Thirty-six kilometres from Mae Sot, Rte 1206 splits southwest off Rte 1090 at Ban Saw Oh and terminates 25km south at the border town of Waley, an important smuggling point.
The Burmese side was once one of two main gateways to Kawthoolei, the Karen nation, but in 1989 the Yangon government ousted the KNU. Until the Thai government cut off all timber trade with Myanmar’s military government, teak was the main border trade. Nowadays there’s a brisk trade in teak furniture instead.
One can visit hill-tribe villages near Ban Chedi Kok, or the Highland Farm and Gibbon Refuge (www.members.tripod.com/highlandfarm; Km 42.8, Rte 1090) near Phop Phra. The latter is a private facility that cares for gibbons and other animals that have been rescued from captivity. It is possible to volunteer and live at the sanctuary, but there is a three-day minimum at a charge of US$25 per person per day, or US$600 per month. The fee includes a very nice room and three meals per day.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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