If your visa is close to expiring but you’d like to stay in Pai/Thailand, you have two options. You can either extend your visa at Mae Hong Son Immigration, or you can leave and re-enter Thailand (aka a visa run/border hop).

If you have already extended your current visa, you will need to do a visa run.

This article covers how to do a visa run from Pai to Maesai & back.

Important notes:

  • At present tourists can only exit & re-enter Thailand by land border twice per calendar year
  • You will need 500baht cash at the Burmese border
  • The border is open 6am-9pm everyday

Where is Maesai?

Maesai is a small border town at the northernmost tip of Thailand. Recently Maesai has become well-known for the Tham Luang cave where 13 Thai schoolkids were rescued.

The Maesai border checkpoint is 331km from Pai and takes 6-7 hours driving. The road quality from Pai to Maesai is very good.

From Maesai you can exit Thailand either on foot on by car into the small Burmese town of Tachileik. As a non-Burmese citizen, you may only enter Tachileik for 1 day whilst your passport is temporarily held by Burmese officials.

Getting to Maesai by motorbike/car

The directions from Pai to Maesai are very simple. The route can be seen here. There are only 2 turns you need to remember:

  • Follow the 1095 road from Pai to Chiang Mai, then after around 2 hours, turn left onto the 107 road when you reach the first set of traffic lights.
  • Follow the 107 road for another 2 hours until it merges onto the 1089 road in Fang.
  • After another hour or so, bear left and merge onto the number 1 road, signposted Maesai
  • Follow this road for another 45 minutes until you reach the border

Can I drive a 110cc-125cc scooter?

Yes, it’s very easy and it’s a beautiful ride. I myself ride a 125cc Honda Click from Pai to Maesai regularly.

One thing to note is that it does hurt your butt after a while, so make sure to take regular breaks. I’d recommend this cafe in Chiang Dao. Make sure you fuel up regularly.

Driving your own car

Driving a car from Pai to Maesai will be far more comfortable (and probably safer, too). Note that parking around the border can be very difficult and as a foreigner, you may not be able to drive your car through (I need verification on this).

Private & Shared Taxis to Maesai

Members of the Pai Family Facebook Group regularly get together and split the cost of hiring a private taxi to drive them to & from Maesai. Depending on the driver and number of passengers, return trips can cost as little as 1,000baht each including fuel.

Getting to Maesai by Bus

Is there a direct Aya Bus?

1. Prempracha from Pai to Chiang Mai Bus Station
2. Green bus from Chiang Mai to Maesai
3. Songtaew or Taxi Bike from Maesai Bus station to the border

Crossing the border at Maesai

Border is open 6am-9pm. You’ll need 500baht to pay the Burmese entry stamp. Bags are scanned on the way back in so don’t buy much more than 1litre of alcohol (or any drugs)

Tips for your Maesai Border Run

1. If you’re not in a rush, break up the trip with a stop in chiang dao and mae sai
2. Cover up, you’ll burn. Wear gloves.
3. Take