Mae Sot is in Tak Province, Thailand. It has an elevation of around 210 m, and in 2010, a population of around 36,000.
The distance from Tak is about 100 km along Highway 105 via Doi Musoe (870 m altitude) and Doi Son (784 m altitude). Tak is connected to regular bus services between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Frequent mini buses connect Mae Sot directly with Tak bus station starting at 05:30 and finishing around 19:00 and, in theory, departing every 30 min from the lower end of the Burmese Market. However, those buses that are already full can be expected to leave early, and those that are not will probably go late. The journey takes about 90 min and costs about 78 baht/person. The surcharge for putting a bicycle on the roof rack is 50 baht. There is a through bus from Mae Sot to Sukothai, via Tak.
There are buses in the early morning and late evening from Mo Chit Bus Station in Bangkok. VIP buses are approximately 613 baht per person. Try to get a spot on the top level of the bus (VIP) as you are not near the toilets at the bottom level, they stink! There are also cheaper first and second class buses, 394 baht and 306 baht respectively as of Feb 2011. The buses leave Mae Sot and Mo Chit early in the morning and throughout the evening (several around 08:00 and 21:00), day bus or night bus. After approximately 7-8 hr of travel time you reach your destination. Tickets on first class and VIP buses entitle you to a free light meal and/or drink when you stop half-way. There are motorbike and tuk-tuk taxis at Mae Sot Bus Station. It is best to have a map of your destination, with Thai directions, if possible. The average fare into town or to one of the guest houses listed here, is between 50-100 baht. Negotiate prior to embarking!
When arriving, the scheduled busses often make a few stops along the highway in Mae Sot before reaching the final stop at the bus station near the airport to the south west - it might make more sense for you to jump off the bus along the highway, depending on where you are staying.
Tickets for the scheduled buses (ie not mini buses) to Chiang Mai can be purchased at the bus office on the Asian Highway or on the Green Bus website. A ticket to Bangkok can be purchased from the main bus station. Chiang Mai buses leave at 08:30 and 13:10 and are 319 baht each way.
Songthaews travel frequently to Mae Sariang (north) and Umphang (south). They leave from the market (ask for directions to the collection points) or you can flag them down en route, but beware, they are bone shakers and sometimes very full (spare seating on the roof).
From Mawlamyine you can get a shared taxi. If there is 4 of you, you will be charged 10.000 kyat each and the taxi driver will bring you to Myawaddy in less than 4 hours. Then you just cross the bridge by foot and you are in Thailand. From the bridge you can get a tuk tuk or motorbike taxi to Mae Sot city center (100 baht).
Mae Sot Airport is about 2 km west of the edge of town, and just 1 km from the border. Recently, they have built the international airport.
Nok Air  operates three daily flights between Mae Sot and Bangkok. Recently, they have added flights to Yangon. Sometimes they run flights to Chaing Mai but this is rare.
Wat in Mae Sot (Thailand)
Getting around town is pretty simple by foot but if you are looking for other forms of transport, bicycles can be rented at local guesthouses or Braverly (approximately 50-100 baht per day) and motor bikes (approximately 150-200 baht per day) can be rented by the day from one of the guest houses listed here, or from the lovely Thai Tiny Tim (speaks good English), or at the reputable Honda Shop near Canadian Daves. You must wear a helmet (supplied) as the police do fine people (especially foreigners!). You have to leave your passport for bond (or leave 5,000 baht deposit) and fill up with petrol when you return it. Cars and 4 wheel drives can be hired from several places around town (e.g. Airport). Be careful as driving in Thailand can at best be described as unconventional and at worst, downright dangerous. Drunk driving is very common.
Taxis come in the form of motorbikes, tuk-tuks, or carsm usually found near the Burmese Market and outside Tesco (drivers sit around with special licensed number jackets). Obviously, prices depend on distance and passengers, but as a rough guide, 50-100 baht will get you to most places around the town. Oddly enough, Taxi cars are often the cheapest form of transport.
Here is a user friendly map of town where most things are located.
- Chinese temples: Mae Sot has a large Chinese Thai population. There are beautiful Chinese temples right after the police station near Krua Canadian that are worth a visit. Stunning, well kept temples that host a wonderful Vegetarian Festival every year in October. If you are lucky to join, the food is based on donation and a great way to see the diverse culture of Mae Sot.
- Visit the dam at sunset: The dam at Hua Fai is one of the best places to watch the sunset, walk, have a beer, and to eat dinner in the evening. It gives you a beautiful view of Mae Sot and the Myanmar mountain ranges.
- Abandoned Hotel at sunset: On the way from the Friendship bridge, there is an abandoned hotel on the left right before the new highway and second bridge. If you walk up the stairs, you will get the best sunset view and view of Mae Sot in the area. Bring a beer and flashlight and maybe some art materials and enjoy. This is the gem of Mae Sot.
- Gibbon Sanctuary, (take the light blue songthaew #48 from the main road for an hour and a half; ring the bell to disembark at km41.5.). While many other animals reside here, the gibbon sanctuary houses dozens of rescued gibbons, of the great ape group, who are often adopted as pets and then neglected by their owners when they reach adulthood. These fascinating creatures speak to you as you walk among their pens and hand feed them ripe fruit. Don't forget bags of ripe fruit. edit
- Mae Kasa Hot Springs, (at km13-14). Legend has it the Mae Kasa Hot Springs are hot enough to boil an egg. There's a nice walk you can take around the area and it's a great place to have a picnic. edit
- Myawaddy, (Myawaddy is in Myanmar and is accessed via the border bridge for a small fee, with passport). It is possible to travel inland into Burma from here since border was opened for regular xrossing in August 2013. It is possible to continue travelling from Myawady to Rangoon by direct bus, so this is the easiest way to cross into Burma from Thailand without buying air ticket. edit
- Phra Charoen Waterfall, (40 km from Mae Sot). Accessible by car or motorbike. There is a well-beaten trail alongside its 97 steps, providing a beautiful stroll through the jungle. Bring a picnic with you and be prepared to get wet. The ascent up the 97 steps is often closed during rainy season. edit
- Reclining Buddha and Buddha Foot. On your way to the border, look toward your right for a beautiful Buddhist temple which contains a giant reclining Buddha. Continue straight on and find the Buddha's footprint. edit
- Rim Moei Border Market. Well worth a visit for a whole range of locally made and Chinese & Burmese imports, including counterfeit Viagra, 'knocked off' cigarettes, whisky and designer goods, plus gems and plants. edit
- Swimming pools. Delightful one in a private house in the Mae Sot Villas (follow the signs), plus a gym and pool at Centara Hotel (Asian Hwy). edit
- Tararak Waterfall, (26 km south of Mae Sot). Tararak is part of the Ti Lor Su waterfall group and like its cousin Phra Charoen contains a nice walking trail and plenty of places to picnic. You also can go swimming in the pond as well. edit
- Temples. Many and varied, some Thai and some Burmese style. Try to get to the one down towards the border (last main road on the right): a reclining Buddha and other delights. edit
- Town markets. The vibrant Burmese Market in the centre of town 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 pork, chicken, beef and lamb are also sold. There are numerous gem and jade shops: buyers should be able to identify genuine and fake gems. A small indoor market is held mornings and evenings at Baan Nua, on the way towards Mae Sot villas, with fresh vegetables, meat and cooked take-away meals on sale. edit
- Pha Wo Shrine, Asian Highway. The shrine is on the left approx 15 kms from Maesot on Asian Highway while driving towards Tak. A few kilometres after the Magic Hill. Easy to notice as all the cars and trucks driving by will honk while driving pass this place. edit
- Cooking Class: You have 2 excellent options for cooking classes: Burmese and Thai in Mae Sot. You can request Thai cooking classes from Tai from Mai Tai. Or you can organize a class with Borderline Tea Shop for Burmese cooking. The Borderline class can be organized via facebook. The class can be half or full day and allows you to also get a view of the Burmese market. The price is well worth it as you make way more food than you can consume. It is preferable that you complete this class in groups. At the end of the Borderline cooking class, you get a cookbook of the finest Myanmar recipes.
- Visit the political prisoner museum: Mae Sot hosted many political prisoners from Myanmar over the last few decades. In honor of those who suffered in jail fighting for democracy and those still living in jail, there is a recently remodeled museum in their honor where you can learn about political prisoners from Myanmar. Contact Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma to organize a visit to the museum in Mae Sot or in Yangon.
- Visit the art exhibitions in Borderline Tea Garden: There is almost always an art exhibition available for viewing in the upstairs of Borderline. Grab a coffee and then take a wander upstairs in a gallery that usually hosts local artists. Most art can also be purchased and for a good cause.
- Attend a Batik class: These are less frequent than they were in the past but if the right individuals are in town, you might get lucky to organize a class. The best people to talk to about arranging a workshop are at Borderline Tea garden. They organize classes when they are in demand.
- Visit the Saturday walking market: Located on the Chinese temple road from about 4pm-9pm only on Saturdays. This is a great place to try lots of different food as well as do a little thrift shopping. You will see very odd vendors (piercing vendors?) and sometimes they host live music.
- Wisdom Field: Rent a motorbike and drive to Wisdom Field in Mae Ramat. It will take around 45 minutes but you arrive at a great coffee shop with beautiful street art and scenery.
- Attend a Kick-Start Art event: Check if Kick Start is hosting one of their happy hours or auction events. These are a must-not miss in Mae Sot. They showcase the arts of the border and are one of the rare opportunities where the Thai, Burmese and foreign communities come together.
- Play football: There are 2 major fields: NFC and We R Soccer (near the old bus station) Mae Sot is host to hundreds of football teams (soccer). The boy teams are a bit harder to join but maybe if you ask around you could get lucky! But there is a team called Bordergirls that plays on Wednesdays and Sundays and hosts a mixture of local and foreign players of all skill levels. They usually play from 7-8pm at one of these fields. Join their facebook group for more information.
- Muay Thai: There are an array of muay thai boxing gyms in Mae Sot. There is an excellent open air muay thai place called Sak Gumpun Gym open all day everyday except Friday located near Mae Sot villa. You can walk in and join any day you would like! The boxers range from young to old, foreign to local, male and female. The owners speak good English and are incredibly welcoming.
- Run The paddy fields around the city especially near the Hua Fai dam are especially beautiful places to run in the morning. Also, Mae Sot is hosting more and more runs over the year. Check running websites online for more info or ask around. The hospital and local NGOs organize runs throughout the year.
- Gecko Garden Yoga Studio, ☎ +66 87 7324019. Daily, 18:00-19:00,. Yoga in a peaceful setting. Mat provided. Regular classes Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Advanced classes Tuesday & Thursday. 100 baht per class. edit
- 2Wheels Bike Rental, ☎ +66 87 2001495. Explore the scenic surroundings of Mae Sot on bicycle. Fully loaded Trek 3900 with disc brakes. 216, 218 and 220 inch available. 100 baht/day, 50 baht/half day. edit
- Wat Mani Herbal Sauna, (on the east side of town, near Tesco Lotus. If you walk on the northern main road (in an easterly 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.). Open afternoons. Bring your own towel and water bottle. Women should wear a sarong or loose wrap. There's a separate section for men and women. The steam room is tiny, but this gives a good opportunity to mix with locals. GPS-coordinates: N 16° 43.019 E 98° 34.455 20 baht. edit
- Thai Rent a Car (Thai Rent a Car Mae Sot), moo-2 Tha Sai Luat (Mae Sot Airport), ☎ 09 90 600 500, . 09:30-18:30. Rent a vehicle to get around town or drive to places in outskirts of main city like - Shrine of Pha Wo - Pha Charoen waterfall (33 kms from city towards Phob Phra) - Mae Kasa Hot Springs - Hua Fai Reservoir etc edit
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. It is also a fantastic place to buy great fresh, often live, food.
- There are many gem stone and jewelery shops, with most of the trade being for wholesale. 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. **Note: This market is problematic as most stones come from a deadly gem and jade market in Myanmar. There is no such thing as a "conflict free" stone from Myanmar thus you should do some research about Kachin State and this market before purchasing.
- For locally made ethnic handicrafts (Fair Trade/Social Enterprise) goods try the WEAVE, Borderline shops, or Daser 23. You can also find a small selection of goods being sold at Picturebook Guesthouse. Borderline also has a local artists gallery and a coffee shop and free Wi-Fi out the back.
- There are a couple of trekking/tour companies in Mae Sot offering jungle trips, elephant rides (if you have to) and white water rafting. SP Kitchen on Asia Highway is one option, Bai Fern in the centre on Inthrakiree Road is another. Some routes are seasonal and cannot be accessed during the height of the rainy season in May-Oct.
- Buy locally sourced coffee at Youth Connect, Picturebook Guesthouse or Borderline Tea Garden.
Mae Sot is catering for tourists, NGO workers, business visitors and local residents. Most of the places below have English-speaking staff.
- Mai Tai The location has changed to Intarakiree Road across from Casa 248. Very unique Thai restaurant. Tai cooks Northern food and Southern curries as well as the local Thai favorites. She is known for her famous aubergine that you cannot get in many places in Thailand. She has excellent vegetarian options.
- Borderline Tea Garden, inharakiree, right after the traffic police where the road splits. great food, burmese, vegetarian, slads, shakes, breakfasts, sells take-away bread, peanut butter, cashew butter, snacks, coffee, and eco-friendly products... beautiful garden very good. edit
- Luckys Tea Shop: Located in the Burmese market. This is one of the best places for breakfast in town. Go before 9 AM so you can get naan and chickpeas in time. However, they have an assortment of fried snacks, Burmese tea, and other Burmese tea shop favorites.
- Shan Tofu: Located in the Burmese market on one of the small streets near the Japanese consignment shop just past Honglong. This shop is also best before 9 AM. You can get Shan khao swe, tofu nwe, and tofu kyaw in true Shan fashion. Cheap, delicious and authentic. You can see this is where a lot of local NGO workers like to go.
- Krua Canadian Cafe, (centre of Mae Sot, opposite the police station on the western route of Inthrakiree Rd). 08:00-. European, Mexican and Thai menu. Great (and only) place for brunch. The owner is very nice and kind, always offer help to foreigners. Reasonable price with good quality of food. Sells take-away bread. Free Wi-Fi. edit
- Bai Fern Restaurant is located on Intarakiree Road in between Border Booze and Mestizos. They host all Thai and Western dishes.
- Bismillah is located on the first right turn after Canadian Daves (the road that goes the wrong way) and offers Indian food and naan at night.
- The Passport Restaurant, 507 Moo 10, Maepa, Mae Sot (Look for signs on Asia Highway between Tesco Lotus and the road to Mae Ramat), ☎ +66 85 725 7527 ([email protected]). starting at 6:30pm on F Sa nights. Please call for reservation.. Vocational restaurant run by the Hospitality and Catering Training Centre, an NGO offering a hospitality training program to under-privileged children of the Tak-Myanmar border. As part of their studies for the Certificate of Hospitality and Tourism, students are required to master basic cooking and service techniques. In order to enable this, they have opened a casual dining venue opened to the public 3 nights per week. Great cocktails and the most extensive wine list in Mae Sot; Foreign and Thai cuisine served. Price Range 240 B to 295B * Famous Rays and Braverly: If you are craving Western burger joint favorites or Western style coffee shops, this place is for you. * TeeNee Mae Sot: is located on Bar Street near Robinsons. They have excellent Thai food and a great attached cafe. * <eat name="Casa Mia" alt="" address="" directions="west side of Intharakiree Rd, a bit east of the merge at the traffic police" phone="087-204-4701" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">Thai, Burmese, Italian and Western food. Friendly, English-speaking staff, with home made bread, pasta and cakes. Try the Banoffe Pie for dessert. 240B to 295B. edit
- Opposite T Corner (Fishtank, due to its location next to an aquarium shop). Good Thai food. Don't be put off by the décor and TV soaps as the food is all freshly cooked in front of you by a chef recently returned from a top Bangkok hotel. edit
- Coffee Corner, (at DK Plaza opposite DK Hotel on Intharakiree Rd). Thai, Burmese and Western food. Comfortable with friendly staff and Poo, the owner, speaks English. The food is reasonably priced with good service. edit
- Yellow Green Coffee Shop, 599/1 Inthrakiree Rd (west-bound, before Irawadee Resort). Owned by a husband & wife, who bake daily. Free Wi-Fi and has a nice balcony on the 2nd floor. edit
- There are many restaurants and good street food sellers in Mae Sot. These regularly change every few months.
- A bit past the mosque, the road splits. Left takes you to the hospital, but on the right fork there is a wonderful fried chicken take-away look for a sign Sharifa fried chicken. 35-45 bhat per quarter, depending on white or dark meat. Often times a line forms after 5pm. Easily the best fried chicken in Asia.
- Night Market is terrific for late diners as the open air shops stay open quite late. All Thai food with English menus.
- Chao Sua. Located at the next intersection abt 500 meters from Centara Maesot hill hotel (next to the now defucnt, old mazda showroom), this place is a famous with the locals. edit
- My Maesot Restaurant. On the 'strip' located on the restaurant side of the road. It serves Thai food and grill yourself BBQ hot plate. Very popular at lunch time with Thais. edit
- Mae Sot is host to a growing variety of coffee shops. Some of the finest coffee shops at Indy, Baan Phim, Coffee Dezign, Aunties if you miss soy lattes, Braverly if you need a Chai latte, This is a Book which is near the Myawaddy Complex, Wisdom Field near Mae Ramat and Rocha Cafe which is a 45 minute drive (SO WORTH IT!) on the Pho Phra road.
- Mestizo Located next to Bai Fern. The bartender also serves as a DJ; great music selection and she happily takes requests. Nice outdoor area and indoor area as well. Full bar and beers.
- Border Booze: Connected to Bai Fern restaurant. They have standard cocktails and beer and have a small aircon room where you can dance.
- Casa 248 Located across from Mai Tai. It is a massive bar. They serve a variety of cocktails and show movies and football on their big screen.
- 360 Located on the road to Tak. This bar is great for a sunset beer. It is a 15 minute drive outside Mae Sot up the hill towards Tak and has large Marvel superheroes in the front. You cannot miss it.
- Son of a Beach: Located next to Border Booze and across from Sleepnest. Where Chiang Mai meets Mae Sot. This bar does not look like it fits in Mae Sot as the decor is very modern and hip. They serve cocktails and beer and offer a change from the regular spots.
- Y2K A local Thai night club. Admission is 70 baht, with a free small Leo beer. The interior is "table style" where everyone has their own group and table (few dance outside of their own table). On Friday and Saturday nights host a large number of ladyboys with live music.
Another great spot to drink is at the night market. The restaurants toward the back have plenty of tables and serve tall beers.
There is a strong but small ex-pat community in Mae Sot that frequent the bars every night.
Lusy's Home Guest House (Mae Sot, Thailand)
- Picturebook Guest House, 125/4-6 Soi 19 Intharakiri Rd, ☎ +66 90 4596990, . A non-profit guest house run by a local organization that works in vocational training. Its design is unique and detailed, and the rooms are clean and comfortable. Described on their website as "boutique on a budget", it contains a secluded garden with a horseshoe recreation area and a beer-drinking table. Breakfast, air-con, hot water showers in all rooms. Yoga classes offered during the week (100 bhat donation per class) and bike rentals available (100 bhat per day). This is a beautiful hostel and rooms fill quickly so reserve ahead of time. Ground floor rooms 500 baht and balcony rooms 700 baht a night. edit
- Ban Thai Guesthouse is great for a luxurious, long-term stay. You will need to talk to the owners or call to book a room or bungalow.
- Auntie's B&B, (Intharakiri Rd), . A tiny, friendly, and comfortable bed & breakfast that will make you feel like home when staying here. They also have a good selection on their menu with a big breakfast, excellent coffee, a selection of teas and delicious yoghurt smoothies. edit
- DK Guest House. A well-used tourist hang out with mostly older NGO people, missionaries, and the like. Tiled big double rooms with air-con, Western-style toilet (hot water), cable TV, and a balcony; fan double rooms (cold water) are cheaper. Don't get the rooms at either end, next to the road or at the opposite end, as the noise can be a bit much from chickens and cars very early in the morning. The staff are nice; Internet is available in the lobby, as well as free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Cable TV includes BBC, Al Jazeera, MTV, Thai, Burmese and Chinese channels. 250-400 baht. edit
- Irawadee Resort, 758/1-2 Intharakiri Rd (west-bound). Hotel decor is of old classic Thai-Myanmar style. You will find nice, clean and well-maintained rooms making you feel like you're staying in a real hotel, not only overnight sleep room. Free Wi-Fi and breakfast included in the room rate. Opposite and surrounding it are several restaurants and coffee shops: Bor-Kung Phao (dinner only, with seafood caught from Myanmar), Krua Kon Wan (lunch & dinner Thai-style food), Som Tam shop, Chansuda Shop (Thai traditional desserts and snacks), Yellow Green Coffee Shop (coffee, tea and baked goods), T Corner (coffee and some food). 850-1,250 baht. edit
- Lusy's Home Guest House, (GPS-coordinates: N 16° 43.012 E 98° 33.882). TV, hot shower, fan and a water bottle. 200 baht. edit
All in all, Mae Sot is a rather quiet, growing city. However, Mae Sot is a city like any other city. It is also a border town, rich in trade. Everyone should travel with someone else late at night to avoid any risk when riding bicycle, walking or driving motorbike. There have been a variety of reported incidents that have affected the foreign, Burmese and Thai communities (female and male).
Drunk driving is common so be sure to wear a helmet even in the evenings. Police often set up checkpoints at night to check for helmets and drunk drivers.
- Buses to Bangkok depart in the early morning between 7 and 9 AM and again in the evening between 8 and 10 PM. Most buses take 7-9 Hours costing between 300 and 600 Baht depending on the class.
- In addition to the Mae Sot to Mo Chit-Bangkok route), buses also travel directly to Mae Sai, via Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Departure times from Mae Sot are 06:00 and 08:00 from the main bus terminal. Tickets can usually be purchased without problems at the station on the morning of departure. Ask your guest house to arrange an early morning tun-tuk to the station. The ticket booth opens at 05:30. The Green Bus (direct route to Chiang Mai) has moved its ticket office to a building on the Asia Highway just to the west of 105 North.
There are two classes of buses, but both are very clean and spacious and also include a free or 10 baht lunch voucher. Total travel time to Chiang Mai is about 6 hours; Chiang Rai, 9 hours. Tickets are 250/350 baht and 350/500 baht, 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).
You can also get a minibus from Mae Sot bus terminal(near Airport) to Tak (every hour, takes 1,5 hrs, 80B) and from there a bus to Chiang Mai(a few times a day, takes 4-5 hrs, 180-250B). For connections ask at Mae Sot bus terminal(April 2016)
The Laem Ngop bus travels south towards Bangkok, veering east before entering the city, and then travelling along the coast via Chonburi and Rayong. The travel time from Mae Sot to the ferry departure point for Ko Chang is around 16 hours and the ticket costs 750 baht.
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 Guest house. The trip to Tak takes around 1.5 hr and costs 78 baht.
- To enter into Myanmar, the border is about 10km west of Mae Sot. Catch a taxi or a shared pick-up, or hitchhike on the main road. Thanks to the new road on the Burmese side, as of March 2015 traffic goes in both directions everyday. Once you cross the Bridge into Myanamar you are in the town of Myawaddy.