Mae Sai Journals

More North Thailand; Mae Sai

A November 2002 trip to Mae Sai by markiemark

Chiang Saen Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand More Photos
Quote: The northernmost town in Thailand, Mae Sai is on the border with Myanmar and is very busy with traders and tourists alike. The surrounding area is green and mountainous with many places of interest only a 1- or 2-hour drive away.

More North Thailand; Mae Sai

Overview

Quote:
Following my earlier experience in Mae Sot, I was hoping to savour a little Burmese atmosphere in Mae Sai also. Unfortunately, there is none! Any influence here is Chinese rather than Burmese! It's a very busy, wealthy town of businessmen and traders; a constant stream of them filter across the border to and from Myanmar all day. Coachloads of Thai and Chinese tourists flood into town, particularly at weekends to wander the drapery, gold, gemstone and electronic goods stores. One thing Mae Sai has that kept me happy during three days of rain are the markets. Great food, particularly from the stalls lined up along the main street in the evenings. I also came to Mae Sai in order to nip acr...Read More

Chiang Saen

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Attraction

Chiang Saen Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand
Quote:
About 60km from Mae Sai, Chiang Saen sits on the banks of the Mekong River opposite Than Phuak, Laos and is an important river port for goods to and from China. When I visited Chiang Saen on a day-trip from Mae Sai, the jetty area was very busy with lorries queuing up to be unloaded onto awaiting Chinese barges. However, I'd come to see some of the many ruins of the 12th-14th-century Chiang Saen kingdom scattered around this small town. The visitor centre, at the entrance to the town, has a small exhibition hall with pictures of the excavation and restoration work, and a relief map of the area showing the ruin sites. Opposite is the Chaing Saen National Museum (entry 30B) with displays of various...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 25, 2002

Chiang Saen
Chiang Saen
Mae Sai, Thailand

Doi Wao & Wat Thamphajoen

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Attraction | "Doi Wao & Wat Thamphajoen "

Doi Wao & Wat Thamphajoen Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand
Quote:
One of the attractions of Mae Sai is the Doi Wao Temple. Souvenir stalls line the road up to it and then you have 205 steps to climb. At the top, the centrepiece of the temple is the huge crab/scorpion statue and, like Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, you get nice views over the surrounding countryside. Looking to the west, you'll see a nice, gleaming white building which is the marble Thamphajoen Temple nestled at the bottom of a hill. Steps leading up the hill led me to believe I could get to the top and experience even better views. A half hour slog up a dirt track did indeed get me to the top and to a Thai Army post! A very nervous Thai Army post, at that! They hustled me sweating and breathless back ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 25, 2002

Doi Wao & Wat Thamphajoen
Mae Sai
Mae Sai, Thailand

Doi Tung

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Attraction

Doi Tung Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand
Quote:
About 20km south of Mae Sai, a well-signposted turn-off meanders westward up Tung Mountain. This is the highest point in the area at around 1,800m above sea-level and is home to a number of hill tribe villages' royal projects. These projects encompass numerous plant nurseries, a zoo, and the villa of the late king's mother who died in 1995. Getting up the mountain independently of a tour is not so easy. There are songthaews waiting at the turn-off which will charge a very steep (like the hill) 300B to the top. If you wait for others, you might only got villagers going part of the way and you'll have to pay the rest of the way to the top. I chose to try hitching and it was very easy for the first part ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 25, 2002

Doi Tung
Mae Sai
Mae Sai, Thailand

Mae Sai caves; Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand
Quote:
A few kilometres south of Mae Sai is the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park which contains a number of caves, the showpiece being Tham Luang--"Big Cave." Getting to this park is not easy as the signs from the main road are either partly hidden or in the wrong place! At both the 6km and 8km mark from Mae Sai on Route 1, there are small signs pointing west to Tham Luang. I walked in from the 8km marker under a big arch proclaiming "Mae Sai Garden City." I saw no signs in English, Thai, or Swahili after that, despite having to take various turnings, the first of which was just 50m from the arch at a roundabout! By continually asking the locals the way, I eventually made the 3km or so to the park--right a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 25, 2002

Mae Sai caves; Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park
Mae Sai
Mae Sai, Thailand

Mae Sai Photo, Mae Sai, Thailand
Quote:
When this border is open, it's a very easy and convenient way of getting a new, automatic, 30-day stay in Thailand if your previous one is about to expire. The Burmese authorities allow day visits for 250B or US$5. First, westerners must visit the Thai immigration office about 1km south of town for their exit stamp, then proceed to the border where you pay the Burmese immigration officer the fee and leave your passport with them, making sure to get a receipt for it. Tachilek is a slightly less affluent reflection of Mae Sai. There was little in this town that reminded me of the six weeks I'd spent in Myanmar earlier in the year. The roads are bad and dusty, and most of the men wear longgyi rather...Read More

About the Writer

markiemark

markiemark
london, United Kingdom