:: TAK

Tak is a northern province covering an area of 16,406 largely mountainous square kilometres. The provincial capital is 426 kilometres north of Bangkok, and is situated on the Ping river basin. To the west, the border touches on Myanmar demarcated by mountain ranges and the Moei River.

:: Attractions

Nearby is a staute of King Taksin the Great , a former governor of Tak who mobilized the Thais, and successfully reunited the nation after Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767. To the north of Mae Sot is the Taksin Maharat National Park , featuring a steeply descending trail to the huge krabak tree, measuring 50 m tall and a girth of 16 m. The park is a haven for bird watching. Another park highlight is the 9-tiered Mae Ya Falls.

Wat Bot Mani Sibunruang in town reflects the Northern influence with its finely decorated Lanna-sytel bot. The temple houses the highly revered Buddha image of Luang Pho Phutthamon.

In mid-19th century, Burmese and Shan merchants from Burma crossed the Moei River to establish Mae Sot as a prosperous market town. In recent years, trade in hardwood and gems have brought considerable wealth to the town, though it has still retained the feel of a frontier town. Because of its location and history, the town has been heavily influenced by the Burmese, evident in temple architecture and market goods. The border market here is a magnet for all travelers.

Among the attractions in Mae Sot is Wat Thai Watthanaram , built in the Tai Yai architectural style with a huge, Burmese-style reclining Buddha in the courtyard. A little further beyond the temple is a bridge that links Mae Sot with the Burmese border town of Myawadi. Clustered around the foot of the bridge is a large market selling odd mixes of Thai, Chinese, and Burmese goods.

Mon Krathing , located 114 km north from Mae Sot, has popular viewing points overlooking the valley and border area. It is particularly beautiful in the early mornings.

The 800-m deep limestone cavern of Mae U-Su Cave lies close to the border and has a stream running through it. During the rainy season, the stream may swell and the caves might be inaccessible. Throughout the year, the cave is damp and slippery. Visitors enter at one point and exit from another, making a steep descent to a trail that leads back to the starting point. Karen villagers regularly travel through this passage from their Burmese villages to work in the rice fields in the village, which is located near the cave entrance.

The Mae U-Su Cave is part of the Moei National Park , established in 1999. Driving on the steeply rising, zigzag road to the camping area and visitor center offers a breathtaking overview of the Moei River. Viewing the sea of mists in the early morning hours is best at Mon Kew Lom viewing point.

The remote town of Umphang takes 4-5 hrs to reach from Mae Sot due to winding and steeply ascending roads, which is part of its charm since the road is one of the most scenic. The village consists mainly of Karen hilltribe people and is surrounded by the lush forests of Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary , rich in bird life, small mammals, many cascades, rapids, and caves. In recent years, Umphang has become a popular place for rafting, hiking, and elephant trekking.

Located in the sanctuary is the spectacular Thi Lo Su Waterfall , one of the country's highest waterfalls and a highlight of rafting on a tributary of the Mae Klong River.

Extending northwards towards Chiang Mai's Hot District, the Bhumibol Dam was built in 1957 to serve agricultural purposes, but later transformed into an electricity-generating source. The Bhumibol Dam and Mae Ping Lake offer a panoramic view, especially in the morning and late afternoon, and a variety of recreational activities, includes cruises, golf and trekking trails.