Claes Johansson Asia 2010 travel blog

DK Hotel my home in Mae Sot.

Enlighten chedi.

Chinese temple

Chinese New Year celebrations

Gateway to Burma.

Moei River. Left side is Burma and right side is Thailand.

Other side of the bridge – Myawaddi, the Burmese border town.

Burmese temple.

Crocodile temple.

Burmese temple.

Market in Myawaddi.

Same market again.

4 February.

Once again an early breakfast, checkout, taxi transport to bus station and a 80 km bus trip to Tak. At the bus station in Tak, I have to change to mini bus for further transport to Mae Sot, another 80 km trip. The mini bus did not follow any time schedules, only when it is enough passengers, then it leaves. It took 30 minutes to fill the minibus with people, and then it left. The very most of the 80 km distance was uphill. This trip took about one and a half hour, mostly uphill and uncountable curves and bends. At the bus station in Mae Sot, I could not find any kind of three or four wheel taxi, only motorbike taxis. It felt little bit nervous and dramatic to sitting behind the driver, with all my belongings. Well arrived to DK Hotel, and I got a rather decent room for only 450 B (ca 100 Skr) per night. The afternoon I spend in the neighbourhood. Eating, drinking and get familiar with the area.

5 February.

Mae Sot is a Thai outpost along the Thai- Burma border and one of rather few places there border crossing is aloud. Mae Sot is also a melting pot, it is a very mixed variety of people, except for Thais, there are lot of Burmese and Karen people also. It has been rather relieving for me as a “farang” (foreigner from western part of the world), all the shops and business are more or less targeted to Burmese people coming over the border for shopping. No one expect me to buy anything. On this day I decided to cross the Moei River and visit the neighbour town Myawaddi on the Burmese side. To get there I had to take a 5-6 kilometres taxi trip to the border. To checkout of Thailand was no problem, then I have to walk over the 420 metres long bridge over Moei River till the Burmese side. Since I had no Burmese visa, the custom took my passport and gave me a handwritten paper instead. Then I was free to visit Burma one day, I had to be back on the Thai side of the bridge before 5 o’clock, because then bridge close. What to do in Burma in an afternoon? I decided to do it easy for myself; I hired a taxi driver to take me around. It became visits to three or four temples and finally the day market in Myawaddi. My first impression of Myawaddi was that it looks very much like Mae Sot. But when I look little more closely and more carefully, the difference is enormous. Absolutely everything are bigger or better on the Thai side, believe me. Another observation that I made was that people in Myawaddi did not talk to each other more than absolutely necessary. For sure that was a very deep feeling of depression. The only people, whom I saw who could laugh and joke, were smaller children. This day was the hottest day so far, according the Thai weather service there was max temperatures about 36 °C during the day.

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