Mae Sot, the Myanmar market town

The road along the Thai-Myanmar border is stunning. Endless curves, beautiful scenery and not a lot of traffic. The driver that picked us up in a Chevy pickup hardly takes the foot of the gas. All we hear is 8 cylinders humming while we accelerate uphill in this 3 ton vehicle. Curve after curve in this rollercoaster at well above 30 degrees. It doesnt take too long to feel sick. We reach Mae Sariang in record time and explore the small town. We don’t find a place to stay and continue further, meeting locals and ending up in front of a Karen house with the owner speaking perfect English. He arranges for us to stay at a relatives house, by ourselves, as they have to leave later that night after showing us the house, meeting the neighbours (arranging breakfast with them) and cooking a nice dinner. Great people. I really enjoyed the chat with the guys, having a translator is a great luxury! They say “Different language, same smile!” and I’m humbled. Soon after it’s time for my favourite quote of the night: “Work hard, eat hard”, and we did 🙂

Next morning we hike for long till a pickup full of school girls picks us up to drive into an even remoter area. We stop twice as everybody got sick on these curvy roads. At the English camp close to a National park in the middle of nowhere we continue on our own for a while until a family picks us up and we get sit inside in air condition while the women and the son are out in the back. Three hours later arrival in the fairly big city of Mae Sot. Lot’s of people from Myanmar. They come to trade, to work and are easy to spot with their golden coloured cheeks. A huge bazar, we get a room in a guest house and enjoy street food. In the evening we stop by a fantastic burmese restaurant where we have food we never saw before. Dishes are around 2 EUR but the tea leave salad is memorable. We agree we’d love to go see Myanmar. In fact many travellers in Mae Sot come to go to Myanmar, but the one day visa allows merely to enter the next city and come back after 24h. Therefore it’s a popular destination for visa-runners, people that run out on their Thai visa leave the country and come back the next day with a fresh stamp.

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