Recently I had to take a trip to the Thai-Myanmar border, specifically the towns of Mae Sot and Myawaddy. Here is a quick write up for anyone needing to do the same!
The total travel time from Phetchabun to Mae Sot was about 7.5 hours. All in all not a bad trip, though some of the roads are in quite bad shape, which makes it tough to sleep. Also the last bit of road between Trat and Mae Sot is all in the mountains, so if you get motion sickness easily then best pack some medicine.
I arrived in Mae Sot at around 7:30 AM and immediately set out to try a Burmese breakfast. Prior to leaving I had watched the ‘Parts Unknown’ episode that focuses on Myanmar, and I decided I had to try and experience a Burmese teahouse. Finding one in Mae Sot proved to be very easy as the city has a large Burmese and Muslim population. I stopped into one that looked popular and ordered some naan, chickpea curry, roti, and a cup of tea. The food was absolutely delicious. If you’re ever in Myanmar, or near the border, I highly recommend having a meal at a teahouse.
Crossing into Myanmar, traditional Burmese tea shop breakfast.
Mae Sot has a large NGO/missionary population, which means there is an abundance of Western restaurants. I don’t get to eat food from home often, so I also took advantage of this. I had breakfast at a place called Krua Canadian – French toast (with real maple syrup!), eggs, bacon, and coffee – incredibly tasty and I highly recommend it!
After my two breakfasts it was time to head cross the border into Myawaddy, Myanmar. The process of crossing the border is simply enough. You get your exit stamp on the Thai side and then walk across to the Burmese side where you’ll pay 500 Baht for a stamp that allows you to stay in Myawaddy until 6 PM.
Looking over the Mekong at Myanmar.
The town of Myawaddy is really quite a bore. It’s a border town with a focus on business, so there really isn’t much to do for tourists. There is a temple or two, places to eat, and a market, but that’s about it. I walked around a bit, had a beer and some food, and was more than ready to get back home. This was of course after I stopped and picked up some Myanmar Beer to bring home (I’m on a mission to try all the beer in SEA). It’s a pretty okay brew, better than Thai beer but not on the same level as Beerlao.
Cold beer at 9 AM – a solid start to the day.
With my visa issue finally sorted I now had a couple hours in Mae Sot to kill before my bus left. I browsed the town a bit, but there isn’t much to do save for a few markets and shops. I ended up settling for coffee and then heading for lunch. I went to a place called Famous Ray’s, which touts itself as having the best burgers in Thailand. I honestly can’t disagree. I’ve had a few burgers and fries here, but Ray’s by far has been the best yet. They also have an incredible beer selection!
If you ever find yourself needing to make a quick border trip then Myawaddy/Mae Sot isn’t a bad choice. Easy transportation, good food, and cheap prices make it a solid place. However if it’s fun that you’re after I suggest looking elsewhere!