It is hard to decide whether Mae Sot is getting busier or not. At Borderline we have welcomed old friends who have returned after a period in exile. Several years ago, a part of the Mae Sot community decided they could be of more use for Burma if they lived in Yangon and slowly we saw the amount of non Thai or people from Burma declining. As a counter point more tourists would pass through Mae Sot and as also more Thai would discover Borderline, we mostly saw a shift in customers.
In March 2020, in a matter of days, dozens of volunteers who were active at the Mae Tao clinic or with one other program, would pack their bags and return home, often urged on by organisations and embassies and the unusual news around covid. From one month to the next, Borderline and many other businesses went from profitable to money leaking. In our first blog about borderline during covid years we wrote how we navigated the months since.
Covid also forced people to leave Yangon, often back to home countries. February 1 was a pivotal moment in Burma and in the weeks and months after that, others left Yangon as well, moving to Bangkok and Chiang Mai and some back to Mae Sot. This return of some of our old friends made Borderline a little more livelier and the months since July has seen a little upturn.
Not just returnees from Yangon, others would come back after a period back home. And new faces showed up as well, and are still showing up. Stable though, it isn’t. Although Mae Sot offers everything that any large city has to offer, places like Chiang Mai have it tenfold. You can’t beat the congestion on Nimman Hemin, and although Mae Sot farmers try hard, there is nothing like the smog in Chiang Mai. So some exchange a stay in Mae Sot for one in Chiang Mai.
According to a variety of news outlets, November will see some relaxations on the covid regulations regarding tourists. With the border still closed this is unlikely to bring hordes to Mae Sot, however even a tiny increase in visitors might help some businesses in Mae Sot.
At Borderline we are of course ready for any influx of visitors and we even have received some new items in our shop. In previous years, this would be the time for us to remind people of the upcoming holidays, and we might do that in a few days.
A few small events are in the pipeline, so keep watching these pages and keep looking at our slowly expanding BorderONline Shop, and send us your thoughts, suggestion or other comments. We might ignore it, discard it, accept it, incorporate it, we sure will read it.
While 2022 is 2 months away, Maung Maung Tinn offers a Preview, soon at Borderline.