Border towns thrive with trading experts and Mae Sai is no exception. Taking a picture at Thailand’s Northernmost Point, with Myanmar a few steps further, this town is the centre for gem-trading and for visitors to take a peek into its way of life.
What makes Mae Sai such a wonderful place, high up in the north? It is a coming and going of all levels of society, seeking new means to trade and finding the latest news from across the border; this is seen from the perspective of its residents and Burmese day visitors who come over to explore one of Thailand’s centres for precious stones and gems. Mae Sai also has been on the radar for many years because of its crisp mountain air, home of numerous hill tribes that convene here too in search for making a living. An essential part of the former Lanna Kingdom, its rural dominance of yesteryear remains a characteristic and magnet for visitors with this on their bucket list. Small in size, but packing a half day full with exploration and mingling with the gem-loving locals at Thailand Northernmost Point will bring you as close as possible to a highlight of the Golden Triangle area.Your guide and driver will be waiting for you at your Chiang Rai hotel lobby (conditions apply), from where we head out northbound towards Mae Sai, a 60-kilometre ride, connecting Thailand with Thakhilek in Myanmar. En route, we make a stop at Baan Wang Lao, one of the few villages where traditional forms of handicraft still form the core of the residents’ steady income. Together with your guide, the walk through the village with locals showcasing their work give you an insight of something truly Thai. Our goal for this half day outing is of course Mae Sai, better known as ’Northern Most Point of Thailand’. Surrounded by mountains, this small border town is sole overland border crossing into Myanmar and with its local market being a focal point for trading, one will see a mix of Thais and Burmese wandering the main street of Mae Sai. It is also the ideal market for gem lovers, where numerous kinds of precious stones from Myanmar, such as rubies, emeralds, jade, and others, are for sale. You will have ample time to walk around and see for yourself what’s for sale here. If you’re interested in buying something, don’t forget to barter – it is the only way to trade in this part of the world and the success of your haggling skills will certainly deliver some smiles.If time permits, we can include a stop at the Wat Phra That Doi Wao situated around 100 meters before the border crossing with Myanmar. This Chedi was built by a ruler of Yonok Nakkhaphan to contain some strands of Buddha's hair. It is thus one of the most ancient and most worshipped Chedis in Chiang Rai. From the vantage points at this temple, you can visit Myanmar by sight, without having to pay the fees or crossing the borders (not included in this tour) It is time to head back to Chiang Rai via the same way as we came, and will bring you back to your Chiang Rai hotel after approximately 4 hours of exploring Mae Sai.