic diversity in Mae Sot. Its is also a fantastic place to buy great fresh (often alive) food. Toad anyone?
There are many Gem stone and jewelery shops offering good bargains. Most of the trade is for wholesale however. As with anywhere in Thailand, although many sellers are reputable, be wary that if you look European, low quality stones might be sold for high prices. Do some research before you buy.
It appears that most places in Mae Sot have English menus available; so if you know Thai, ask for the Thai menus, as they tend to have many more options.
Aiya is a Thai-Burmese restaurant on the western Intharakhiri road, across from Ban Thai. A favorite among westerners. An expansive menu, and the staff has decent english.
Bai Fern Restaurant is a Thai - Fusion decent food on the Western Intharakhiri Rd. If you found Aiya, Bai Fern is just on the opposite side of the road.
Casa Mia offers Thai as well as good Italian food. The staff is friendly, and it is on a street off of the main (Intharakhiri) road. The sign should be visible from the street and it is also west of town (further west than Ban Thai guest house)
Krua Canadian Cafe is quite central down the block immediately south of the Police Station (center of Mae Sot). The menu is quite large and a hive of western info, english papers and cuisine.The new Mexican Menu is a sure lure for the travelers tired of rice. It also has Wine by the glass.It has the largest selection for breakfast in town and open at 7:00AM sharp
The Night Market is terrific for dinner for the undecisive. With at least half a dozen different restaurants that stay open much later than the rest of Mae Sot, it's a good option for great Thai. Every shop here will have an English menu.
Hazel Cafe is just east of the Police Station and is the most "Western-looking" place in Mae Sot. It's "Ikea-sleek" decor may be out of place, but it's free wifi, Air Con, comfortable couches and delightful baked goods are hard to resist.
T Corner on the west side of town is another Anglo-friendly place, best suited for Lunch. They provide free wifi but you're not allowed to plug your computer. So you can only sit as long as your batteries last.
Janra Indian Restaurant is opposite Casa Mia and serves good Indian food. It has a vegetarian buffet on Friday evenings and bookings are advisable.
Countless Thai restaurants line the streets of Mae Sot. Be adventurous. You needn't ever eat at the same place twice here, so long as you don't stay for more than a year.
Oasis Coffee Shop is a regular meeting place for foreigners in Mae Sot. In addition to coffee, cakes, and sandwiches, there are meeting rooms available with the purchase of a cup of coffee, free up-to-date maps, internet and Wi-Fi, Thai and Burmese lessons, and an English language Church Service on Saturday night. It is also a great source for information especially if you are new in town. All are welcome. It is on the street opposite the entrance to the Mae Sot street market (2/2 Soi Watchumpon; Ph. 055-533047; Monday-Saturday 8-6).The money goes towards the Home Of Hope Orphanage, and the Elpis school for refugees.
Kungs bar once you found the only police traffic station, make a u-turn and straight on that road pass a temple and "the borderline shop" about a few blocks down the road. Kungs bar is the only bar on the left hand side of the road. It is a dark bar inside but with pleasant tables outside for those who prefer the fresh air, with an excellent cocktail menu, good various kinds of music and on request, with a good conditioned pool table. The Thai owner "Kung" is an original born Mae Sotian with his good sense of humours, great hospitality and decent English you'll experience the real taste of Mae Sot origin at Kungs Bar.
Thaime's bar located west of Kung's on Intharikiri Rd (heading towards the border, past Ban Thai and Smile guest houses) is another popular NGO bar. Regular quiz nights, salsa nights and pool tournaments held there on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, respectively. The bar is non-profit and all money made helps sustain the Light School, a local Burmese migrant children's school.
There is a locals nightclub called Y2K, which is for most western people a once and once only experience. It is rather expensive by local standards (70b for a small Leo) and caters for young Thais' musical tastes.
Auntie's coffee 489 Intharakeeree maesot Tak 63110 A popular place with both Thais and foreigners in Mae Sot, located near Wat Chumpon. Specialties include Vietnam Coffee and various fruit smoothies. An eclectic playlist of music creates a nice atmosphere, there is free WiFi and tourist information. You can also pick up original postcards featuring scenes from the area. One lesser point: the staff doesn't always seem very friendly.
Sweet Harmony coffee & Bakery Bautique 2/3 Sripanich Rd Maesod tak 055-544810 or 0819711731
Lusy's Home GuestHouse (Mae Sot, Thailand)
There are many hotels and guest houses in Mae Sot.
you can stay at Green Guest House, a clean and affordable converted set of homes. There are private and shared bath rooms available. Television is also included. If you stay more than one night a towel and toilet paper are included.
First Hotel has invested it's time and energy in its interior, leaving the exterior to be remarkable only for the difference. Air con rooms with double beds are available, as are other variations.
To the west of the city center...
Bai Fern has wifi, mostly unremarkable rooms, and some have Air Con. It is conveniently located in the middle of town between the Bai Fern restaurant, Aiya, and Kung's bar - all popular western NGO hang-outs.
Lusy's Home Guesthouse offers cheap rooms (200B per night, cheaper if you stay for a longer period) with tv, hot shower, fan and a water bottle. GPS-coordinates: N 16° 43.012 E 98° 33.882
Ban Thai is further west, down a soft gravel alley, with a very peaceful atmosphere. Rooms are clean, but Air Con does not seem available. Wifi, however, appears plentiful there, and it seems to be quite popular among the NGO-working western crowd. The Manager, Thant is a good source of information about the local schools (of which there are over 50) that work with Burmese refugee children.
Smile guest house is cheap rooms and some have air-con.
No. 4 guest house appears to be a haven for trekkers, and has clean comparable rooms to other places in town.
DK Guest house is also a well used tourist hang out with mostly older NGO people, Christians and the like. About 400b per night tiled BIG rooms with TV, western toilet, cable TV and a balcony. Don't get the rooms at either end (next to the road or at the opposite end) as the noise can be a bit mich from chickens and cars very early in the morning. The staff are nice and internet is available in the lobby. All Burmese staff (except counter staff) with good security at night with guard and counter staff on the ball.
Kung's bar has cheap, clean rooms at the rear. Perfect for the sleepy traveler who has had one too many Beer Changs over the course of the weekend.
The Pond Thep hotel is by, comparison to all other similarly priced accomodation, sub-standard; with musty rooms, broken TVs and torn curtains. 180b gets you a damp fan room.
The DK bookshop below is very interesting. All the Thai classics but limited English titles. The best value in Mae Sot. The Mae Sot hill hotel is the best hotel but very expensive and way out of town. No wi fi.
In addition to the Mae Sot to Mo Chit route, buses also travel directly to Mae Sai, via Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Departure times from Mae Sot are 6am and 8am from the main bus terminal. Tickets can usually be purchased without problems at the station on the morning of departure. Ask your guesthouse to arrange an early morning Tuk Tuk to the station. The ticket booth opens at 5:30 am, but as of early 2009, the company- Green Bus- has moved its ticket office to a building on the Asia highway close to town during the afternoon and evening hours.
There are two classes of buses, but both are very clean and spacious and also include a free or 10bt lunch voucher. Total travel time to Chiang Mai is about 6 hours; Chiang Rai, 9 hours. Tickets are 250/350bt and 350/500bt, respectively, and depending on the bus class. Green Bus buses from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot depart daily at 11:45 (2nd class) and 13:10 (1st class).
As of early 2009, bus lines have also opened for daily travel to Laem Ngop (Ko Chang) and Mukdahan. The company who runs this service is Phetprasert.
The Laem Ngop bus travels south towards Bangkok, veering east before entering the city, and then traveling along the coast via Chonburi and Rayong. The travel time from Mae Sot to the ferry departure point for Koh Chang is around 16 hours and the ticket costs 750 bt.
The Mukdahan bus makes station-only stops, including Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Khon Kaen. The company claims that total travel time is 12-14 hours.
Another way to leave Mae Sot is to catch the minibus to Tak to connect to onward buses. These leave throughout the day around every 40 minutes from the old market area which is over the bridge from Green Guesthouse. The trip to Tak takes around one and a half hours and costs 56 bt