Mae Sot Border Town
Mae Sai is Thailands western border town. Bordering Burma it's possible to do a visa-run here via the Thailand-Burma Friendship Bridge.
It's very much a remote location for visa-running. You have to travel through mountain highway 105 (off Highway 1) to get here and it's something of a best-kept-secret for visa-runners. There is no estuary to be crossed like in Ranong nor a security x-ray gauntlet at Mae Sai. The immigration officials seem a bit keen as they don't often get foreigners crossing here.
There are few queues and it's the usual $5 fee to make the crossing. The Burmese-side of Mae Sot is a small town. Compared to the bootlegging that goes on in Ranong it's not got much. Some cheap (and poor quality) cigarettes and booze are all that's worth a look here.
The actual city of Mae Sot is worth a look. The roads are narrow and it's got a small town-in-the-city feel to it. A few coffee shops and provincial shopping places are here and there. But the main business that goes on in Mae Sot is gemstone trading. If you fancy rubies, jade or coloured-glass there are a few bustling gem dealers in Mae Sot. Unlike the Bangkok gemstone scams the gems here, in general, are the real deal.
Mae Sot Facts
Population: Unknown. 16,000 Est (Metropolitan)
Size (Metropolitan): 4 Sq. Miles
Typical Visa Run Destination: You're at it right now!
Seasons and Weather.
Mae Sot isn't the most northerly of Thai cities, but it is in the highlands and can be chilly in the morning and at night, especially in the cool season.
Cool Season - October to February. Avg Temp - 18 C
Hot Season - March to May. Avg Temp - 27 C
Wet Season - June to September. Avg Temp - 25 C.