Mae Sot

Mae Sot (แม่สอด) is in Tak Province, Thailand at an elevation of around 210 m. It is (to become) the main gateway by land between Thailand and Myanmar due to the Trilateral Highway aka Asian Superhighway between Moreh, India and Mae Sot, passing by Mandalay (still under construction as of 2016).

Get in

By road

Be aware that there are two bus stations in Mae Sot,   the city bus station right south of the market with lower frequency and   the western bus station, the main hub. From the western bus station there are motor bikes and tuk tuk taxis. It is best to have a map and your destination on it. The typical fare for a shared ride into town and guest houses is not more than 20 baht - negotiate prior to embarking. For direct taxis the fare can be between 50 and 100 baht. Or you can just walk the 2.5 km.

Tak

Access from Tak is 86 km along Hwy 105 via Doi Musoe (870 m) and Doi Son (784 m). Tak is on the regular bus route between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

Frequent mini buses connect Mae Sot directly with Tak bus station, starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending around 7 p.m., and should depart every 30 minutes from the southern end of Burmese market. 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 approximately 78 baht/person. The surcharge for putting a bicycle on the roof rack is 50 baht.

Bangkok

The travel time between Mae Sot and Bangkok is about 7-8 hours. There are buses in the early morning and late evening (8/9/10 p.m.) from Mo Chit Bus Station in Bangkok - but arrive at least 2 hours before your intended journey if have not booked ahead. A single ticket for the VIP buses cost approximately 613 baht per person. Try to get a spot on the top level of the VIP bus away from the toilets at the bottom level. There are also cheaper 1st (which are totally fine) and 2nd class buses, 382 baht and 306 baht respectively. Towards Bangkok the buses leave Mae Sot early in the morning and throughout the evening (6/7/8/9 p.m.).

From Bangkok you will most likely arrive at the western bus station, but you can try to get off when the bus passes the city center. Most buses from the city bus station towards Bangkok will also stop at the western bus station.

Chiang Mai

Green Buses from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot depart daily at 11:45 (2nd class) and 13:10 (1st class).

Myanmar

You can walk across the   friendship bridge directly from Myawaddy to Mae Sot. The bridge is 700 meters long so the walk takes 10 minutes or so, but is completely exposed to the elements (no shelter/shade). You pass through immigration on the Burmese side, then again to enter Thailand where free visa-on-arrival (valid for 30 days) is available for many nationalities. Both sides of the bridge have 'foreigner' booths which generally provide a fast service versus the crowds of locals crossing back and forth.

Buses leave twice daily from Yangon to Myawaddy directly, morning and evening, with several different companies to choose from. MYK9,000-15,000, often including transfer from Yangon city to the appropriate bus terminal. Buses (MYK5,000) and various shared taxis (MYK10,000) also go directly from Hpa-An and Mawlamyine throughout the day. Nobody wants to buy Myanmar Kyat in Thailand, so best to change or spend all your Kyat before you cross the border into Thailand.

Once arriving on the Thai side, you can catch a Songthaew to town for 20 baht, motorcycle taxi for 60 baht or attempt to hitchhike, which is generally fairly easy as all traffic is passing alongside Mae Sot, and often includes large pickups and trucks.

By air

Get around

Getting around town is best achieved by foot. If you are planning to explore the surrounding area, bicycles and motorbikes can be rented at many guest houses for approximately 50 and 150 baht per day respectively. A helmet is supplied as the police fine people not wearing one. 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 very careful as driving in Thailand can at best be described as unconventional and at worst, downright dangerous.

Taxis come in the form of motorbike or tuk-tuk, usually found near the Burmese market and outside Tesco. The drivers have special license number jackets. Obviously, prices depend on distance, number of passengers and your negotiation skills, but as a rough guide, 50-100 baht will get you to most places around the town.

See

Chedi of Wat Chumphon Khiri

In the city

Around the city (sorted by distance)

Songthaews travel frequently north (Hwy 105) and south (Hwy 1090) in case you don't wanna rent a scooter or bicycle. They leave from the market or you can flag them down on route, but beware they are bone shakers and sometimes very full.

Do

Buy

Gemstones in a shop in Mae Sot

Eat

Your best bid would be to walk around and choose the place that looks most promising.

Drink

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Upmarket

Go next

Remember, there are two bus stations in Mae Sot, so be sure you know which station your bus departs from.

Around Mae Sot

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 1.5 hours and costs 78 baht.

Songthaews travel frequently to Mae Sariang (north) and Umphang (south). They leave from the market or you can flag them down on route, but beware they are bone shakers and sometimes very full.

Further east of Umphang lies Khlong Lan National Park. The park covers around 300 sq km with its highest point at 1440-m-high Khun Klong Lan. Wildlife includes sambar deer, wild pig and macaques. There are also a number of waterfalls, including the Khlong Lan Waterfall which cascades over a 100-m-high rock face. The Khlong Nam Lai Waterfall is good for swimming.

North

In addition to the Mae Sot to Mo Chit (Bangkok) route, buses also travel directly to 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 and are 250-350 baht or 350-500 baht, respectively, depending on the service class. Ask your guesthouse to arrange an early morning tuk-tuk to the station. The ticket booth opens at 05:30. The Green Bus, direct to Chiang Mai, has moved its ticket office to a building on the Asia Hwy just to the west of Hwy 105 North. Total travel time to Chiang Mai is about 6 hours and Chiang Rai about 9 hours.

Along the Myanmar border Mae Hong Son is another destination north of Mae Sot.

South

One bus line serves Laem Ngop, (Ko Chang), and Mukdahan daily. The company that runs this service is Phetprasert. 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 journey time is 12-14 hours.

East

Famous for its ruins is the ancient city Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 170 km away from Mae Sot. Minibuses run regularly from the bus station in the city south of the market. The journey takes about 3 hours, passing through Tak on the way. The price is about 130 baht.

Myanmar

Songthaews to the friendship bridge leave frequently from the far side of the Burmese market. Locals should be able to point you in the right direction. They depart throughout the day, but only when full, so wait times may be up to an hour. Best to go fairly early morning, when the locals do. THB20 per person, and be prepared to squeeze in. Motorcycle taxis will run the route for THB60.

Be aware that there is no visa on arrival available in Myanmar, so you will need to have obtained a visa previously. After passing through customs in Thailand, you can walk across the bridge (10-15 mins) and stroll into customs on the Myanmar side. Both customs offices have booths for foreigners, speeding up the process. From Myawaddy it is easy to catch onward transport into Myanmar (Hpa-An and Mawlamyine), though generally easier earlier in the morning - the border opens at 6 a.m..

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.