MR. AUNG MYINT MYAT
Who is Mr. Aung Myint Myat? Well you can find him if you turn right at the major intersection after coming across the bridge, head eastwards along the main road (1.5km?) until you reach the hospital, then take the next left, go up a few blocks, and just before you reach the end of the road you will see Aung's establishment on the right. He is an expert on palmistry and astrology as his sign says. However he won't charge much for his services and it is up to you if you believe him or not.
This place is worth visiting,for the magnificent pagoda and for the view of the surrounding area. The golden pagoda is quite large and one can wander round the compound looking at the various statues. We visited the site at mid-day when it was very hot, probably better to visit early morning. There is a line of golden monks standing with their alms bowls. The pagoda was constructed in the late nineties and house a few important images.
If you leave the local market on the northern side, turn right on the road, a few mteres later you will pass over a small bridge, then immediately on the left will be a small compound with a temple inside and several spirit houses where you will find locals making their offerings such as fruit, drink and money. It's very interesting to see the locals pray while holding their incense sticks in front of these small spirit houses. Inside the temple is a large Buddha where people also leave their offerings.
THE LOCAL MARKET
A walk round the local market is interesting but can be very muddy if it is the rainy season. This is mainly a market for the locals to purchase their every day needs and is very colourful. Be careful as porters rush around with baskets and boxes delivering them to the stalls. Good for photography. Try the dragon fruit if you see it for sale--it's delicious.
visit the stupa
If you pass through the grounds of the Peace Golden Land Nunnery (ask permission first) you will come to a set of steps which you can follow for 15 minutes and you will eventually reach a small road which will lead you to the top of a hill where a stupa is being constructed and you will be able to have a magnificent view of Mae Sai and parts of Tachilek. The chief monk was very friendly and eager to talk. The climb up there takes 30 minutes and is quite energetic, but worth the effort.
It is interesting to visit the temple where one can meditate. It is run mainly by the nuns and accepts visitors in their apartment block, most visitors are form Thailand and come for one or two weeks meditation and can stay there free of charge (meals also) but most give a healthy donation when they leave. We were also invited to return at a later date to meditate. We chatted to the head nun who led us in to the meditation temple where people stood or sat motionless in deep meditation, some won't move a muscle for hours. Never having sen people meditate i found this quite interesting. I believe the temple was located at Peace Golden Land Nunnery. When you enter Tachilek there are foto copied maps available for 10 baht which will show you all the tourist sites.
We went to visit the long necks who are located at the upmarket Regina Hotel by the golf course. To enter you pay an entrance fee, can't remember how much it was but i thought it was a little expensive because once you are on the premises the representatives from the long necks and Akha are all located in souvenir shops on the side of some steps leading to the top of a hill where there is a building where we were promised that we would be able to watch to them dancing, but it wasn't to be as they would only dance if there were enough tourists. We spoke to some of the long necks but it was obvious that the older women were part of the tribe but the younger ones were just girls employed to imitate the long necks for commercial purposes. I tried to look carefully at the rings round their necks but they were partly covered by a cloth, i was pretty sure they would be removed after their day's work. As Soon as you cross the bridge from Mae Sai the tuk-tuk drivers will try and encourage to take you to see them, about 5 kms from the bridge. We walked then found some teenagers who took us across the golf course on their motorbikes. Probably i would give this place a miss, as i guess it's a tourist trap.
SHOP AT THE MARKET
As soon as you cross the bridge into Tachilek turn right and you will be in a huge marker selling all kinds of goods from Thailand and China, many fake brands, groceries, alcohol, bags, anything you can think of. It is the same products that are available on the Thai side, usually priced in Baht, as are most things in this town. The prices seemed to me to be about the same on both sides of the river, but bought a new day backpack for what i thought was a cheap price. If you are not looking for something specific and you have already visited the Thai side i suggest you give this a miss. Anyway when you enter Thailand there is a box of goods on display informing you that they are contraband and will be confiscated!! but what to the Thai authorities think all the people are carrying in their bags, as it seems everything for sale at the market is prohibited to take back across the bridge.
visit the evening market
I guess once in awhile to visit local market was fun. Every country has serve different ways of living. Selling and buying things, sell whatever can be sell and all.
I was expecting this kind of stuffs when coming to this local market in Tachilek. Most of the market now adays were very clean and hygene. No disgusting creature sells that can be eaten. For local people, eating meat of this strange animal is something normal and basic to them. For me the dead animal looks like a meercat but not particular sure about that. It was not like a dog either look at the body. The smells are very stinky but I hold my breath and smile to the seller while taking the photo. :D
Beside that, plenty of other creatures can be found in here.
Quick stop for cheap goods and a passport stamp
Completely on a whim, we decided to cross the border from Mae Sai, Thailand into Tachileik. We obtained the required $5 day pass at the customs checkpoint, and traversed the Nam Ruak River. Once on the Myanmar side, it's almost like another world. There's a bustling marketplace mostly full of counterfeit goods, and plenty of little stalls featuring Burmese food. Also, atop a hill near the border is the temple Wat Phra That Doi Wao, which I did not visit, but I heard it provides some nice views.
I was most surprised by how strikingly different the people look, being just a few hundred meters from Thailand.... for instance, most of the women (and some men) wear a glistening yellow powder on their faces in various shapes and patterns. Apparently this cosmetic is made from a mixture of tree bark and water, which serves to beautify and protect the skin from the sun.
Bottom-line: Going to Tachileik is interesting for the passport stamp and observing its diverse inhabitants, however there's not much to do here for more than a couple hours.
Don't bother but then maybe...
I went bacause I thought it would be quaint to have Myanmar stamped in my passport. My excite ment in crossing the boreder from Thailand was shortlived as Tachilek was like a wild west frontier town without the fun. It was a waste of time. I felt sorry for the people there as there was a mark edcontrast between Thailand and Burma in terms of the people. I'm sure as Burmese people are as welcoming as any asian country but not in Tachilek. You can smell the oppression in the air. no smiles to be seen which is understandable.
Border Street Market
Just across the border bridge from Thailand is a large street market. It caters primarily to locals but there are some shops selling Burmese crafts such as lacquer and wood carving. Otherwise, it is mainly interesting from the standpoint of seeing local people going about their daily lives. There are many beggars in the market, and no doubt they will find you. Supposedly many forms of contraband can be bought at this market, such as tiger body parts, but I didn't see any of this.
I found the "SPADER-MAN" toy shown in this picture quite amusing!
Temple of the Enrobed Elephant
This was the only temple that we visited in Myanmar. The architecture was very unique, much different than you find on the temples in Thailand. The inside walls were painted with murals depicting different scenes of the Buddha, and the Buddha statue on the central alter was white with a rounded face and red lips (again very different from the Buddhas you see in Thailand).
- Religious Travel
Replica of Shwedagon Pagoda
Perched atop a small hill overlooking the city is an impressive large golden paya, or stupa, that was built as a replica of Yangon's famous Shwedagon Pagoda. The large central spire is flanked by many small spires and the whole thing shines quite brightly in the midday sun.
Children hang around the entrance, selling candles and flowers to visitors as offerings. The paya was also being patrolled by a very young soldier carrying a machine gun (he looked no older than 16).
Buddha in the Temple of the Enrobed Elephant
Here's a picture of the Buddha statue on the central alter of the temple. Very unique looking, although somewhat gaudy. I've always wondered what the fan he is holding says.
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture