Maesot is right on the Thai-Myanmar (Burma) border and our guidebook said it is a frequented crossing point. We hung out for a few days, enjoyed a decent hotel room with hot water and good water pressure, and a town with readily available food and people willing to serve us.
We had initially thought about spending a week or two in Myanmar and checking out a few sights, but we later decided against it. Myanmar has a totalitarian government that rules with an iron fist. Tourists are allowed, and some do go. But the sights aren't that unique to SE Asia so we decided it wasn't that important to us. A one-day pass was all we needed.
The border run was an easy process. There is a small river with a bridge. From the edge of Maesot we checked out at the Thai booth and walked across the bridge to the Myawadi booth on the Myanmar side. We paid for a one-day entrance and then were free to wander around until 5 P.M. if we so desired. We did not. Myanmar did not look or feel particularly different. It was perhaps a little poorer looking, but than can vary from town to town. The most noticeable contrast was the people's response to our presence. I have never felt like such a spectacle in my life, and I lived in Mexico where I received whistles and cat-calls on an average of ten times per trip down my street. But this was different. It wasn't just the attention of young guys and perverted old men. EVERYONE stared at us. And they felt no shame in it. They would stop whatever they were doing and nearly break their necks straining to keep us in sight. They gawked like we were some kind of mutants with two heads. Our guidebook made it sound like this was an unordinary excursion for tourists crossing into Myanmar, but the way the Burmese treated us you'd think I was literally glowing white or something. So perhaps they don't see many Westerners. Maybe because they all immediately high-tail it back across the border in intimidation. (We actually saw one Western-looking couple do this. They couldn't have gone a block from the immigration booth, and they turned around and headed straight back.) But we did not however. Dane decided if they could stare at us so unabashedly, then he could take photos in an equivalent manner. So he snapped and snapped away...kids in the streets, old ladies in the market, men at work, anything and everything...while I tried to hide behind him. (So all of the photos I've included were taken by him.) We wandered around for several hours before heading back to the Thai side, which was probably the longest amount of time any white person has ever stayed in Myawadi.
After the falls we spent one more day in Um Phang and then we were ready to get out of the wilderness. Before going anywhere else really cool though we had to head back to Maesot. We had been in Thailand nearly a month and our visas were about to expire. We can apply for extension at the Embassy in Bangkok, but that costs money. The alternative is border hopping, in which we exit and re-enter Thailand, acquiring a new 30-day visa in the process. We can only do this twice due to new visa regulations. But it saves us $100 and two trips back to Bangkok.