After leaving Chiang Mai, Jesse and I decided to break up the long trip back to Bangkok. We stopped about 6 hours south, in the westernmost city in Thailand – Mae Sot. Mae Sot is located on the Moei River, which is the official border between Thailand and neighboring Burma/Myanmar. It was a really interesting place to go. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since it’s a border town, but it was a really nice place to spend a few days.
The first day we were there, Jesse and I rented bicycles and rode to the Rim Moei Border Market, which is on the river bank. When we showed up, the market wasn’t as bustling as we expected, and had a strange vibe to it. So instead we grabbed some food and walked along the river. The Friendship Bridge connects Thailand with Burma, and there’s many people crossing it throughout the day. We ran into a friendly Burmese man, Myo, who walked with us down the riverbank and explained the situation of the Burmese in Thailand. The land between the river walkway and the actual river is technically “no man’s land”, and there were Burmese people selling goods behind barbed wire to those in Thailand. The border patrol can do nothing if refugees are standing in “no man’s land”.
Needless to say, Mae Sot had an interesting dynamic. We spent the rest of our days there riding bikes, getting incredible Thai massages, eating a wonderful mix of Burmese and Thai foods, and just relaxing before we got back to the big city.