Mae Sai Travel Guide

  • Mae Sai
    by Zanzibargirl
  • MONKS CROSSING THE RIVER
    MONKS CROSSING THE RIVER
    by davidjo
  • REAL OR NOT
    REAL OR NOT
    by davidjo

Mae Sai Highlights

  • Pro
    BorderHopper profile photo

    BorderHopper says…

     Green fields, limestone mountains, open roads and fresh air! 

  • Con
    victorwkf profile photo

    victorwkf says…

     Be careful while exploring the streets 

  • In a nutshell
    mrdreameruk profile photo

    mrdreameruk says…

     Vibrant and lively-a must see 

Mae Sai Things to Do

  • CROSS THE BRIDGE to MYANMAR

    Last year we crossed the bridge and spent a day in Tachileik, the Burmese town across the river. There is another huge market on the other side, selling the same items as in Mae Sai, but if you take time and wander away from this eyesore you will find many interesting things to do such as temples, markets, chatting to the locals. See my Tachileik...

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  • Tachileik Market

    Tachileik, on the Myanmar side of the border, is a typical border town that exists purely on the trade, some say, dodgy trade, between Thailand and Myanmar. There's a large market here which I went around and was fairly similar to what you find in Thailand except that it sells a large quantity of items that would get you into a good deal of trouble...

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  • Wat Tham Pla/Monkey Cave Temple

    Wat Tham Pla means fish tail and this temple is found about 13km (8 miles) south of Mae Sai. The temple is also known as the Monkey Cave Temple after the macaques that live here. They are not usually aggressive though and only stay in one area near the fish pond and shrine to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy who is very popular with the Chinese. The...

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Mae Sai Hotels

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Mae Sai Restaurants

  • Chinese in the Hills- Doi Mae Salong

    A lot of people that live ini that area come from China. They fled after the Mao regime took over the power and stayed here later.So lots of shops have chinese signs on it and you can find a real chinese Restaurant here with genuine chinese specialities.The view over the hills is very pleasant, so try to sit outside, if you can.(They also have...

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  • At the border

    Just Thai sign called "Roddet".They sell noodle,Khao Soi(Northern style noodle) and others Thai food with rice. The price between 20-30B. In the same shop,they also sell gems. -Noodle-Khao Soi

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  • Sidewalk Buffet On the Streets of Mae...

    Every night a hundred or more of these portable street stall restaurants line the min boulevrd in Mae Sai and offer all sorts of very tasty northern Thai dishes. For 50 baht (about $1.10) you can't beat the price! I had my best plate of Pad Thai right here at the food stand in this photo. It makes for a great mid night snack or dinner!

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Mae Sai Nightlife

  • BorderHopper's Profile Photo
    Jason & Ron toasting Singha in Mae Sai

    by BorderHopper Updated Jun 8, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beer & karaoke about round out your options for nightlife in Mae Sai. If you fancy neither you can find a good conversation or retire to bed with your Lonely Planet guide book. I should mention that there are several Karaoke bars that are on again and off again that are located near the Sai river on the Thai side of the border. I only know this because our first hotel, the King Kobra, had to resort to filling their rooms with short time customers who'd get a girl from the Karaoke bar and bring them across the street into our hotel where we were watching the coming's & going's from the outdoor lobby. These places didn't cater to Westerners and seemed to be more for the Thai or Burmese men who wanted to spend their paychecks.

    For an alternative to a lazy night at your hotel you can cruise the main road where hundreds of food stalls have been set up and join the locals for a good dinner and a beer. In 2004 there was a restaurant , Uncle George's, that had a nice nightlife feel to it with a pool tabel, lots of alcohol, and plenty of food. There were a few backpackers and locals hanging out there the few nights we spent in Mae Sai.

    Dress Code: Anything short of your birthday suit.

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Mae Sai Transportation

  • Mae Sai Bus Terminal

    The center of transportation in Mae Sai.All buses from Bangkok,Chiang Mai,all districts in Chiang Rai and others 're stop here.

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  • Public car between bus terminal - border

    From Mae Sai Bus terminal,there's a public car called "Song Taew" or 2 row of seats to the border. The cost 's 8 Bahts.

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  • Renting a Honda Motorbike in Mae Sai

    Renting your own Honda 125 cc motorbike can easily be done at the one & only Honda dealership in Mae Sai which is located less than a mile from the Myanmar/Thailand border crossing on the main road in Mae Sai. All that is required of you is that you leave your passport, fill out some short paper work, and pay the rental fee which is about $3 usd...

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Mae Sai Shopping

  • Roadside stalls

    On the way to Mae Sai from Chiang Rai, we passed by a whole load of stalls alongside the road selling all things to do with strawberry's - juice, wine, liquor and, indeed, strawberries themselves. We stopped at one of them to try some of the juice and it was so good that I bought a bottle for 40 baht. Lovely stuff!

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  • Stalls at the border

    At Mae Sai Border,it's famous in shopping.You can find so many stuffs there i.e. jewelry esp.jade,clothes,snacks (almost come from China),crafts,...... Bargain 's a must.

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  • Electricity market on the border

    Mae Sai ‘s a big border market where poppular among tourists. Take a bus on route Chiang Rai- Mae Sai end at Mae Sai bus terminal and transfer to minibus or 2 rows bus to the border (5 baht /person ) What 2 shop : Jewelly , jade , silk , clothes , TV, VDO, Stereo , VCD, DVD and all electricities (almost made in China) , Chinese medicine, liqaure...

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Mae Sai Local Customs

  • You don't see the monks walking around...

    Most people coming to Thailand for a visit know, or at least read up on, the cultural do's and don'ts of Thailand & her people. I'll use this space to write a bit about a horrifying sight we saw on our family trip to Thailand. I was disgusted at what I saw and felt sorry for the Thai and Burmese people who saw the same thing I did. Prior to getting...

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  • Ode to the King

    Respect the local customs & religions. Customs vary between the different ethnic groups in this region so just be observant. Every morning at 8 am and in the evening at 6 pm loudspeakers throughout Mae Sai blast the Thai national anthem and an ode to their King. Everyone stops in their tracks when the loudspeakers errupt, TV broadcasts & radio...

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  • Mae Sai Hotels

    9 Hotels in Mae Sai

    1 Reviews and Opinions

Mae Sai Warnings and Dangers

  • Leave your valuables in safe place....

    If at all possible, I wouldn't take any valuables (like a nice watch or expensive camera) into Tachileik. While the people were all very friendly towards me, it certainly felt much more third world than Thailand, and I doubt there is much protection for tourists who are assaulted and/or robbed. Not that I heard of this ever happening while I was...

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  • Opium Fields and Burmese Soldiers

    As far as there being a danger of being mugged, robbed, or anything else of the sort you just don't have to worry. I suppose the one danger to be found in this region is wandering accidently across the international boundry between Myanmar and Thailand. I just get a feeling that the Myanmar troops aren't as disciplined as their Thai compadres and...

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  • Beware of theft

    Being a border town with lots of people moving around, do take care of your belongings as the local people can easily identify you as a tourist. While the roadside shops may sell cheap items and you are eager to buy them, do lookout around you.

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Mae Sai Tourist Traps

  • HILL TRIBE CHILDREN

    You may see hill tribe children who ask money for taking their photograph, but they may just dress up for making money and are not real hill tribe members

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  • Speedboats on the Mekong River

    When you reach the Golden Triangle, there will be many Thais trying to persuade you to take a ride on a motorised boat on the Mekong River. Tourist trap!! It costs B1500 for a short 15-minute spin. If you are in a group of 6 persons, the cost can be divided amongst all of you. I did not go for the speedboat ride because I was on a private...

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  • Your Burma Border Crossing....

    Crossing the border from Mae Sai, Thailand to the Burmese town of Tachilek in Myanmar is very easy. Just be careful not to get suckered in by the touts.Those touts are waiting for you and there isn't much to see...but at least you'll get that Myanmar stamp for your passport! Don't expect to see the real Myanmar.....hey, you are getting off cheap...

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Mae Sai What to Pack

  • Rain Gear For Those South East Asian...

    Many times while riding a motorbike in South East Asia I've been caught in a sudden down pour only to get soaking wet. Our friends, Jason, My, & Connie came prepared on our outing from Mae Sai to the Mekong River. They brought their rain ponchos & were able to stay dry during a rain storm we encountered on the road back to Mae Sai.

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  • I like to pack light !

    A light backpack that can double as a day pack. Leave your heavier stuff in the hotel when you are out on day hikes. Its a little cooler in Mae Sai during the winter months...but its actually refreshing! If you are used to the heat and humidity of Bangkok then it may be wise to bring a light jacket or a long sleeved shirt for warmth at night. You...

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Mae Sai Off The Beaten Path

  • The Golden Triangle

    The Golden Triangle is the meeting point of three countries - Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, separated by the Mekong River. It is a short drive from the town of Mae Sai, the northernmost town in Thailand. On the Myanmar side, you can see a red-roof building complex which is the Paradise Casino. Thais cross over to the Myanmar side by speedboat to...

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  • You Never Know Where a Road Will Lead...

    Many roads around Mae Sai will lead you somewhere "off the beaten path". In our explorations around Mae Sai by motorbike we fond hidden lakes perfect for swimming, deep caves, remote villages, and border markers indicating the boundry between Myanmar and Thailand. In the photo we were on our way to Sop Ruak, Thailand which is about an hours ride...

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  • So many "Off the beaten paths" to choose...

    You can spend days exploring the countryside, pagodas, checking out the river life, or photographing various religious sights in Burma and in Mae Sai. You'll never get bored!

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Mae Sai Sports & Outdoors

  • Fishing, Thai Style!

    Some people consider fishing a sporting activity so I'll mention my experiences with fishing in Mae Sai here. There are several fishing holes, ponds, and rivers that you can fish in. I tried fishing in the Sai river, and though it was relaxing I wasn't able to catch anything other than river debris. I also found a pond located a bit outside of the...

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  • Take a swim, a hike, explore a cave....

    Swimming. There are several really nice swimming holes such as the one I have pictured here. These places aren't even listed in the Lonely Plant puplications but they aren't hard to find. If you can find the "Big Cave" you just may come across this swimming hole just as I did.

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Mae Sai Favorites

  • Border Crossing

    As of April 2009, an entry permit into Myanmar, valid for up to 14 days, costs 500 baht/US$10 (be sure to bring clean US notes, without any marks, stamps, etc. on it - otherwise customs officers will refuse it and, if you don't have another one, happily receive significantly higher payment in baht instead). Travellers using this option are given a...

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  • Mother Earth

    At the hill top temple we came across this staue representing Mother Earth in Thai mythology. It is just one of several statues on the hill top near the Myanmar border.

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  • Guardian of Mae Sai: The Scorpion

    I'm not sure if this hill top monument at one of the Buddhist temples in Mae Sai is in honor of the Hollywood film "Scorpion King" or if its been erected for another, more noble reason. I wasn't able to learn the history of this monument but from what I saw it may have something to do with the Thailand-Myanmar border. The Scorpion faces north into...

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Explore Deeper into Mae Sai
Golden Triangle Tour
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The Golden Triangle
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Local transport
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Map of Mae Sai

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