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Guide to Mae Sot and How this ‘Little Burma” Town Captivated Our Hearts

Guide to Mae Sot and How this ‘Little Burma” Town Captivated Our Hearts

Mae Sot was one pleasant surprise for me. Similar to the many people who do flying trips to process their Thai visas, I arrived in this small Western city bordering Myanmar with business in mind, eager to help a long-time friend. 

It was my first time there and I was amazed at what I found! The city has become a melting pot—evident in the wide variety of delightful cuisines available.

Plus, there’s more to Mae Sot that would make a regular from Bangkok writhe in envy—hence this guide. Check out the super-cool places that turned my business trip to this border city Mae Sot into something I will remember for a lifetime. Read on.

Things to Know

Currency: Thai Baht
(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai (Central Thai), Burmese, Chinese, Karen

Calling Code: (+66)

Location: Mae Sot District, Tak 63110, Thailand

Nearest Airport: Mae Sot International Airport

Best Time to Visit Mae Sot

It’s best to visit Mae Sot from February to April to enjoy a mild, cool, and dry climate. This gives you the best chance to explore the sights and attractions in the city to your heart’s content.

Just know that the sun is usually hot around noon, so you might need to limit your exploration of Mae Sot to mornings, afternoons, and evenings.

How to Get to Mae Sot

Plane: Boarding a plane at Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (DMK) is the fastest way to get to Mae Sot. You can also book domestic flights at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) but most of the cheap domestic carriers are in DMK.

It only takes approximately 50 minutes to reach Mae Sot International Airport. 

Bus: Two bus carriers in Bangkok run the daily route to Mae Sot: Tara Tour & Travel and Sasanan Transport

You can find Tara Tour & Travel buses at the Khao San Road Bus Stop while Sasanan Transport buses are stationed at the Mochit Bus Terminal. Expect the bus ride to Mae Sot to run between 7 and 8 hours.

Private Taxi: Bangkok has many private taxis that can take you to Mae Sot any time of the day which makes this a more convenient option. However, private taxis are rather pricey and will get you to Mae Sot in approximately 7 hours.

Rental Car: Tourists with driver’s licenses and International Driving Permits can rent a car in Bangkok. Though the car rental is a bit cheaper than riding a cab, you have to drive to Mae Sot and account for gas prices.

From Bangkok, you must head north via the Udon Ratthaya Expressway, turn right to Highway 9, and turn left to Highway 32. Keep driving north until you reach Luang Pho O Junction, switch to Highway 1, and make your final turn at Highway 12.

This highway will take you straight to Mae Sot’s city center.

How to Get Around Mae Sot 

Rental Scooters/Motorbikes: Motorbikes and scooters are popular in Thailand so it’s also the best way to get around Mae Sot. It’s light and compact which is perfect even for traversing narrow streets.

You need a driver’s license and an International Driving Permit to use motor vehicles in Mae Sot but some rental companies might not ask for them. However, it’s best to have them so you don’t get in trouble at police checkpoints.

Bicycle: A bicycle is a good alternative if you don’t have a driver’s license and don’t mind the slower speed. It’s also cheaper, lighter to carry, and easier to park.

Tuk-tuks: Tuk-tuks are all over Mae Sot, so it’s the most accessible public transportation option for locals and tourists. These are quick and efficient since they can drop you off on narrow streets.

Where to Stay in Mae Sot

Hop Inn Mae Sot

Media from hopinnhotel

Address: 81/9 ถนนสายเอเชีย, Mae Sot, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 2 p.m. (Check-in), 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 2 659 2899


Prices: ฿

Staying at this budget-friendly chained-brand hotel is a no-brainer. For an affordable price, you get a functional room with all the basic amenities which also puts you at the heart of Mae Sot City.

That makes it the perfect strategic accommodation to make the most of your trip here. The rooms even have Juliet balconies which are great since they let you survey the city center from the comfort of your hotel room.

Pro Tip: 

They have plenty of options for complimentary breakfast offerings but you can still ask for seconds after you finish yours. You can score some if you’re lucky.

Centara Life Hotel Mae Sot

Media credit: centara_maesot

Address: 100 ถนนสายเอเซีย Tambon Mae Sot

Operating Hours: 3 p.m. (Check-in), 12 p.m.(Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 55 532 601


Prices: ฿฿

Centara Life Hotel Mae Sot is a chic upmarket hotel famous for its gorgeous garden and lakeside view. In fact, the view is particularly impressive if you book one of their upgraded suites.

Plus, this gives you a sizable living room with chairs, tables, and a workstation. That makes it ideal if you’re looking for the ultimate comfort.

The hotel also has an on-site cafe, charming terrace, poolside bar, fitness center, and two tennis courts. That gives you plenty of activities to do during your stay.

Pro Tip: 

Don’t forget to ask the lobby for the WiFi password. They don’t provide it from your room which may confuse some guests.

Irawadee Resort Hotel

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Address: 758 1-2 ถนนอินทรคีรี Mae Sot

Operating Hours: 12 p.m. (Check-out)

Contact Number: +66 55 535 430


Prices: ฿

This hotel is an excellent choice if you’re up for an exotic-looking room. It has intricate Thai-style carvings and decor which are a treat to look at, so you’ll likely have a blast strolling around the hotel complex.

Irawadee Resort Hotel’s amenities include a rustic cafe with a thatched-roof terrace, a yoga pavilion, and a lush garden. But that’s not all—you can explore the hotel grounds using one of their rental bikes.

Pro Tip:

You can ask them to prepare your breakfast in a takeout box if you need to go out early to explore the sights in Mae Sot which is great.

Where to Eat in Mae Sot


Media from borderlinecollective

Address: 543, 567 ถนนอินทรคีรี Tambon Mae Sot

Operating Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Tuesday – Sunday)

Contact Number: +66 55 546 584


Prices: ฿

Borderline is an excellent option if you want to try Burmese cuisine in Mae Sot. They specialize in vegetarian food, so expect dishes like Burmese-style samosa, pickled tea leaf salad, fried noodles with veggies, Shan-style pumpkin soup, and tofu tomato curry.

Our top pick is the crispy samosa. It was packed with a rich vegetable filling and it came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

Pro Tip: 

This place has art exhibits upstairs, so don’t forget to check it out after your meal. They also sell souvenir items from Myanmar.

Chailai DimSum Restaurant

Media from chailaidimsum

Address: 19/12-13, Asia Road, Mae Sot 63110  

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 55 030 401


Prices: ฿ – ฿฿

This dim sum restaurant in Mae Sot is great for fans of Chinese cuisine. Its extensive dim sum menu includes siu mai, liu sha bao, steamed egg tofu, bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms, cabbage rolls, crab sticks, smoked sausage, and more.

However, our favorites were their roasted duck and Yangzhou fried rice. Their savory, tender, and moist roasted duck, in particular, is definitely a must-try.

Pro Tip: 

This restaurant is sometimes closed for a few days, so be sure to check their Facebook page for any closing announcements before visiting.

Muang Chod Fresh Fish

Media credit: joynurse

Address: 241 Mae Pa

Operating Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 89 839 1747


Prices: ฿ – ฿฿

If you’re looking for a restaurant with a stunning view, there’s Muang Chod Fresh Fish. This place overlooks Mae Sot City and Myanmar’s mountains which makes it a great place to take your family and friends out for dinner.

Aside from that, this restaurant has a massive menu, so there’s plenty of options for everyone. This includes Thai curry dishes, fresh seafood platters, and Thai laab (meat salads).

Their bestsellers are the seafood tom yum and deep-fried fish which are seasoned to the local taste and always made with fresh ingredients.

Pro Tip: 

For the best experience, reserve a spot in their balcony dining area to get the ultimate view of Mae Sot’s city center.

Krua Canadian Restaurant

Media from satoshiy555555

Address: 3 Sripanich Road, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 

  • 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Daily)
  • 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 55 534 659


Pricing: ฿฿

This restaurant in Mae Sot is great for tourists who want to eat familiar Western and Mexican cuisines. Think nachos, burritos, quesadillas, burgers, pork chops, bagel sandwiches, and Western-style breakfast sets.

Their Mexican-style pork chop is the top pick. It’s a well-marinated, juicy, and tender pork chop that every foreigner will enjoy.

Pro Tip: 

Most of their food items are spicy, so be sure to ask for “no chili” if you can’t handle spice well.

Tui Khao Soi

Media from atataya

Address: Soi Sawan Withi 1, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +61 28 668 4895

Pricing: ฿

Tui Khao Soi is a great budget-friendly option that serves good-quality khao soi with a rich, savory broth. They make authentic khao soi, so it’s the place to go if you want to try this local specialty during your Mae Sot trip.

Every order of khao soi comes with a side of fresh onion slices, lime, and cilantro. You can also ask for pickled mustard greens for a strong sour and salty kick.

It also has two topping options: boiled egg and pork offals.

Pro Tip: 

This small restaurant doesn’t accept card payments, so bring cash if you plan to dine here.

What to See and Do in Mae Sot

Try the herbal sauna at Wat Manee Praison

Media credit: moehtetwai

Address: 2812 ถนนอินทรคีรี Mae Sot, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number: +66 5 5543 023


Costs: 20 THB

Wat Manee Praison is a popular attraction in Mae Sot for two good reasons: its picturesque temple complex and soothing herbal sauna. That’s why it attracts locals and tourists looking for a place to heal their body and soul.

The temple’s herbal sauna, in particular, is great since you can enjoy it even if you’re not interested in Thailand’s religious sites. Since this sauna’s fragrant steam is a fan favorite, going here gives you the best chance to make friends with the locals.

Still, its temple complex is definitely worth checking out for its intricate gilded walls, colorful murals, and numerous Buddha images. If you like capturing temple photographs, you’ll have plenty of opportunities here.

Pro Tip: 

The temple’s sauna doesn’t provide lockers, so it’s best to avoid bringing your valuables here. Also, don’t forget to bring your towel!

Visit the Blue Cave

Media credit: motasverdes

Address: Mae Ku, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)

Costs: Free

The Blue Cave is one of the more unique attractions you can visit on your Mae Sot trip. Though it’s not blue inside, there are instructions in the cave detailing how to tweak your phone’s camera settings to make it appear blue in your photos.

Doing so will give its numerous cave formations a magical vibe, from its curvy limestone walls to the stalagmites and stalactites. Buddhist monks also frequent this cave, so expect to see reclining and seated Buddha images inside.

This cave even serves as a home for bees, so it’s common to find honeycombs hanging from its ceiling.

Pro Tip: 

Tracking this place is tricky if you only use the recommended route on Google Maps, so be sure to follow the road signs along the way instead.

Spend the day at Thararak Waterfall

Media credit: thailandaro

Address: Mahawan, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 24/7

Costs: Free

This stunning cascade is a fan favorite among the local families and tourists in Mae Sot. Aside from the waterfall, visitors flock to this place to enjoy its relaxing atmosphere, gorgeous lake, wooden bridge, street food stalls, and nearby jungle trails.

That makes it ideal for weekend family vacations. Our favorite activity here was renting a paddleboat to explore the lake and get close to the waterfall’s stream.

You can also see plenty of fish on the lake’s wooden bridge which makes fish-feeding one of the more popular things to do here. Be sure to stay until the afternoon to catch the beautiful sunset.

Pro Tip: 

To make the most of this waterfall, visit it during the rainy season to see its cascade in its best condition.

Check out Wat Thai Watthanaram’s stunning temple complex

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Address: Tha Sai Luat, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Daily)


Costs: Free

Wat Thai Watthanaram is arguably the most elegant temple in Mae Sot, and we think it’s definitely worth checking out for its architecture and sculptures. This includes gilded temple buildings, intricate wall carvings, colorful murals, and numerous Buddha images.

Among its most notable sights is a 60-meter Burmese-style reclining Buddha image which is tucked away at the back of the complex. Aside from that, you can see replicas of Myanmar’s Shwedagon Pagoda and Wat Don Kaeo’s principal Buddha image.

Or if you want to see something unique, we suggest checking out the large hall with numerous Buddha images scattered across a 3D map model of South Asia.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re celebrating your birthday, they have a shrine dedicated to that. Be sure to check it out to pray for blessings and good fortune.

Pay your respects at the Chao Pho Phawo Shrine

Media credit: tonywu_from_burma

Address: ถนน แม่สอด – ตาก Phawo, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Daily)

Contact Number:+66 87 362 1526


Costs: Free

This is one of the most sacred spots in Mae Sot, so it’s certainly worth considering for your temple-hopping itinerary. Its most notable attraction is a giant golden Naga Buddha image sitting atop a raised temple platform.

It attracts crowds of locals, tourists, and pilgrims, so expect to see a lot of people paying their respects to this Buddha image. Moreover, you’ll find golden chicken and elephant statues within its complex so there are plenty of photo opportunities for everyone.

If you want to learn about this place’s history, you can also check out the bronze tablets in the small shrine where visitors pray and light incense sticks.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re visiting this temple in a car, don’t forget to honk your horn on your arrival or while passing by. This is how the local drivers pay their respects to this shrine.

Shop your way through Mae Sot’s Burmese Market

Media credit: phavinee_boui_

Address: 2, 33 Buakoon Road, ต.แม่สอด Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 3:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. (Daily)

The market at the heart of Mae Sot City is great for tourists who want to shop for all kinds of things: food, accessories, clothes, toys, souvenirs, fresh goods, etc. Since this place borders Myanmar, you can expect to see a lot of Burmese products for sale.

This gives you the best chance to bag some items you won’t normally find anywhere in Thailand. If you check every corner of the market, you’ll even find stalls selling Indian food like samosa, goat biryani, roti, and more.

Pro Tip: 

Going here as early as possible gives you the best chance to find the freshest food options. Some vendors even start opening shop at midnight, so try visiting during this time if you can.

Browse the shops at the Mu Soe Hill Tribes Market

Media credit: neil_gardner

Address: Dan Mae Lamao, Mae Sot District

Operating Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Daily)

This place is one of the more modern markets in Mae Sot that focuses on fresh produce, dried goods, and snacks. It’s particularly well-known for its great selection of large fruits and vegetables.

If you’re looking for some snack options, you must head to the market’s back alley. It’s where vendors sell Thai street food like crispy pork skin, sticky rice, khao soi, pork satay, and more.

There’s also a small cafe next to the market that serves roasted Thai coffee beans which were a hit with our caffeine-loving staffers.

Pro Tip: 

If you’re looking at unpriced items in the market, vendors will typically give you a high starting price so be sure to haggle to get a good deal.

FAQs about Mae Sot

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