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Mae Hong Son, Thailand's second northernmost provincial city, 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, for the distance of 349 kms. or Highway No. 1095 via Pai which shortens the distance to some 274 kilometers.
MAE HONG SON's ATTRACTIONS
Wat Phraihat 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 the one in Myanmar.
Wat Phra Non contains a huge Burmese-style reclining Buddha image some 12 meters long. The temple also houses ashes of Mae Hong Son kings. Two massive stone lions guard the temple staircase.
Wat Kam Ko Another name of this temple is Wat Dok Bun Nak which is shady and pleasant having ancient scriptures written in the ancient local dialect informing the history of Thai Yai people.
Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham These two monasteries share the same compound. A part from the glass paintings depicting Buddhism and simply life style of the villagers which draw much attention from visitors, there are over 30 wood carving dolls taken from Myanmar during the past century.
Pha Bong Dam about 12 kilometers outside Mae Hong Son, has been constructed across the Mae Ra Mat River for generation electrical power.
Pha Bong Hot Spring is located in Tambon Pha Bong about 11 kms. from township area.
Nam Hu Hai Chai , located in Tambon Phabong, is a small pool in the cave from which the water flows out every 45 minutes and there is a breathing sound before the water flows. This is how the place derived its name, 'Nam Hu Hai Chia'. A trip on foot from Ban Hua Nam Mae Sakut takes about 3-4 hours.
Ban Nam Phiang Din is a destination in Tambon Pha Bong of 2-hour long motor boat trip or 1-day rafting along Pai River via Ban Huai Dua, a scenic route with marvellous terraced cataracts. Not too far beyond Ban Nam Phiang Din, within Myanmar territory, lies another frequented tourist destination know as "Pha Hom Nam"
Long-Necked Karen (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 increases according to their ages. Their should blades are pressed lower and lower while their necks seem to be longer and longer.
Wat To Phae is located 7 kms. from Khun Yuam Market having large beautiful Burmese style vihara. According to legend, it is said that raft assembling people used to gather up in this area prior to making a teak tree raft trip to the marketing places. They, then, combined their efforts to build the temple and called Wat To Phae.
Wat Muai To in Ban Khun Yuam houses a huge and beautiful northern-style pagoda.
Nam Tok Mae Surin National Park has its area covering Amphoe Muang and Amphoe Khun Yuam. The main tourist spot 'Nam Tok Mae Surin' is located about 30 kms. from Amphoe Khun Yuam in Ban Mae Surin. This beautiful one tiered water fall of 100 metre in height cascades down the cliff to the lower valley. For accommodation in the national park, contact the National Parks Division, Royal Forestry Department, Tel.. 579-0529, 579-4842 or address to Nam Tok Mae Surin National Park, P.O. Box 16, Amphoe Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000.
Wild - Sunflower Field Doi Mae U - Kho covers the area of 1,000 rail of Wild-Sunflowers, all are in full bloom between the month of November and December which make the hills and surrounding areas look like being plated with gold.
Nom Tok Mae U-Kho, situated at Doi Mae U-Kho, has been discovered in 1987. Just short distance before reaching Thung Bua Tong, the field of the Mexican Sunflowers, there is a branch road running for about 3 kms. to this waterfall. The one tiered waterfall, 30 meters high, flows down between the giant rocks. In the middle part of the flowing water, there is a wide rocky space where visitors can walk through to closely view the cascading water.
Nong Haeng Hot Spring, 25 kms. from Amphoe Khan Yuam, turn left at KM. 174 for 1 km.
Mea La-up Lawa Village in Tambon Huai Hom, is situated in the area where three districts meet: Mae Chaem, Mae La Noi and Mae Sariang. The culture, architecture, costumes and character of the hilltribes here are different from other hilltribes in Thailand. The attraction of this village is its hilltop location with beautiful view. Visitors can easily visit the village for it is only about 32 kilometers from the district.
Huai Hom Karen Village is about 4 kilometers from Ban La-up. Its villagers adhere to their religion and have gentle and polite manners. As the hilltribe community development certer is established in the village, the villagers have been taught to make clothes from wool and how to grow fruits and other plants of temperate climate. Therefore, this village serves as a good model for other hill tribes.
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 Latina Kingdom.