The vast majority of travelers who cross from Mae Sai to Tachileik see little of the Myanmar side beyond the big market selling cheap music and movies (great deals) and pretty much anything else a person could possibly want from China. Indeed, most Westerners get their stamp on the Thai side, another on the Burmese side, and that’s about it before returning to Thailand.
But if you spend the night in Tachileik and explore the town at the crack of morning, you will find a side street full of clichÃ©: a riotous, vibrant morning market (you might even say it’s bustling). It’s worth the wander:
Plenty of Shan snacks to be had, many with sticky rice and peanuts or beans. Good, hearty start to the day.
You’ll have a few of these guys trailing you, and when you donate to the cause, they’ll remember. They’ll catch you later on the street with a quick, whispered “thank you” between grinning lips.
It’s transportation as usual.
And you’ll want to park your rump on a little wooden bench and ask the boy for a bowl of this. It’s Shan-style khao soi, or kao soy. Spell it as you wish, but note that around here there are two different terms spoken and used in two different ways, neither of which resembles the khao soi of Chiang Mai fame. (I’ll expand on this later.) But basically, this khao soi is a rice-noodle soup with chicken and pork in a spicy broth with herbs and a tomato paste that resembles a very similar khao soi I had in Laos last yearâ€”no coconut, no crispy egg noodles. But…. more on all of that later. When we return.