Mae Sam Laep

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. #1 DavidFL, Oct 22, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Just a quick note to confirm that the road out to Mae Sam Laep from Mae Sarieng sucks.
    More images coming later, but in the meantime here are some phone pics of the Salween at Mae Sam Laep on the Thai - Myanmar border.
  2. Sad as Mae Sam Laep is such an intriguing place, a spot all riders in northern Thailand should visit at least once. Lunch a la Bangladesh!

    Of course the best way to visit is to tie it up with a boat ride, but I am unsure if this is still a possible given unrest on the border, problems in the refugee camps & perhaps river heights.

    When I was down there - see - it was the last major river in SE Asia which had not yet been dammed......have the Chinese finally 'nailed the one remaining water gem?
  3. #3 DavidFL, Oct 24, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017

    The original road was a toughie.

    Famous for the 65 stream crossings in the last 15 kms as the road followed the river.

    Mae Sam Laep boomed once upon a time - the Karen HQs across the river, logging from Myanmar, but also a lot from Thailand - the Salween National Park - Wildlife Sanctuary, logs from Thailand put in the Salween River, floated downstream & then imported back into Thailand as timber from Myanmar.


    Clever guys, but very naughty plundering the nation's assets. The road was an absolute mess with the logging trucks bringing out thousands of logs - deep bull dust in the dry & then deep mud & ruts in the wet. The logging stopped & the Burmese attacked the Karen camp HQs opposite, over ran it & the Karens fled to set up a new HQs much further south.
    In those days Mae Sam Laep was pretty much a wild west town & was always exciting to visit. Mae Sarieng boomed on the trade at the border.
    It's a bit of a backwater now, although you can still do boat trips on the Salween up & downstream; & some guys still put their bikes on the boat for an adventure.
    The road was fixed & in good condition for a few years, but due to the nature of the terrain & weather it is now full of potholes, broken asphalt, except for a couple of superb newly repaired sections. And indeed there is lots of heavy duty road works going on to restore the road. The cost of this is probably chewing up most of Mae Sarieng's road maintenance / development budget.
    Check it out if you want, but not on a sport bike I'd say.


    The river is wild around here & famous for it's whirlpools = you don't swim in the Salween it is too dangerous.




    Boats often crash, go under such is the nature of the river.


    The Burmese may even shoot at you.

    The Burmese army camp on the other side


    The ratty road in

    No more stream crossings except entering Mae Sam Laep proper - the concrete bridge was washed away again last year.


    Mae Sam Laep city

    Massive road works


    Saving the road from collapse

    A super duper new section, albeit too short.
    but how long will it last - 2 or 3 wet seasons max??

    The Salween - famous for its fish


    Mae Sam Laep has a guesthouse, if you want to stay over night

    but I understand it looks a lot better on the outside.
    Who wants to go & check it out for a trip report.

    Thanks Rod Page for the link & earlier report.

    Here's another from 2004 when the road to MSL was good


    MSL 2004


    Cheers one & all.

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