Mae Sot Travel Blog

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There are seven sawngthaews a day between Mae Sariang and Mae Sot, hourly from half six to half twelve. Naturally I got the half twelve and spent six hours on board, my arse getting more numb with every passing mile. On most buses in Thailand there's a rest break every couple of hours but sawngthaews just go straight through. For some reason the bit of bench I was sitting on wasn't padded, or not as much as the rest of the bench. Sat, shared my bag of tamarinds with the Thais on the sawngthaew - as ever, I was the only farang.

For some reason I had to change sawngthaew part-way. No idea why, but it had the effect that when we actually arrived in Mae Sot I was far from convinced that I was even in the right town. Took me a good half-hour, wandering around in the warm dusk, before I got my bearings.

The first place I went to for a room - highly recommended to me by R and S - was full, so I went next door. They had no rooms left, only a dorm: a mattress on a floor under a mosquito net in a room through which you needed to walk to get to the private rooms. Nice. I was the only occupant, and it cost me fifty Baht - the cheapest bed I had in Thailand.

Went out to explore Mae Sot. It was a bit of a shithole. It was the first time in Asia that someone had come up to me on the street and asked me for money. (Wouldn't be the last, though.) It was grim and grotty and did nothing to endear itself to me.

I liked the place more by daylight, though - just as functional, but not as unpleasant. Looked around the market, which was interesting as markets go, especially for its food produce. Live frogs and eels and turtles and fish. At the other end of the consumer spectrum I found a branch of Tesco, and went in to see what a Thai Tesco is like. It's exactly the same as a British Tesco, to no-one's surprise.

Returned to my guest house and transferred my stuff to a vacated bedroom. Went to a tourist restaurant and splurged on pizza and chips - I was starving. (Not that I usually ate western food in Thailand, but a change is as good as a rest.) Opened my book, a Stephen King that I'd bought in Bangkok and spent the rest of the day reading that. Hour after hour, too engrossed even to have any dinner. I couldn't put it down.

Left Mae Sot, the next day. But first, a trip to Burma...
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Mae Sot
photo by: orcio81