Far east on the Thailand-Burma’s border, this few worlds describe Mae Sot: different peoples, different globalized humanity, smugglers, brothels, markets of all kind, some NGOs volunteers.
I still remember when as a newbie I arrived in town, was August, was 2000, still looking for some wasted love. Is a long story.
At that time there was in Mae Sot no Tesco Lotas nor cheap hotels, just some dirty guest house.
After 8 hours bus ride, nothing but just her address in my pocket, nothing around me, just an empty bus station.
I looked behind me in that station in Mae Sot and I said to myself ”this is the end of this world as I know”.
Mae Sot is a really far east town in the Tak Province, on Moei River.
The other side of Moei River is Myawaddy, a small town in Burma.
Mae Sot is accessible via Highway 105, which is also the theoretic Asian Highway Network AH1.
The road, quite boring by bus, became spectacular especially after Tak, trough nice mountains, specially the last kilometer before enter in Mae Sot.
Basically Mae Sot is one of the most important gateways to Burma, the Friendship Bridge crossing the Moei River was constructed in 1997 completing the link between the two countries.
Regretfully foreigners are not admitted, in Burma, after Myawaddy.
As a gateway city, Mae Sot has its own domestic airport and its own huge border market: the Moei Market.
Trade with Burma, tourism, and sales of local handicraft are a major part of the local economy. The town is visited by tourists, especially those crossing the border to Burma to get Thai visa extension or going north.
There is in Mae Sot a substantial underground and volunteer economy due to large number of Burmese people who come here seeking safety from their own military government.
A large number of westerners come to Mae Sot, and visit the nearby refugee camps and sometimes work with Burmese exiles.
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