On the border with Burma in Mae Sot

Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2010

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Friday, January 22, 2010

After saying good bye to my good friend in Sukhothai I got on a short bus ride to Tak (Air con bus - 100 Bath) and from there I boarded a mini bus (actually quite a new, large minivan that can hold 12 or so people - 78 Bath) equipped with a F1 trained driver that covered the distance  to Mae Sot in 2 short hours at an average speed of 80 km/h. It was fun! High on adrenaline I was congratulating myself for skipping lunch that day.
As we got closer and closer to Mae Sot we got deeper and deeper into the mountains with some spectacular views  starting to show up and that would only get better as I will follow my way up north along the Burmese border in the following days.
Mae Sot is a small town on the border with troubled Burma (or The Union of Myanmar).There's a big refugee camp right next to the border on the Thai side where all the westerners you see in town actually do work for a multitude of NGOs. I was the only, or one of the very few tourist here and I can say it felt different. It seemed all the people here had a purpose, a schedule, they were showing up at the guesthouse tired every night after a day's work. Not my people! :). I felt alone and lazy, I took of after 2 nights in the search of my fellow laid back, "lost track of time" travelers.
Not a lot to see in Mae Sot, there are few things out of the town like some caves and waterfalls that are worth seeing, got to get on some 40+ Km rides though.
There is an awesome restaurant in town that has fantastic food and atmosphere - live music, art gallery with great paintings of one local artist, and the most amazing collection of Che Guevara pictures (they looked originals to me). The place is Aiya Restaurant, don't miss it if you find yourself in Mae Sot.
The main attraction though is the possibility to go to Myawaddi in Burma for a day trip. That was what I had in mind initially but then I found out that it was too expensive for what it was ($20 fee to cross the border) and most important I would have lost 5 days of visa in Thailand (at the time I had left 20 more days of my Thai visa, if I would go out of the country and get back I would be given only 15 days visa...) so I stayed on my ass and worked on my blog, for your reading pleasure :).
My next step, Mae Sot to Mae Sariang, is considered "off the beaten track" by Lonely Planet.
What I can say is that is definitely on the crazy, amazing, "got to do it" track!
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