December 2012
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Mae Hong Son – a city in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand – Part 2

Mae Hong Son is a city in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand.

Overview of Mae Hong Son

• Mae Hong Son is one of the Northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand.
• Mae Hong Son, bordering Burma, is one of the remotest provinces in Thailand.
• Tourists are attracted to the area due to its pristine virgin forests, spectacular mountains, lush valleys, indigenous wildlife and unique hill-tribes.

Sights/Attractions in Mae Hong Son

1. Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
– Built by the first governor of Mae Hong Son, this temple reflects the strong influence of the Burmese.
– The highlights of this attraction are the two lavishly decorated pagodas.
– This hilltop temple affords an exceptional aerial view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys.

2. Tham Pla – Pha Suea National Park
This comprises the following attractions:
• Tham Pla
– This is about 17 kilometres from town.
– It is a popular attraction in Mae Hong Son.
– The surrounding areas are brooks and cool hilly forests.
– A special feature is the hollow cave filled with numerous freshwater fish known as Pla Mung or Pla Khang.
– These fish are of the same family as the carp.
– The fish are quite safe from being caught as they are believed to belong to the gods.

• Namtok Pha Suea
– This waterfall is in Tambon Mokchampae which is about 26 kilometers from the provincial seat.
– It is a large fall with its water source in Burma.
– It runs full during the late rainy season.

• Ban Rak Thai
– This village is situated 44 kilometers from Mae Hong Son via Namtok Pha Suea near the Thai-Myanmar border.
– This village was founded by Kuomintang Chinese soldiers.
– The village is famous for its views and tea cultivation.
– There is an annual Tea Tasting Festival is held at Ban Rak Thai in February.

3. Wat Nam Hoo
– This is at Tambon Wiang Tai which is located 3 km from Pai hospital.
– This temple housed Phra Un Mueang which is a sacred Buddha image in Lanna style.
– It is about 500 years of age, in the attitude of Subduing Mara (victory over Mara).
– The head of the image could open and it always appears to have water seepage inside.

4. Huai Nam Dang National Park
– This is 65 km from the district town has excellent views of the sunset, sunrise and misty mountains.
– Cherry blossom which is during January adds charm to the attraction.

5. Bua Tong Fields at Doi Mae U-Kho
– The Dok Bua Tong (may be classified as wild sunflowers) blooms during November.
– They paint the entire hilly area of Doi Mae U-kho in colorful yellow which draws flocks of visitors to Khun Yuam district.

6. Namtok Mae Surin National Park
– This was given national park status in 1981.
– This natural wonder, which straddles Mueang and Khun Yuam districts, encompasses a wildlife and botanical reserve.
– There is a huge waterfall and a terraced mountain.

7. Wat Chong Kham
– This is located on the bank of the swamp Nong Chong Kham.
– It was built in 1827 by Thai Yai artisans.
– The pillars are gilded with gold flakes.
– The temple houses a large Buddha statue with a lap width of 4.85 meters that was cast by Burmese craftsmen.

8. Phu Klon Country Club
– This club uses natural black mud which has skin care and therapeutic benefits.
– The area has now been developed into a spa resort.

Activities in Mae Hong Son

1. Rafting
– Rafting along the Pai River is a popular recreation.
– There is a lot of rafting pass rapids and natural scenery including waterfalls.

2. Mountain Biking
This is a suitable mode of travel, especially for those wanting to experience the forest and some of the tracks are very narrow.

3. Treks
– Treks are popular with visitors who wish to enjoy the nature and view the variety of hill-tribes.
– The trek is often combined with jungle walks with elephant riding and river rafting.

4. Elephant Trekking
– It is known all over Thailand for its sturdy and strong elephants.
– Many tourists take the opportunity in Mae Hong Son to ride an elephant.

5. Spa
– Mae Hong Son is not well known for its spas.
– Spa service is given at a few of the top places to stay in the provincial town and Pai district.

Local products of Mae Hong Son

– Being in a cool valley, Mae Hong Son is suitable for tea-growing.
– The main area of tea plantations is at Ban Rak Thai, a village near the border between Thailand and Burma.
– The traditional headgear called “Kup” worn by the Thai Yai is wide-brimmed with taper top.
– Together with bamboo blinds and Karen woven fabrics, they are quite popular items to buy among visitors.
– Centers sell a variety of handmade products from woven fabric to wicker-ware.

Nightlife of Mae Hong Son
– In regards to nightlife, Mae Hong Son has very little besides the odd karaoke joint and open air restaurants selling alcohol and playing music.
– Pai District on the other hand is a mini Costa-del-sol with a countless amount of bars and live music venues.

Viewing at Mae Hong Son
– Walk around the picturesque lake and visit the surrounding wats.
– Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu (aka Wat Phai Doi) overlooks the town from the west and offers superb views.

Thailand Hilltribe Holidays
– Offers Tours of Mae Hong Son specializing in the local way of life and non-tourist aspects.
– These include such as visits to traditional Shan villages, see how local handicrafts and products such as sesame are produced.
– They offer pick up from Chiang Mai and tour of Mae Hong Son Loop.

Mae Hong Son Loop
– The provincial capital of Mae Hong Son town is only one part of this vast and beautiful mountain province.
– Explore the rest of the province by taking the popular Mae Hong Son Loop route.
– This route travels through the province on a circuit that starts and ends in Chiang Mai.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• Nonstop 30 minute flights from Chiang Mai are available from Nok Air and Kan Air.
• There are also two direct flights per week from Bangkok with Happy Air.
• As of Aug 2012, there was only NokAir flying from ChiangMai to MHS. No flights directly from Bangkok to MHS.

2. By road
• There are two road options from Chiang Mai, both taking 5-6 hours by car.
• Route 1095 via Pai (280 km) is the more scenic drive.
• Route 108 via Mae Sariang (350 km) is an easier drive.
Mae Hong Son is located 924 kilometers from Bangkok. Drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then choose the following routes to Mae Hong Son.
• Chiang Mai, Hot, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son (Route 108) with 1864 curves, a distance of 349 kilometers.
• Chiang Mai, Mae Malai, Pai, Mae Hong Son (Route 1095), a distance of 245 kilometers.

3. By bus
• Regular bus services connect Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai (Arcade bus terminal) and the entire trip will take at least 7-8 hours.
• A better option is the minibus, also leaving from Arcade in Chiang Mai, which only take 5.5 hours but cost 250 baht.
• If you’re going by bus, you can choose the northern (Pai) or southern (Mae Sariang) route.
• The northern route is a little faster.
• The new bus station is about a 15 minute walk from the center of town to the southwest.
• The bus station is set on a seemingly deserted street that runs parallel to the main road in town.
• There is also an overnight bus to Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) which takes about 15 hours.
• Sombat Tour, operates an air-conditioned bus which runs directly from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son every day.
• The bus departs from Chatuchak (Mochit 2) Bus Terminal at 3, 5 and 6 p.m. with a fare of 718 baht
• Sombat Tour’s site lists a bus leaving Bangkok at 7.45 p.m., but in December 2011 this bus wasn’t running.

4. By train
• The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.
• One can travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by rail and then continue to Mae Hong Son by bus.
• For more information, call 1699, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020.

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at
Hotels at
Hotels at

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Mae Hong Son

Blogs at
Blogs at
Blogs at
Blogs and reviews at

Images and photos of Thailand – Mae Hong Son

Images at
Images at
Images at
Images at

Videos of Thailand – Mae Hong Son

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