Mae Hong Son – About Mae Hong Son in Thailand

When you learn more about Mae Hong Son, you’ll understand that a visit there gives you opportunity to taste a culture very foreign to westerners. On your trip to this frontier town, you can stop in a several small villages along the way to admire, and perhaps buy, local ceramics that have been made by the same method for hundreds of years. The city is located more than 800 km from Bangkok, although it is not far from Chiang Mai. Mae Hong Son is surrounded by beautiful misty mountains, which are an excellent area for hiking, and is next to Jong Kham, a small lake that provides a number of tourist activities.

 Mae Hong Son, Thailand Thailand,  Mae Hong Son

Getting there

This northern Thai town can be reached in a few different ways – airplane, car, bus or train. There are flights directly from Bangkok but it is best to arrange these in advance, before you leave for Thailand. You can also fly in from Chiang Mai, an easy flight of about 30 minutes. Coming by car takes longer, of course, but if you decide to rent a car and drive yourself, you will find quite a few different roads to choose from. Route 108 is the easiest way to come from Chiang Mai, though not necessarily the shortest. From Bangkok it is quite a long drive, but doable if you break up the trip, possibly spending a night in Chiang Mai.

Bus is also a good option. Choose either regular bus or mini bus. The ride takes quite a few hours, but you will get a chance to admire the lovely scenery along the way. There is an overnight bus from Bangkok; if you can sleep in transit, this means you won’t waste any of your vacation days. You can also take a night train but it goes only as far as Chiang Mai, from there you’ll need to continue by bus, car or plane. However once you arrive in Mae Hong Son, it is simple enough to get to most places on foot. If you prefer to get around a little faster, bike rental is a good option.

Start your visit to Mae Hong Son by just walking around the town and observing. Absorb the sights and sounds and the unique atmosphere of this Asian city. A lot of tourists come here to hike in the mountains. In the hills, villagers live according traditional ways that are many hundreds of years old. There has been a certain amount of influence from the influx of western travelers, but the essence of how the tribes people have always lived and dressed can still be felt. Ask one of the local tourist offices to plan a mountain hike for you, which may include accommodation.

Thampla, a Thai national park, is adjacent to the border between Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). Gasp at the breathtaking views from the nearly 2000 meter high mountain peaks, and check out the mistily lovely waterfalls. The “fish cave” about 18 km from the Mae Hong Son town center will present you with a modern mystery. A large number of Pluang Hin fish tend to flock to this cave, which is half submerged in water, but out of this number, only a small fraction swim back out. What happens to the others, no one knows.

Of all the spectacular waterfalls in the area, one of the most outstanding is Pha Sua. Visit this waterfall and enjoy strolling along its pleasant six level waking paths. If you visit during the rainy season, you will be awed by the sight of the incredibly powerful water rushing down the cliffs.

 Mae Hong Son in Thailand Thailand,  Mae Hong Son

Small villages

The many small villages around Mae Hong Son are interesting to visit, to see how the local people live and to purchase some of their exotic crafts, such as hill tribe textiles. Shanbyn Pang Ung on the border with Myanmar, en route to Ban Rak Thai, is unique and well worth checking out. Many tourist like to explore the region by following the Mae Hong Son Loop, which meanders around the area, starting and ending at Chiang Mai.


There are quite a few restaurants in the town itself or on the way to the neighboring villages in the area. You can also pay a visit to the Mae Hong Son market to tickle your taste buds with some delicious local Thai and Burmese foods. You will most likely have an easy time finding accommodation, even if your budget is limited. A large number of hotels and hostels are to be found in Mae Hong Son proper and around the lake. If you have reserved your hotel accommodation in advance, it is a good idea to call before you arrive. This may help you to avoid being put on the spot, as the hotels sometimes double book. When planning to travel in Northern Thailand, do a little advance reading about Mae Hong Son and enjoy a rewarding stay.

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