Mae Sot

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Mae Sot is in Tak Province, Thailand. It has an elevation of around 210 m, and in 2010, a population of around 36,000.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

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 just 5 hours. Then you just cross the bridge by foot and you are in Thailand. From the bridge you can get a tuk tuk to Mae Sot city center (10 bath). They are just building a new road (there is no asphalt yet so is very dusty) from Mawlamyine to Myawaddy so you basically skip the old super winding road.

By air[edit]

Mae Sot Airport is about 2 km west of the edge of town, and just 1 km from the border.

Nok Air [8] operates three daily flights between Mae Sot and Bangkok.

Get around[edit]

Wat in Mae Sot (Thailand)

Getting around town is pretty simple by foot but if you are looking for other forms of transport, bicycles (approximately 50 baht per day) and motor bikes (approximately 150 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), on the left just past Mae Sot Hospital. You must wear a helmet (supplied) as the police do fine people (especially foreigners!). You have to leave your passport for bond and fill up with petrol when you return it. Cars and 4 wheel drives can be hired from several places around town (e.g. Well Driving, close to Casa Mia). Be careful as driving in Thailand can at best be described as unconventional and at worst, downright dangerous.

Taxis come in the form of motorbikes or tuk-tuks, usually found near the Burmese Market and outside Tesco (drivers sit around with special licenced 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.

Here[9] is a user friendly map of town where most things are located.

See[edit][add listing]

  • 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.  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

Do[edit][add listing]

  • 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
  • Puzzlebox art courses, [1]. The Puzzlebox offers courses in batik, ceramics, sandblasting and basic art. Professionals teach you basic techniques and you create your own original work. The course culminates in a product you can take home. Participate individually or schedule a group course. If you're new to the neighborhood, stop by on Sunday mornings for coffee and homemade treats! It's a wonderful place to socialize and to meet fellow travelers/expatriates.  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
  • Volunteering in a Karen family, [2]. The Centre for Children in Need offers short- or long-term volunteering in their project for abandoned Burmese children. Volunteers participate in the daily activities and household chores. You stay with the family and participate in their life. To disrupt the life of the children not too much, please stay at least 2 weeks and be respectful and open to a very different culture. Dada is an amazing cook, expect great Burmese food, fresh from scratch. You pay 350 baht per day, which includes a basic room, 3 meals plus use of bicycle..  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, [3]. 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

Buy[edit][add listing]

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 jewellery 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.
  • For locally made ethnic handicrafts (Fair Trade/Social Enterprise) goods try the WEAVE or Borderline shops, which are almost opposite each other, on Inthrakiree Road heading into town from the west. 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.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Mae Sot is catering for tourists, NGO workers, business visitors and local residents. Most of the places below have English-speaking staff.

  • Casa Mia, (left off Intharakiree Rd when east from the bus station at the west end of town), 087-204-4701. Thai, Burmese and Western food. Friendly, English-speaking staff, with home made bread, pasta and cakes.  edit
  • Casa Mia 2, (west side of Intharakiree Rd, a bit east of the merge at the traffic police), 087-204-4701. Thai, Burmese, Italian and Western food. Friendly, English-speaking staff, with home made bread, pasta and cakes. Try the Banoffe Pie for dessert.  edit
  • Pizzeria Angelo, (west side of Intharakiree Rd, a bit east of the merge at the traffic police). Run by a Taiwanese woman, with a French chef named Alex, the best pIzza in Maesot but a pleasanat selection of Pasta, Duck Steak, and nicer dishes. Alex makes batches of Manarinia, a sort of orange version of a limoncello. Always excellent  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 Bu, the owner, speaks English. The food is reasonably priced with good service.  edit
  • Hazel Cafe, (right-hand side of Intharakiree Rd, just before the police station). Sleek décor with delicious cakes, chocolates and excellent coffee. Air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.  edit
  • Krua Canadian Cafe, (centre of Mae Sot, opposite the police station on the western route of Inthrakiree Rd). 07:00-. European, Mexican and Thai menu. The owner is very nice and kind, always offer help to foreigners. Reasonable price with good quality of food. Sells take-away bread, wine and Thai coffee in gift bags. Now has a pub attached next door. Free Wi-Fi.  edit
  • Mai Thai. Pleasant place to eat and drink. Food is tasty but hygiene is questionable.  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
  • 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 (). starting at 6:30pm on Th F Sa nights. Please call for reservation.. Vocational restaurant run by the Hospitality & Catering Training Centre, an NGO offering a hospitality training programme 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; Western and Thai cuisine served: som tam spring rolls, tom yam goong, curries, dessert tray. All reasonably priced.  edit
  • SP Kitchen, (left side of the Asian Hwy heading towards the border with Burma.). Delicious Burmese, Thai and Western food.  edit
  • Wadee Restaurant, (up the road from Casa Mia). Delicious Burmese food, also some Thai dishes. Very friendly 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. Som tam on the street heading east from Tesco towards the temple, pad Thai on the left just before the traffic lights on the road towards Mae Sot Villas, fish on the right (also on the road to Mae Sot Villas, (just before the Gigahertz shop), Vietnamese on the left heading towards the bus station, fish opposite the junction to Casa Mia, Burmese chicken curry at Mandalay (second turning left after Mae Sot Hospital), a lovely atmospheric Thai diner just off the main road to Tak (turn right at the top of the first mountain) and the up-market place a couple of kilometres on the left on the road north towards Mae Ramat. However, good vegetarian food is limited: there is one good restaurant on the left hand side of the road heading out towards Mae Sot Villas (just before the traffic lights and close to the pad Thai place) and a small, very reasonably priced cafe off the main road leading towards Mae Sot Hospital. Incidentally, the turning left to this place is just after a good curry cafe opposite the main town mosque.
  • 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.
  • Two steak houses are on Asia Hwy. One is named "Cowboy & Indian" (Note: "Cowboy & Indian" burned down in January, 2015 but is being rebuilt). The other is a bit further east and has a bright yellow sign - called the Asia Steak House.
  • 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
  • borderline garden, inharakiree, right after the traffic police where the road splits. great food, burmese, vegetarian, slads, shakes, breakfasts... beautiful garden very good.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • EFCC (ExPPACT Foreign Correspondents Club), 206 Intarakhiri Rd (opposite Yamaha show room, near Tesco Lotus), [4]. Run by Burmese former political prisoners. ExPPACT is now defunct, but the club lives on. Set in a nice garden, this laid back place mainly attracts longer-term residents. Cocktails, Burmese snacks and weekly film screenings.  edit
  • Sweet Harmony Coffee Shop and Bakery 2/3 Sripanich Rd, Mae Sot, +66 55 544810 or +66 81 9711731. Pleasant atmosphere in a bustling downtown location with good snacks and drinks.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. Nights where there is a good Premiere League match, expect a good crowd at ExPPACT. Otherwise many frequent Bai Fern and Mestizo for drinks after.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lusy's Home Guest House (Mae Sot, Thailand)
  • Auntie's B&B, (Intharakiri Rd), [5]. 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
  • Baan Tung Guest House, +66 55 533277 (), [6]. A boutique style mid-range place to stay. Quiet location, close to the town, markets, eating places and en-route from the bus station. Large, clean and very comfortable en-suite (with hot water) double rooms with locally crafted furniture and seating area. Have a fridge, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. Enjoy fresh coffee on the balcony or terrace and obtain excellent information (places to see, places to eat, places to drink) from the Thai owner, Kung, or his friendly staff who speak Thai, English and Burmese. 350-500 baht.  edit
  • Center for Children in Need, (in Ban Nonq King Fa, close to KWO, Backpack, CDC, airport and bus terminal). Home stay in grass roots project. 1 room available with fan, shared bathroom, internet. Village has taxi, restaurants and shops. 25 min by bike to town centre. Supports the orphanage. Meals available. 100 baht.  edit
  • The Charm Hotel, 11/41 Intharakiri Rd, Mae Sot. (At entrance to Mae Sot Villa). checkin: any time; checkout: Noon. The Charm is next to Thong Udom Market and as you approach Mae Sot Villa, The Charm is located on your left immediately before the gated entrance to Mae Sot Villa. +66 91 152 7784, +66 97 936 2092 (English)" Best to contact before arriving. Singles: 500 Baht; Doubles: 700. All rooms are en suite with AC, cable TV, fridge, hot showers, WIFi internet service. Complementary drinking water. Conference rooms available. Rafting/kayaking trips available on local rivers. Airport/Bus terminal transportation available. Email: [email protected] / Facebook: The Charm Hotel  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
  • First Hotel. has invested its time and energy on its interior with wood carvings covering ceilings and bedposts, leaving the exterior to be remarkable only for their omission. Air-con rooms with double beds are available, as are other variations.  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
  • Picturebook Guest House, 125/4-6 Soi 19 Intharakiri Rd, +66 90 4596990, [7]. 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
  • Bai Fern, Intharakeeree Rd, Mae Sot (2 minutes walk from Borderline Shop/cafe.). checkout: 12:00pm. Clean and simple. Staff speaks good English. Free wifi. 150-350 baht as of March 2015. 150 baht single rooms with AC, 250 baht double room with fan. 350 bath double room with AC..  edit
  • Zee Guest Houst, (Over-looking market / bus station at corner of square closest to the canal.), 055-546700, 089-7089448. checkout: 12:00pm. The cheapest rooms have fan, shared bathroom, hot shower and no TV. Free wifi. 150-300 baht.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • 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.
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