Mae Hong Son Tourist Information and Travel Guide
Mae Hong Son Travel Information
Mae Hong Son Covers some 13,232 square kilometres, is bordered to the
west and north by Myanmar (Burmar), and exhibits considerable Burmese
influence in its religious architecture and rural lifestyles.
920 kilometres north of Bangkok, the petite and sleepy provincial
capital is most conveniently visited from the Thai capital by a daily
Bangkok Airways flight. Thai Airways International also operates daily
flights from Chiang Mai. Those who opt to travel by road from Chiang
Mai, particularly from Chom Thong and Hot, will discover the journey
entails negotiating many hairpin bends through forested mountains,
and passing through much of the most enduringly spectacular scenery
in northern Thailand.
The provincial capital
nestles in a valley sheltered by jungled mountains. Besides being
a dormitory town, with airconditioned resort hotel accommodation,
bungalow complexes, guest-houses and spartan native-style hotels to
suit every budget, the capital is the major provincial shopping centre
for souvenirs -- which include hilltribe handicrafts and textiles,
and a broad range of exotic traditional headgear. The capital also
contains several noteworthy temples.
The most prominent,
the hilltop Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, dominates the capital. The
temple offers an exhilarating view of the provincial capital, its
verdant valley and mountain surrounds, and was constructed by the
first Mae Hong Son ruler during the mid-1800s.
temples include the lakeside Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham in the
town centre which houses glass paintings and Burmese puppets, Wat Hua
Wiang, and Wat Phra Non which contains a 12-metre Burmese-style reclining
Click here for Mae Hong Son Hotels & Resort Reservation
flies daily to Mae Hong Son from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Buses also serve
Mai Hong Son from both cities. From Bangkok the bus trip takes 17 hours.
Motorbike can also be rented in Chiang Mai. Traffic is infrequent but
watch out for trucks on bends.
BY ROAD FROM CHIANG MAI
The scenic route from
Chiang Mai via Hot and Mae Sariang to Mae Hong Son passes several noteworthy
attractions. Some 25 kilometres before reaching Mae Sariang, the wild
sunflower fields of Doi Mae Ho provide a colourful sight during November
and December. A large Karen village, Pha Ma Lo, some 3 kilometres from
the Mae Sariang market, is renowned for reasonably priced hand- woven
fabrics. Village maidens are distinguished by their white apparel.
Mae Sam Laep, a picturesque
Salawein River hamlet some 46 kilometres south of Mae Sariang, on
Highway 1085, is a popular venue for rafting along local stretches
of the river dividing Thailand and Myanmar. North of Mae Sanang, on
Highway 108, are the Mae Ha Cave and Mae Na Hot Springs, both a popular
with local tourists. At Km 220 on Highway 108, the Mae Surin waterfall,
are in the Namtok Mae Surin National Park, is believed to be the highest
waterfall in Thailand. Nearby, the 250-acre wild sunflower fields
of Doi Mae U-Kho are in full bloom between November and December.
One of the most exotic sights
in Mae Hong Son is that of the Pa Dong Karens, a hilltribe community farming
rice, tea and tobacco. Certain Pa Dong females 'elongate' their necks
from an early age with brass which is coiled around their necks to give
a brass ring effect. The greater number of coils is believed to enhance
physical beauty and increase aesthetic appeal. Older women wear as many
as 20, or more, brass coils around their necks. Pa Dong Karens can be
seen in their natural environment at Ban Nam Phiang Din near the Thai-Burmese
border, which entails a 45-minute longtail boat ride through scenic country,
or a 36-kilometre drive through rugged landscape.
REVERING & ROAD ADVENTURES
or track motorcycles are the best ways of exploring Mae Hong Son's country
roads, which perpetually twist and turn around mountainsides, edging
the Thai-Burmese border.
Those who enjoy revering
exploration can enjoy the Pai River. Some 180 kilometres in length,
and an average of 30 metres wide and 7 metres in depth, the river
offers several opportunities for adventurous raft, boat and trekking
Hong Son, Thailand's second northernmost provincial capital, is sheltered
by several high mountains and enjoys a cool climate almost all year
round. In the past, the town was isolated from the outside world for
lack of good transportation and communications. The province is bordered
by Myanmar to the North and West, and a strong Burmese influence can
be seen in the provincial capital's temples and buildings.
Mae Hong Son is administratively
divided into 6 Amphoes and 1 King Amphoe namely: Muang, Mae Sa Riang,
Mae La Noi, Pai, Khun Yuam, Sop Moei and King Amphoe Pang Ma Pha. With
an area of 12,681 square kilometers, Mae Hong Son can be reached from
Chiang Mai either by Highway No. 108 via Mae Sa Riang, or Highway No.
1095 via Pai which shortens the distance to some 274 kilometers.
Click here for Mae Hong Son Hotels & Resort Reservation
Muang Sam Mok Festival
Feb 1-7: Mae Hong Song, the City of Three Mists.
Feb 14 Cultural and Kantoke evening at Huay Mae Sai, Mai Hong Song,
Call: ( 66-53-611 198 ).
Phra Buddha Chinart
To honour one of Thailand's most sacred Budhha image enshrined at
Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanulok. Features assorted entertainment
such as folk theatre and ran-wong dancing.
Boi Sang Long
Mar-Apr, Mae Hong Son. Photogenic ordination of novice monks in make-up
and costume carried on shoulders through town in a procession by the
local Thai Yai ethic group.
Call TAT: ( 66-53-248 604, 248 607, 241 466 ).
Click here for Mae Hong Son Hotels & Resort Reservation
In The City
Wat Phrathat Doi
Kong Mu is a Burmese-style temple which dominates the provincial
capital. Constructed by Phraya Singhanatracha, the first King of Mae
Hong Son, the hilltop temple affords a wonderful view of the capital
and surrounding mountains and valleys.
Wat Hua Wiang
contains the image of Phra Chao Pha Ra La Kheng a replica of one in
Chong Klang, Wat Chong Kham houses glass paintings and woodcarvings
brought from Myanmar some 100 years ago.
Wat Phra Non
contains a huge Burmese style Reclining Buddha image of about 12 meters
long. The temple also houses ashes of Mae Hong Son kings. Two massive
stone lions guard the temple staircase.
Pha Bong Dam about
12 kilometers outside Mae Hong Son, has been constructed across the
Mae Ra Mat River for generating electrical power.
Pha Bong Hot Spring
and Nam Hu Hai Chai Spring is located nearby Pha Bong Dam.
Along Highway No. 108
Wat Muai To in
Ban Khun Yuam houses a huge and beautiful northern-style pagoda.
Mae Surin National Park which is believed to be Thailand's highest
falls, is located at km. 220 on Highway No. 108, some 30 kilometers
from Amphoe Khun Yuam.
Wild - Sunflower
Field Doi Mae U - Kho Covers the area of 1,000 rais of Wild Sunflower,
all are in full bloom between the month of October and December which
make the hills and surrounding areas look like plated with gold.
Tham Mae Hu and
Tham Mae La Ka at km. 108, between Amphoe Khun Yuam and Mae La
Mae Hu and Mae
La Ka Hot Springs Both have water hot enough to boil eggs.
Wat Kitti Wong
is another temple worth visiting. It houses Lord Buddha relics brought
from Chiang Mai, and manuscripts discovered in Tham Phra Daeng recounting
the history of relations between Myanmar and the Lanna Kingdom.
The Tribal Development
& Assistance Centre-Doi Mae Ho at Km. 84 is administered by the
Public Welfare Department. Most of the hill tribe people in this centre
are of Karen ancestry. The scenic area is noted for colourful flower
Karen Village Pha
Ma Lo Located from Mae Sa Riang market about 3 kms., the villagers
have a very interesting way-of-life with handicrafts for sale to visitors.
Tham Pla Forest Park
where numerous fish live peacefully in streams inside the cave, is located
at Km. 17.
Namtok Pha Sua
Forest Park is located in the Forest Park of the same name, 18
Kms. from town a lateral road branches off for about 10 kilometers
to the park. The 7 - level cataract is huge and picturesque. The best
time to visit the falls is between early August and late September.
Meo Tribal Village
is a peaceful tribal village, located about 35 kilometres further
up the track to Namtok Pha Sua, near the Thai - Myanmar border.
Tham Lot Forest
Park some 60 kilometres from Mae Hong Son town, a laterite road
to the left runs a further 8 kilometres. It is a place where antiques
and pre-historic remains were found. This huge cave is beautifully
decorated with colourful stalagmites and stalactites.
Lisu Tribal Village
at Pang Paek is another tribal village worth visiting, located
some 30 kilometres before reaching Amphoe Pai.
Wat Nam Hu
about 3 kilometers from Pai Market contains a sacred Chiang Saen Buddha
image, 24 inches wide at the base and 30 inches high. The image's
topknot can be opened. Inside is holy water revered by local folk.
Namtor Mo Paeng
Located from Amphoe Pai about 8-9 kms., and can be reached conveniently
by car. The surrounding area is shady and beautiful. Nearby is a peaceful
Muser tribe village.
Muang Paeng Hot
Located from Amphoe Pai about 35 kms., with water heat 90 Â°C.
Huai Nam Dang National
Park is covered the area of Amphoe Mae Taeng, Chiang Ma and Amphoe
Pai, Mae Hong Son. It is located at Km. 66 on Highway 1095 and turn
left for about 66 kms. It commands a breathtaking view of sea of mist.
flower beds and Lisu tribal people.
Rafting Along Pai River
its approximately length of 180 kms., 30 m. width and 7 m. depth, the
Pai River is the biggest and longest river in Mae Hong Son. This challenges
the adventurous lover to raft along this river, and three most suitable
points are recommended. They are:
- Source of the River
to Amphoe Pai: Starting from Hua Chang Kaeo, 16 kms. Amphoe Pai
to Wiang Nua Bridge or Ban Chumphon near Amphoe Pai, taking about
6 hours. Most suitable time to raft is between October - March,
and 2 weeks prior contact for the raft is recommended.
- From Amphoe Pai
to Amphoe Muang: Starting from Ban Mo Tang, 30 kms. from Amphoe
Pai to Ban Pang Mu in Amphoe Muang. The distance of this route is
about 70 kms and takes at least 5 days of rafting, and dug to much
difference in water level at one point of the Pai River along this
route therefore, two rafts setting are required to change at this
mentioned point. More information of rafting along this route can
be obtained from official at Pai District Office.
- From Amphoe Muang
to Thai - Myanma Border Starting from Ban Huai Dua, Tambon Pha Bong,
about 6 kms. from Amphoe Muang, to the border at Ban Nam Phiang
Dir. Normally this section of the Pai River is more enjoyable to
cruise along by the long - tailed motor boat which only takes 2-3
hour returned trip or trekking on elephant back instead of rafting
since the nature and scenery are fascinated and beautiful.
(or Pa Dong tribe) is a hill - tribe living deep inside Myanmar border
with Thailand's Ban Nam Phiang Din. Women of this tribe wear brass rings
on their necks and limbs. The number of the rings increase according
to their ages. Their shoulder blades are pressed lower and lower while
their necks seem to be longer and longer.