TAK

 
On traveling to Tak Province, expect to discover a place with long history, where natural wonders are magnificently enhanced by ethnic diversity.

Mostly forested and mountainous, Tak is a northern province peacefully situated on the Maenam Ping basin. The province covers an area of 16,406 square kilometers and is 426 kilometers north of Bangkok. As Tak shares natural border with Myanmar, it is highly regarded as a western gateway to Myanmar, and a northern doorway to Thailand's major cities such as Lampang and Chiang Mai.

The Past
A province with a long history, Tak was earlier called Mueang Rahang. Historians believe it was built prior to the Sukhothai era and was treated as the western frontier of the Kingdom. Tak was also associated with Thailand's former Great Kings, from King Ramkamhaeng the Great, King Naresuan the Great, King Narai the Great to King Taksin the Great. These four Kings usually called their troop assemblies in Tak. That is why the seal of the province depicts King Naresuan the Great on the royal elephant, pouring sacred water on the ground. This is a symbolic representation of the declaration of the independence of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya during the war with Burma in 1584. Tak was considered the first district to be liberated from the power of the Burmese Kingdom.

The Present
Today, Tak is no longer a strategic military frontier between two great nations. It is however a trading gateway to Myanmar at Amphoe Mae Sot, where lots of economic activities take place daily along the border. In addition, the province has the Asian Highway that runs from Thailand's western border towards the northeastern region at Chong Mek (Mae Sot Sukhothai Phitsanulok Ubon Ratchathani - Laos).

Apart from Tak's military and economic importance the province is also an environmental and cultural center with magnificent forests, spectacular waterfalls and caves and fascinating hill tribes such as Karen, Lisu, Musoe (Lahu), Akha, Yao and Hmong.

Amphoe Mae Sot

Doi Muser Crops Research Station
 
The research station is stationed on Thanon Thongchai Mountain, which is 900 meters above the sea level. With an average temperature of 4 degrees celsius during the cool season and 25 degrees celsius in the summer, the Research Station is considered a perfect place for cold climate crops such as tea, coffee, flowers and fruits. In addition, during the cool season, visitors will be able to see Dok Bua Tong (wild sunflowers) like those found on mountains in Mae Hong Son Province.

Doi Musur Hilltribe Development & Welfare Center
  The Center is located on the Tak-Mae Sot Highway No. 105 at km. 29 marker. It is the area where Lahu, Lisu and Hmong hilltribes are located. Visitors find this place to be a living library as they can actually observe the lifestyles of hilltribe people. Staying overnight, or over a week with a hilltribe family is highly recommended visitors will be provided with the chance to learn about their culture. For more information, please call the Center at 0 5221 3614.

Hilltribe Market

  This shop is located along the Tak-Mae Sot Highway No. 105 approximately at the km. 29 marker. A wide range of local fruits and vegetables, silverware and clothes are on sale from early morning until late afternoon.

Mae Sot

 
This westernmost district is located along Maenam Moei on the Thai border, approximately 86 kilometers from the city of Tak. Facing Myanmar on the opposite bank, Mae Sot has so much to offer tourists. It is a shopping paradise for gemstones lovers as it is has now become a major trading spot for jade and gems and for general shopaholics who can shop at the municipal market (behind Siam Hotel) for cheap Burmese clothing, cigarettes, decorative items, original Burmese blankets and slippers, etc. Mae Sot is easily reached by traveling on Highway No. 105 from Tak city.

Mysterious Hill

  Believe it or not, a small hill on Tak-Mae Sod Highway No. 105 at km. 68 marker attracts flocks of visitors. They have traveled to this spot to investigate something. Park your car at the foot of this hill, turn off the engine, a mysterious force will push your car up the hill.

Namtok Pha Charoen

  A spectacular 97-tiered waterfall is located between kilometers 36 and 37 on Highway 1090. To enter the site, turn left at approximately km. 36-37 markers to a dirt road off of the highway and proceed for another 700 meters to reach the site.

Talat Rim Moei

  Situated on the bank of Maenam Moei, Talad Rim Moei is a place where local products and precious stones such as jade and garnet from Myanmar are available. Tourists interested in visiting Myawadi in Myanmar (just across Maenam Moei) can take boats from this market.

Thai-Myanmar Friedship Bridge

  This bridge which connects the Asian Highway between Thailand and Myanmar, is located at Tambon Tha Sai Luad, opposite a town called Myawadi in Myanmar. The Asian Highway also runs to other regions in South Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The bridge opens daily from 8.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. Border passes for a fee of 20 baht for Thais and 10 baht for people from Myanmar can be obtained from either Mae Moei City or Mae Sot Municipal.

Amphoe Umphang

Ban Loe Tong Ku

 
Lae Tong Ku is a village where residents still wear traditional clothes and continue to live a simple life. The Karen living in this village differs from other Karens as they worship a Hermit. They have their own rites which are chanted by the head of Lae tong Ku village. They also worship an image of the Lord Buddha crafted out of a sacred 400-year old tusk. To enter the village, permission from the 347th Border Patrol Police must be obtained. Call 055 561 008 for more information. Visitors are not recommended to travel on their own.

Ban Pa La Tha
 
An ancient Karen village where villagers still dress in their original costumes, Pa La Tha is a place for visitors who appreciate Karens' traditional way of life. The village is located along the rafting route to Thi Lo su, Thi Lo Cho and Thi Lo Re. It usually is the stopover spot for visitors who want to stay overnight before rafting to the waterfalls and for those who love the challenge of trekking and elephant riding.

Ban Thi Po Chi


 
Another Karen village situated in the middle of a scenic forest. The houses in Thi Po Chi are made of natural materials such as logs and leaves within the serene natural environment. For more information, call the TAT Office in Tak Province at 05 551 4341-3.

Doi Hua Mot

 
Doi Hua Mot is situated in Ban Umphang, just 4 kilometers from Umphang city. Limestone hills without single large tree but carpeted by blossoming shrubs and wild flowers stretching for approximately 30 kilometers, Doi Hua Mot is definitely a place for people who welcome a break from typical hills. The peak of Doi Hua Mot is ideal place to appreciate the Sea of mist and spectacular sunrise at dawn. The lookout point provides a panoramic view of Umphang and the breathtaking lush, fertile forests.

Namtok Sepla

  This medium-size waterfall is located in the area of Ban Sepla, Tambon Mae Lamung. The unique feature of the waterfall which has a width of about 10 meters and a length of about 50 meters lies in its cascading tiers with water flowing over a limestone cliff down several tiers.

Namtok Thi Lo Cho (Falling Rain Waterfall)

  Located approximately 3 kilometers from Umphang along the Umphang-Ban Palatha route, Thi Lo Cho is an 80-meter high medium-sized waterfall. Its first tier, located on a high cliff, has a stream of water that flows to the second tier which then flows down to Maenam Mae Klong. The name Thi Lo Cho is derived from the fact thath the stream, when flowing down to the rocks below, sprinkles like rain all year round. The surrounding areas of Namtok Thi Lo Cho are covered with green moss and ferns.

Namtok Thi Lo Re

  A newly-developed tourist attraction, Namtok Thi Lo Re is also situated in the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary (declared by the UNESCO as a world heritage in 1999). Thi Lo Rae differs from other Thi Lo waterfalls in that it is the only waterfall that runs down to the rock.


To get there from Mae Sot, take a left turn to enter Highway No. 1090 (Mae Sot-Umphang) and proceed for 164 kilometers. The trip takes approximately 4-5 hours.

Namtok Thi Lo Rae is accessible by rafting along Maenam Mae Klong. Visitors can choose to travel from Umphang to the Karen village either by car or raft, then staying overnight there and continuing the journey by raft. For those who consider rafting a relaxing activity, please note that it's a 2-day rafting trip. Although it's highly recommended to travel during November-January, please call the TAT Office in Tak Province (Tel: 05 551 4341-3) for more information.

Namtok Thi Lo Su

  Namtok Thi Lo Su is located in the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which links with the Thung Yai Naresuan and Huay Kha Kaeng Reserves, as well as Khlong Lan and Mae Wong National Parks. Together, they form Thailand's largest wildlife haven and Southeast Asia's top virgin forest.

Thi Lo in the local language means waterfall and Su means loud, thus, Thi Lo Su means waterfall that makes a loud noise. This is due to its size and the intense flow of the stream. In Karen, "Thi Lo Su" means Black Waterfall.

The biggest and the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand, Namtok Thi Lo Su is also considered the sixth biggest waterfall in the world. The waterfall itself originates from Huai Klotho, streaming along limestone cliffs at the height of 200-300 meters down to cascading tiers which are surrounded by intact natural forests. There is a cave behind the waterfall worth exploring and several levels of pools for swimming.

To get there, visitors can either raft or drive. For those deciding to drive a 4WD vehicle, the distance is 47 kilometers from Umphang to the wildlife sanctuary office. From there, visitors have to walk along the 1.5 kilometers self-guided forest trail which provides unrivalled natural forest scenery. Please note that vehicles can possibly reach the office only during November to April. In the rainy season, Thi Lo Su is accessible only by rafting along Maenam Mae Klong. From the drop-off point, visitors have to continue on foot for approximately 4-5 hours.

Camping at the Wildlife Sanctuary Headquarters is allowed near the falls, especially during November December, when the waterfall is at its most beautiful.

Visitors are advised to make enquiries with the TAT Office in Tak Province (Tel: 05 551 4341-3) regarding travel conditions and camping opportunities.

Tham Takhobi

  A spacious cave naturally and beautifully decorated with stalagmites and stalactites is located in Ban Mae Klong Mai, approximately 3 kilometers from Umphang. The cave itself is 3 kilometers deep with a large chamber inside the cave with a walkway connecting to Ban Mae Klong Mai.

Umphang

  164 kilometers south of Mae Sot on Highway 1090 is Umphang District which is another district in Tak Province that shares a border with Myanmar. Highway No. 1090 from Mae Sot to Umphang offers a picturesque view with the highest peak at 1,200 meters above sea level along the 164 kilometers of winding roads that takes approximately 4 hours to complete. However, travelers coming from Tak city, have to travel along Highway No. 105 (Tak-Mae Sot route), then turn on to the Mae Satum Phang Highway (Highway No. 1090). The total distance is 249 kilometers.

Part of a World Heritage Site, Umphang is renowned for its natural charming beauty and jungle trekking and rafting activities that visitors put at the top of their travel agenda.

Apart from numerous attractions suitable for ecotourism, Umphang is a former Karen settlement and is currently home to several hill tribes including Karen, Lisu, Hmong, Mien and Lahu. Umphang is populated mostly by Karen people who are in particular, very traditional. They live simply and maintain contact with nature using elephants at work and as a means of transportation.


 How To Get There
Distances from Amphoe Muang to Other Districts:

  Ban Tak 22 kms.
  Sam Ngao 56 kms.
  Mae Sot 86 kms.
  Mae Ramat 120 kms.
  Phop Phra 135 kms.
  Tha Song Yang 170 kms.
  Umphang 221 kms.
  Wang Chao 38 kms.
Distances from Tak to Neighbouring Provinces:

  Kamphaeng Phet 68 kms.
  Sukhothai 79 kms.
  Phichit 157 kms.
  Nakhon Sawan 185 kms.

Travelling to Tak

By Car

From Bangkok: take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin) and Highway No. 32 to Nakhon Sawan via Ayutthaya, Ang Thong, Sing Buri and Chai Nat Provinces, then take Highway No. 1 again and proceed to Tak via Kamphaeng Phet Province. The total distance is 426 kilometers
By Bus

From Bangkok: Air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit 2 Bus Terminal)to Tak between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day. The journey takes 6 hours.
By Rail

From Bangkok: There are no trains going directly to Tak. The nearest train transfer station is Phitsanulok. From there, tourists can take a local bus to Tak.
By Air

From Bangkok: Thai Airways flies from Bangkok to Mae Sot, a district which is 86 kilometers from the City of Tak.


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