Known as “the city of three mists” and hemmed in by the high mountain ranges of the Shan Hills, Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน)is the most mountainous province in Thailand, occupying 13,814 square kilometres (5,334 sq mi). The provincial capital was originally established in the early 19th century as an elephant training camp as ordered by the then King of Chiang Mai.
With its remote setting and surrounding mountains, this province fits many travellers’ preconceived notion of how a northern Thai city should be. There is a very strong Burmese influence to be found here due to the provinces’ location along the border with Myanmar. This means that it is also a crossroads for Shan and Burmese immigrants (mostly Karen, with some Hmong, Lisu and Lahu). However this border-town feel doesn’t spoil the bounty of nature to be explored and best of all, there’s hardly a tuk-tuk or tout to be seen. This doesn’t mean Mae Hong Son is uncharted territory – tour groups and adventurous holidaymakers have been coming here for years.
Accessible only by a series of windy mountain roads or a precarious flight to Mae Hong Son Airport, this is arguably Thailand’s most remote province. Thickly forested and mountainous, and far from the influence of sea winds, the temperature rarely rises above 40°C, while in January the temperature can drop to 0°C. The air is often misty with ground fog in the winter and smoke from slash-and-burn agriculture during the hot season.
Now firmly rooted on the tourist trail, many resorts are opening in the area around the capital, but the vast majority of visitors don’t seem to make it much further than Pai. Nevertheless, the area’s potential as a base for activities, from kayaking to trekking, ensures that your visit can be quite unlike anyone else’s.
Here at AIRPORTELs, we have put together a list of attractions you might like to visit while you’re visiting Mae Hong Son, and if you need to have your luggage stored or delivered for your trip, you can make an easy online booking.
One of Mae Hong Son’s hidden treasures, Pang Ung is located very close to the border of Myanmar in the North West corner of Thailand. It is a small place nestled in the mountains. There is camping ground and lodges for rent around the area.
Tham Lod Cave
Tham Lod is one of Thailand’s most impressive and easily accessible caves, partly for its size, partly for its attractive limestone stalactite formations and partly for an unusual coffin cave hidden within the main cave. The main chamber is spectacular, running to a height of 50 metres, from floor to ceiling. Located near Sop Pong in Pang Mapha District, Mae Hong Son Province.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
Overlooking the capital, the temple sits on top of Kong Mu hill and offers a spectacular view of the entire valley in which Mae Hong Son is situated. The temple itself is notable for its two large white chedis and its typical Shan architecture.
Beautifully simple in its construction, the bamboo bridge of Su Tong Pae in Mae Hong Son province stretches for 500 metres across rice fields and the Mae Sa Nga River to link the temple at one end with the village of Kung Mai Saak at the other. Located about 8km north of Mae Hong Song capital.