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  1. #1
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Visa run to Mae Sot and on to Mae Hong Son

    The last visa run I made to Mae Sot we turned into a 1 week holiday taking in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai. Here are a few details with pictures:

    As we live in Nonthaburi on the west of Bangkok we left Bangyai and headed to Suphan Buri on route 340 which connects to route 1 near Chainat and takes you to Tak. This 426 kilometre drive took us a leisurely 6 hours with a stop for lunch at Tesco's in Chainat ( right on the route ) and another stop for a coffee at a truck stop after Nakhon Sawan. In Tak we stayed at the excellent value Sin Sooan Hotel which is an amazing 370 baht a night including free coffee, toast and OJ ( as much as you like ) down in the lobby.



    Tak has a good night market right on the river and is a good place to head for in the evening to put the feed bag on and sink a few beers.
    Next morning we drove over the mountains on route 105 to Mae Sot. The first time you drive this road ( which is in good shape ) its a novelty. After several trips though it gets a bit of a drag as the jungle closes in on both sides and there are few spectacular views except at about half way where a lay-by rest area has been built. The drive takes just over an hour.

    Arriving at the border check point, this is what you see:




    Everything here is quick and simple as usualy there is rarely a queue. You go up to the Thai immigration booth, get stammed out and then take a ten minute walk over the bridge to Burmese immigration in a little booth on the other side :




    What I like about this is there is absolutely no paperwork on the Burmese side. Not so much as a signature. You cough up your 500 baht and in about 5 minutes you are walking back over the bridge to Thailand. You can get a 1 day pass to look around the town on the Burmese side but there is not a lot to see . The road beyond the checkpoint looks like this :




    If you are feeling a bit hungry now there is a good little cafe back on the Thai side of the bridge on a street corner 30 metres from Thai immigration. I forget the name of the place but they do good breakfasts including two eggs in a hot dish with toast and coffee.

    Leaving Mae Sot we headed north on route 105 again heading for Mae Sariang but not before I wasted 20 minutes backtracking to a clean filling station where I pebble dashed one of their latrines with the previous evenings sea food and beer. I made no charge for this as I was weakened by my efforts and wanted to get back behind the steering wheel and soak up the air-con. Next stop was a short drive up the road to Mae Kasa hot spring :



    As hot springs go, nothing special but there were a few people there splashing around and boiling their eggs. I didn't fancy boiling my eggs so we hit the road again heading north for Mae Sariang. Frisco Frankie took some nice pictures of this stretch of the road which you can see on his thread :
    http://teakdoor.com/thai-visas-and-v...road-less.html

    I took a few pics myself but accidently deleted them from my PC, such is life. Route 105 now heads north following the Moei river which pops into view every now and then. This stretch of the road is good tarmac through forest and jungle and you pass several refugee camps on the way :

    ( picture from the net )

    When we got to Ban Tha Song Yang there was a surprise. As the road swung right , leaving the river and heading into the mountains , the single road suddenly turned into a brand spanking new dual carriageway with central reserve and street lights. Considering you are in the middle of nowhere its hard to see the justification for this. Anyway, I was pleased enough figuring to make up some lost pooh time but after only 5 k the we ran into the road crews constructing this unlikely new road. The next three k was just dirt and my little coupe picked up enough crud to almost double its weight. When we finaly got back onto the old tarmac again it was more or less corrugated all the way to Mae Sariang, a very bumpy ride. The road climbs very high and becomes very narrow with the jungle almost reducing the road to single file in some places so it was now plain to see that the road was not overdue for a makeover. Only 1 other vehicle passed us on this 60 k stretch and the girlfriend just about squeezed all the luck out of her buddhist amulet at several points.
    Eventually we got to Mae Sariang, a pretty one ( maybe 2 ) horse town and had a late lunch at a hippy guesthouse overlooking the Yuam river. A backpacker at another table smiled benignly at me for most of the time and I could see he was desperate for a bit of banal banter so I buried my face into my Cappucino until it was time for the last leg of the days drive to Mae Hong Son. The woman told us it was about a 3 hour drive but I wanted to aarive by nightfall so I hit the gas and left Mae Sarieng with a wheelspin.....oooooooooooo.
    Luckily, I fell in with a Honda Jazz from MHS who seemed to know the road because he was really motoring so I tucked in behind him and we made the roughly 120 k in not much over an hour and a half. I really enjoyed that drive but the gf looked very pasty as we pulled into Mae Hong Son at dusk.

    The next morning, after coffe and patango in a cheap chinese nrestaurant we went up Wat Pratat Doi Gong Mu temple on the edge of town. Clever people drive up but I missed the entrance so we climbed up the staircase, very tiring and I got some very black looks from the gf when we finaly got to the top and saw the road. Still, very nice views all around :







    Back down at the car we headed North again for Pai and Chiang mai. First stop on the way was the Fish Cave. Here, after a pleasant walk along a stream you find a very small cave with er....fish in it. Amazing Thailand eh ? :



    A bridge over untroubled water ...... might be good for a song.



    The fish in this cave are partial to lettuce ?




    After that pleasant detour we were off on the long and winding road , route 1095 , to Pai and Chiang Mai. Somewhere along the way we stopped for a little picnic at this pleasant spot in the mountains :



    And then it was on to Pai for lunch before the final drive into Chiang Mai. We spent a couple of days resting in Chiang Mai, several hours of which was in the very crowded cop shop on account of my girlfriend forgetting to put on her seatbelt.A lot of time wasted to pay a small fine. Bit of a bummer but thats life .

    PS Sorry about the small size of the pictures but I hope to do better next time.
    Last edited by Bangyai; 29-09-2009 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    wow...thorough report.

  3. #3
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    Excellent report ! thank you

  4. #4
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    No! Great photos!! Not so big that it cripples the site loading them - it's the perfect size. It looks spectacular...

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Nice report

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    Thank's for that..... I should have looked at this Report earlier - when I was up in Chiang Mai last August. But then I did not need a Visa Run....and I don't have the use of a Car....
    However, my next Visa Run is due before 7th January 2012 and now I am searching for suitable destinations to do one.
    Have done Hanoi, Cambodia, Philippines & Nepal in the past and now I am looking at Myanmar - but flights & Hotels there are not cheap.
    Also, it was mentioned that you got a 90 day Visa at the Border??? I was under the impression that one could only obtain a 15 day Visa on a Land crossing - while a 30 day Visa is available when arriving back into Thailand by Plane??
    Are there any special provisions to get a 60 day - or 90 day Viasa at a Land crossing??
    And if so, is such a Visa also available going in/out of Laos? If that is available I would not mind a Bus Trip to Vientiane (as my next Visa-run).
    Any info is appreciated.

  7. #7
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by albarb View Post
    Thank's for that..... I should have looked at this Report earlier - when I was up in Chiang Mai last August. But then I did not need a Visa Run....and I don't have the use of a Car....
    However, my next Visa Run is due before 7th January 2012 and now I am searching for suitable destinations to do one.
    Have done Hanoi, Cambodia, Philippines & Nepal in the past and now I am looking at Myanmar - but flights & Hotels there are not cheap.
    Also, it was mentioned that you got a 90 day Visa at the Border??? I was under the impression that one could only obtain a 15 day Visa on a Land crossing - while a 30 day Visa is available when arriving back into Thailand by Plane??
    Are there any special provisions to get a 60 day - or 90 day Viasa at a Land crossing??
    And if so, is such a Visa also available going in/out of Laos? If that is available I would not mind a Bus Trip to Vientiane (as my next Visa-run).
    Any info is appreciated.
    Hi Albarb. The Mae Sot crossing is a very simple and cheap alternative although I should clarify that no visas are issued at the border on the Burmese side. I had a multiple entry non immigrant visa already ( from the U.K. ) . As you know, even with a multiple entry visa you still have to leave the country every 90 days to activate the next 90 days. Hope that explains things.

  8. #8
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    I am heading up there next month, and yes, it is just like you said it was

    you can save a little money by paying the Myanmar guys $10 instead of B500

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    further to that, I did it yesterday

    the cheeky immigration have taken down the notices and are demanding B500 saying that "dollars no good"

    the guy in front gave in and handed over B500 instead of the $10 he had

    I said "dollars very good"

    Immi said "no, Baht easier"

    me "no, dollars easy, here, in my hand"

    Immi "you no have B500?"

    me "no, my wife has all my Thai money, I brought you this nice $10 especially, look"

    immi grudgingly takes it
    I have reported your post

  10. #10
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    Hi Bangyai

    Great article thanks. I'm staying in Tak but out in the countryside a lot and would like to spend the evening in Tak and then travel to Mae Sot as you have.

    Could you please give me any sort of directions to the Sin Sooan Hotel?

    It sounds inexpensive and nice.

    Thanks
    TL

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    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    SuanSin Hotel = C


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    Awesome thanks very much.

    Cheers
    TL

  14. #14
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    ^^ Thanks for covering for me TY. Been out of town to Cha am for a couple of days and only just got back.

    thaimlord might also be interested in this thread reviewing Tak hotels :

    http://teakdoor.com/northern-thailan...l-reviews.html (Tak Hotel Reviews)

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    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Nice thread OP. I've done that run myself only a bit further up than Mae Sot, after doing a loop from Chiang Mai, Doi Inthanon, Mae Hong Song, Pai, back to Chiang Mai. Apparently the stretch between Mae Hong Song (muang) and the main road near Chiang Mai, is something like 2,469 bends. I dunno, but it was bloody windy and slow going but well worth it.

  16. #16
    loob lor geezer
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    ^ Nice extra input 9999. Some very good photo's in your threads , well worth looking at.

    Ten out of ten , nine nine nine nine

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai
    Been out of town to Cha am for a couple of days and only just got back.
    Nice, I visited BKK for stuff for my daughter, and we stayed in Ch 'Am for a few days, was a toss up between there and Pattaya. Nice little spot there. Will defo go back when I visit BKK again.

  18. #18
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    Apparently the stretch between Mae Hong Song (muang) and the main road near Chiang Mai, is something like 2,469 bends.
    I have been told that if you drive to Mae Hong Song you can get a certificate stating that you have negotiated 1000 hair-pin bends.

  19. #19
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 9999
    Apparently the stretch between Mae Hong Song (muang) and the main road near Chiang Mai, is something like 2,469 bends.
    I have been told that if you drive to Mae Hong Song you can get a certificate stating that you have negotiated 1000 hair-pin bends.
    It certainly felt like that many , especially having just driven along the Burmese border Mae Sot. Not bad for a 20 year old car.

  20. #20
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    ^
    Yep, it is a long slow drive.
    Anyone doing this journey should allow plenty of time.
    Average speeds will be low so don't reckon on doing a lot of kms each day.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat 9999's Avatar
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    The 180kms from Pai to Chiang Mai takes at least 2.5 hours, closer to 4 probably.

  22. #22
    loob lor geezer
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    Couple of more pics from that trip taken at the hilltop temple in Mae Hong Son.




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