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Mae Hong Son

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Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน) is a city (pop. 7,000) in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand.

Get in

View over the Mae Hong Son lake

By plane

Nonstop 30 minute flights from Chiang Mai are available from Nok Air and Kan Air [1] [2].

There are also two direct flights per week from Bangkok with Happy Air [3].

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, while route 108 via Mae Sariang (350 km) is an easier drive.

Mae Hong Son is located 924 kilometres 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 kilometres. Chiang Mai, Mae Malai, Pai, Mae Hong Son (Route 1095), a distance of 245 kilometres. [4]

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.

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 or visit [5]

Get around

This is a small town so walking is the way to get around. There are bicycles for rent from Titan internet shop (across from the 7-11 and post office). To do anything in the surrounding areas a motorbike (at least a bicycle) is needed.

The new bus station seems like it is in the middle of nowhere and the tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi guys love that. But really it's only a 10-15 minute walk to the center of town. You should just turn left out of the bus station and walk straight until you hit the golden statue. Walking up next to the statue, the station is just a bit further towards the city center.

See

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. Tourism Authority of Thailand

Do

  • Trekking - one of the main reasons for tourist to go to Mae Hong Son is to go trekking in the surrounding mountains and visiting hilltribe villages. Nearly every guest house offers tours. There are also many other tours on offer.
  • Thampla - Phasua Waterfall National Park อุทยานแห่งชาติ ถ้ำปลา - น้ำตกผาเสื่อ : This national park is in Mae Hong Son province, covering more than 488 km' of the "Thanon Thongchai" range that separates Thailand from Burma. The "Doy-Larn" is the highest plane in the area, with its altitude of about 1,918 meters above the sea water level. Points of Interests...
  • Fish Cave (Thumpla) - near the village of Huay Pha, about 17 km from Mae Hong Son (Highway 1095), this is a beautiful spot to escape the heat. A water channel that leads its way out of a small submerged cave. What is inside the cave is still unknown to us, but it astoundingly draws thousands of the "Pluang-Hin" fish into the cave, with only a small number of them coming back out.
  • Pha Sua waterfall - 26 km from Mae Hong Son on the road to Pai, this waterfall consists of six levels and offers some fine walks. This waterfall is about 20 meters high and 30 meters wide. It is said to be the most beautiful waterfall in Mae Hong Son province. On rainy season, the plentiful water makes the waterfall looks like a rolling mat.
  • Thailand Hilltribe Holidays (North Thailand Tours), (), [6]. Offers Tours of Mae Hong Son specialising in the local way of life and non-tourist aspects, such as visits to traditional Shan villages, see how local handicrafts and products such as sesame are produced Offers pick up from Chiang Mai and tour of Mae Hong Son Loop.
  • Check out Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw), a KMT village near the Myanmar Border. On your way up (or down), you can stop by Pang Ung (Ruam Thai), a picturesque Shan minority village high in the mountains.

Buy

There is an interesting night market at the lake where you can buy art and handcrafts from hilltribe people.

Eat

Many restaurants are along the main road and the night market where there are also many food-stalls. There is a nice evening food market by the old jail, nowadays a table tennis club, close to the monument of the Shan King.

  • Bai Fern Restaurant, 87 Khunlumprapas Road, 053 611 374. A more upscale restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere featuring Northern Thai specialties. Live (easy listening) music in the evenings. Affiliated with the Fern Resort (resort guests coming to town by shuttle drop off here). Thai address: 87 ถนนขุนลุมประพาส
  • JiJi Restaurant. A larger restaurant just 30m from the gates of the city airport is the best value for your budget money when you want to order vegetarian western food. Of course the owner Lek is also fantastic about cooking Thai food. Usually closed on Sunday.
  • Kai Mook, 23 Udom Chao Nithet Road (A couple doors down from the corner with Khunlumprapas), 053 612 092. Don't miss the stuffed pork leg, and the fish sausage stuffed inside a deep fried snake head fish.
  • Salween River Restaurant, (Near the lake, next to PA Motor.), 053-613421,084-6878891 (), [7]. Great food, people and atmosphere. Nan, the Shan owner, can cook up some amazing Shan/Thai/Western dishes. Try the Khao Soi, burmese green tea salad, gai oup, or the green curry. Also good is the bread, pizza, and burgers. They have wireless Internet and a big library of books that you can swap one-for-one for free. US$ 1-10.
  • Holland Club (Mok and Maew Souvenir), (Corner of main road Khunlun Praphat and Rung Ruang Kaan Ka Rd - look out for the windmill out front). Nice place to sit back and relax with a coffee and home baked apple pie (fresh out of the oven if you time it right). Browse the teak carving, chat with the lovely lady who owns the place or browse the Dutch news printouts.
  • Meeting, (At the southwest corner of the lake). 08:00-23:00. Good coffee, good breakfast, free WiFi.

Drink

'Crossroads', the one pub that caters to both Thai and westerners, found conveniently in the intersection between the main north-south going road and the road leading to the hospital.

'Baiyoke Chalet' Mae Hong Son's own kind of night club. Conveniently located on the main road opposite the post office. Listen to live music, the same band plays almost every evening of the week, and enjoy the Thai audience singing along and dancing around the tables.

Sleep

Mae Hong Son has a broad range of guest houses, mainly located around the lake. There are several hotels within the city. If you've got your own transport there are several more resorts farther out of town. Take a look before checking in because there are always changes.

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget less than 500 baht
Mid-range 500-1500 baht
Splurge over 1500 baht

Budget

  • Friend House, 20 Phaditchongkam Road, near the lake, next to Chili bar. tel: (053) 620 119 - near the lake and town centre. 13 rooms, 100-350 baht. Owned and operated by a very nice Shan family, its simple and cheap. The downstairs can be a bit loud if you're sleeping late and others are talking over their breakfasts. Great fruit salad.
  • Johnnie Guest House, 5/1 Udomchawnitech Road, tel: (053) 611 667 - located next to the lake, but you'll have to walk about two blocks to get to it. 8 rooms, 100-250 baht.
  • Palm House, 22/1 Chamnansahait Road, tel: (053) 614 022 - 14 large clean rooms near the lake with TV/UBC, 350-600 baht.
  • Yok Guest House, 14 Sirimongkol Road, Tambon Chong Klum, tel: 6653-611523, 611318 - 9 rooms, rates 200-300 baht***
  • Prince's House, Next to Johnnie Guest House. Shared bath twins up to lake view en suite rooms. 150 Baht and up.

Mid-range

  • Pana Huts tel: (66) 0-5361-4331 [8] Fan rooms with hot showers. 600-750 baht.
  • Piya Guest House, 1/1 Khunlumphrapat Soi 3, tel: (053) 611 260 fax: (053) 612 308. Clean rooms, many with TVs and all with aircon. Good location. AC private bedroom 600 baht. 14 rooms.
  • JongKam Palace, North side of the lake, a few hundred meters from Johnnie's. Bungalows, large rooms with king size beds, A/C, hot showers, free wireless internet, pleasant gardens. 600 Baht.

Splurge

  • Fern Resort, 7 km from the centre of Mae Hong Son town, +66 (0) 53-686110 or +66 (0) 53-686111 (, fax: +66 (0) 53-686111), [9]. Well appointed 2-bed bungalows dot the expansive and attractively landscaped grounds of the resort. Guides can be hired for a hike in the near by Mae Surin National Park. No televisions in the rooms, and the wi-fi conenction is slow. 2500-3500 baht, includes taxes and breakfast.
  • Rooks Holiday Hotel & Resort, 114/5-7 Khunlumprapas Road, (66) 0-5361-2324-9, (66) 0-5361-1390, [10]. One of the more upmarket places in Mae Hong Son and offers wooden cottages as well as standard hotel rooms. It's a little bit out of town but within 10-15 minutes walk of the night market / city centre. Some of the cottages are in need of a little refurbishing so take a look before check-in. 3400-9000 baht, internet discount available.

Get out



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