A booming border town

The small border town of Myawaddy is usually visited only briefly by travellers crossing to or from Thailand’s Mae Sot. Those heading into Burma are typically on their way to Mawlaymyine and Hpa-an, but those staying a day here will find a few decent spots to sleep and eat and a couple of sights worth checking out, including a great local market.

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Until recently, Myawaddy was a remote outpost on the edge of a war zone. But the town is clearly on the up now, with a peace treaty between the government and Karen autonomists holding fast – at least for now. The Burmese town is connected to Thailand by a new (as of 2016) Friendship Bridge, which arches over the shallow Moei River to Mae Sot. A modern Thai-built highway leads into the rest of Burma via the scenic Dawna Mountains.

Myawaddy views. : Mark Ord.
Myawaddy views. Photo: Mark Ord

The bridge touches ground on Myawaddy’s main street, connecting from a dusty outskirt of Mae Sot some five kilometres from its centre. It’s one of the rare border crossings where the Burmese side seems more inviting and indeed modern than the Thai side.

The first thing you’ll see upon crossing into town is the delightful terrace of the well-placed River View Guesthouse and Restaurant, after which banks, shops, cafes and travel agents line the busy four-lane main street. Perhaps because it is currently the quickest land crossing to use between Bangkok and Yangon, Myawaddy makes remoter crossings such as Kawthaungand Tachileiklook almost sedate, though it does lack the latter’s vast ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 900 words.)

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