Mae Hong Son, A Haven Of Tranquillity In Northern Thailand

If you are on time, on your route through northern Thailand you should not miss a visit to the city of Mae Hong Son . Located in the northwest of the country , this city of just 6,000 inhabitants rests quietly among wooded mountain ranges that color the area with many greens (almost 90% of the forest reserves of Thailand are in this province) and create an idyllic environment to rest legs after walks in Chiang Mai.

Mae Hong Son, a province on the border with Burma, is somewhat far from the typical tourist route , and it is appreciated, because upon arrival one finds a more authentic climate and less farang . Not all are guesthouses or western food restaurants, and contrary to what can happen in places like Pai or Chiang Mai, you can see more Thais than foreigners on the street.

Mae Hong Son is known among travelers for being the right place to settle to visit the villages of the Long Neck Karen, or giraffe women. However, we, who had visited the Museum of the Tribes in Chiang Rai and had read information about these villages (in our opinion little more than human zoos) are not going to promote this activity nor do we want to encourage the traveler to visit these places. We recommend that you read and learn about the situation of these people before visiting a Karen village.

From Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son is reached after 6 hours by van or 8 hours by local bus .A long tour full of curves that will test the stomach of travelers. Many of them choose, however, to make a stop in Pai , a beautiful backpacker and hippie enclave halfway there.

Visit the temples of the city

The Mae Hong Son temples are different from what you will see anywhere else in Thailand. The Shan and Burmese influence has drawn colorful and bright temples, with a different and curious architecture. The Wat Jong Kham and the Wat Jong Klan are especially recommended , due to their location on the shores of the lake, and of course the WatPhraThatDoi Kong Mu, to the west of the city, which, located on top of a hill, offers some beautiful photographs of the city and the surrounding valleys, as well as offering beautiful views of the sunrise (some days the fog covers the whole city and is spectacular) and the sunset, on the other side of the mountain.

Visit the markets

During the high season, a large market is set up every night around the lake , the tourist epicenter of the city. During the low season you can hardly visit a few stalls, and it is hard to say that it is worth it. However, a gastronomic market of greater interest can be visited in the middle of the afternoon north of the city, in ThanonPhanitWattana. There you can eat all kinds of local food and enjoy a fairly pure Thai atmosphere.

Mae Hong Son, A Treasure In Northern Thailand

Mae Hong Son province is one of those places that we mark with phosphor on a map . One of those that inadvertently become a “must visit” (according to our taste) above many other much better known places in Thailand such as Pai or Chiang Rai and it is that Mae Hong Son achieved something in us, and it is to leave us speechless with its landscapes of mountains, rice fields, crops and its villages.

Getting to Mae Hong Son by plane

It sems incredible, but this small city has an airport. It receives direct flights from Chiang Mai , but I don’t know if it’s worth it because of the proximity of the cities.

If you want to fly from Bangkok or another city, it will stop in Chiang Mai, so it’s not worth it either.

In any case, if you are far away, it is best to land in Chiang Mai, and wish to move there by land. It operates Bangkok Airways.

Get to Mae Hong Son by bus or minivan

In mini van it is undoubtedly the best option in relation to time / price . We are going to explain how to get to and from the most popular points: Chiang Mai, Pai, Mae Sot and Bangkok.

All the routes between these cities can be consulted on the Premprachawebsite , which is the one who has the monopoly of transport in the area.

Getting to Mae Hong Song from Chiang Mai (Arcade Bus Terminal)

You have mini vans practically every hour.

The fastest route is Chiang Mai – Pai – Mae Hong Son. They leave every hour from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Approximate price 400 bahts. It is about 6 hours away.

You can buy the ticket directly at your hostel and they will take you free to the Arcade Bus Terminal in Chiang Mai.

By bus, the journey is a little slower and the price difference is not that high, since the bus can cost 300 or 350 bahts.

Exit Mae Hong Son towards Chiang Mai.

From 7am to 5pm, minivans depart daily from Mae Hong Son bus station to Chiang Mai. The price is 250 baht. The journey takes about 6 hours.

You also have the cheap option of the minibus with a fan (a kind of semi-closed pick-up). It leaves at 8:30 a.m. The price is 133 baths. The journey takes about 8 hours.

Get from Pai

Getting to Mae Hong Son from Pai is very easy. You just have to go to the small Pai bus station and reserve your seat in the minivan. They leave every hour from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To go to Pai, minivans leave daily every hour from 7 am to 5 pm, for 150 baht.

You have the cheap option of the pick up (fan bus) for 66 bahts. A little more uncomfortable, and it takes an hour longer.…