I have just crossed the Myanmar-Thailand border and I’m supposed to stay in Mae Sot only 1 night as my next destination is a remote area of Myanmar only accessible through Thailand.
From Myanmar-Thailand border to the Guesthouse
I know there is a pick-up truck that departs from the border to the market or Mae Sot bus station for 20 bahts, but I want to go to California Mae Sot guesthouse. I know it because I have crossed this Myanmar-Thailand border before. At that time, I was going from Mae Sot to Bangkok.
Unlikely the friendly neighborhood, people weren’t helpful at all actually ignoring the fact that I might need some help. That is something that would never happen in Myanmar, which is great. Every time I reach a place by bus, even if at 2 am, 5 am, no matter what time, I always have someone at the bus station willing to take me where I need. But this is in Myanmar. I felt this huge difference right away in Thailand.
So, after being ignored and having no other option but a 100 bahts motorbike ride, I hop on this pick-up truck to the bus station and then walked for about 30 minutes until I reach the Guesthouse. If there is something I hate to do as a backpacker, is to walk for long minutes with my backpack on. 15 minutes walk is ok but more than that starts to be very painful for my back. I’m not 22 anymore… I don’t mind doing other things, but carrying my backpack is something that I really hate.
Having diarrhea during Coronavirus outbreak
I felt a little stomach sick the last days while in Myanmar, but I still was ok. Just a little discomfort in my belly. But that was until I have my first meal in Thailand. This is already Coronavirus time, the beginning of it. And besides knowing that there aren’t many cases in Thailand, you start to notice people wearing masks. I couldn’t avoid thinking that my stomach ache could have something to do with Coronavirus. I don’t know what happened but after that meal, I was with severe diarrhea in a way I had never had before as a traveler. Even during my first trip ever to Asia, I wasn’t like that. I couldn’t even count how many times I went to the toilet that night. Later on, and during my volunteering, my hoster told me that I’m not the 1st person she meets that gets sick in Mae Sot. She believes there is some virus in the area.
Due to this, I decided to stay longer than expected in Mae Sot and recover before I move to the place where I will volunteer, already in Myanmar. After 3 nights I was feeling much better after the very helpful Xifaran pills. I went out to explore the city that didn’t have much to do, and, by the way, ate a 7-eleven ham and cheese toastie. Yeah sorry, I’m part of the group of people that find it amazing.
Exploring Mae Sot temples
The guesthouse has free bicycles that guests can use which was perfect. I visited 3 temples: Wat Chumphonkiri, Wat Mani Praison, and Wat Don Chai. They are all good examples of Thai architecture that is beautiful and colorful and always presents us with peaceful places. That’s why I like to visit temples, they are so chill, and these ones especially as there are no tourists at all around them.
Meanwhile, while riding my bicycle in Mae Sot, I notice that many people I see appear to be Burmese. They wear longyi, Thanaka, have red mouths, and even the language I can distinguish. It looks like I’m among Burmese people, although this doesn’t look much like Myanmar. Just the fact that there is no dust in the air makes all the difference. There are mostly pick-up trucks on the street and they don’t look 40 years old… I can recognize one of the songs in my Burmese playlist in the shop. It instantly puts a smile on my face.
So, all over Mae Sot, you will see people from Myanmar, and the majority are Karen refugees. In fact, along the border with Thailand up north and on my way to my volunteering, I truly believe that 90% of the people I saw were Burmese. This is a refugee area and I don’t think that Thai people like Myanmar people as much as I do.
After exploring Mae Sot and feeling much better, I will finally head to my volunteering spot the next day.