Mae Hong Son
Non-stop 35 minute flights from Chiang Mai are available from Kan Air. As of July 2017, Kan Air operation has been suspended. You can still fly to Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai via Bangkok Airways.
There are two road options from Chiang Mai, both taking 5-6 hours by car. Route 1095 via Pai (280 km) or 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. Mae Hong Son works well as the 3rd night stopover for a 5 day motorcycle loop from Chiang Mai.
Due to the mountainous geography and windy roads with uphill/downhill curves, it is recommended for experienced mountain drivers only.
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.
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. Check more info Lawa Tribes
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.
Walk around the picturesque pond 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.
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. Do keep in mind that to trek for a day (10am -2pm) with a guide it can cost around $75 so not for the budget traveller. There are also no formal trekking maps for the area to do it independently.
View of Su Tong Pae Bridge from Wat Pu Sama
Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge (Bamboo Bridge), Ban Kung Mai Sak (15 minutes north of the city of mae Hong Son on the road to Ban Ruk Thai). A beautiful bamboo bridge joining the village of Ban Kung Mai Sak with the temple Wat Pu Sama. Spanning approx. 900 meters over the paddy fields creating a spectacle for all to enjoy.
Phu Klon Mud Spa, 132/2 Mokjampae, Mae Hong Son (Take the road north out of Mae Hong Son and turn off left on the Ban Rak Thai road. The mud spa is very well signposted.), . A full mud spa package lasts 90 minutes and costs 1,200 baht, or have a mud face mask, lasting 15 minutes, for 80 baht -- other muddy treatments are also available.
Tham Pla–Namtok Pha Suea National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติ ถ้ำปลา - น้ำตกผาเสื่อ) covers more than 488 square kilometres of the "Thanon Thongchai" range that separates Thailand from Burma. The "Doi-Larn" is the highest peak in the area, with an elevaton of about 1,918 m. Both Tham Pla Fish Cave Pha Sua Waterfall are located in the National Park.
Tham Pla Fish Cave (อุทยานแห่งชาติถ้ำปลา), (near the village of Huay Pha, about 17 km from Mae Hong Son on Highway 1095). 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. 100bt.
Pha Sua Waterfall, (26 km North of Mae Hong Son on the road to Ban Rak Thai). This waterfall consists of six levels and offers some fine walks. This waterfall is about 20 m high and 30 m wide. It is said to be the most beautiful waterfall in Mae Hong Son Province. During the rainy season, the abundant rainfall makes the waterfall look like a rolling mat.
Pang Tong Palace (Queen's residence and royal projects), (Near Pha Suea Waterfall on the way to Ban Rak Thai). Beautiful manicured gardens, agricultural areas including animals such as sheep, some caged wild cats (Leopards etc) and many caged birds including large Hornbills.
Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw) is a KMT (Kuomintang) village near the Myanmar border (about 45km North of Mae Hong Son). On your way up (or down), you can stop by Pang Ung (Ruam Thai), a picturesque Shan minority village high in the mountains. You will also pass Pha Sua Waterfall and Pang Tong Palace along the route.
There is an interesting night market at the pond where you can buy art and handcrafts from hill tribe people.
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. There is a market on the road just South of the airport runway (Phanish Wattana) which has a number of food stands during the day, and an even bigger night food market, although mostly take away.
Bai Fern Restaurant, 87 Khunlumprapas Rd, ☎ +66 53 611 374. An 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 30 m 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.
Holland Club (Mok and Maew Souvenir), (corner of main road Khunlun Praphat and Rung Ruang Kaan Ka Rd. Look 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. edit
Kai Mook, 23 Udom Chao Nithet Rd (a couple of doors down from the corner with Khunlumprapas), ☎ +66 53 612 092. Don't miss the stuffed pork leg, and the fish sausage stuffed inside a deep fried snake head fish.
Meeting, (southwest corner of the pond). 08:00-23:00. Good coffee, good breakfast, free WiFi.
Salween River Restaurant, (near the pond, next to PA Motor.), ☎ +66 53-613421, +66 84-6878891 ([email protected]), . 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. 30-300 baht.
Meeting at Mae Hong Son, 2/1 Pradit Chong Kham, Amphoe Muang, Mae Hong Son., ☎ 0801323223. 4pm - 11pm. Funky and relaxed Thai restaurant overlooking the pond down the road from Salween. Mr Boonsook offers vegetarian food, lassis, cocktails, also western food including steak. Reggae beats/romantic vocals/latin music. 200 baht per person.
Baiyoke Chalet, (on the main road opposite the post office.). Mae Hong Son's own kind of night club. 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.
Crossroads, (at the intersection between the main north-south road and the road leading to the hospital.). The one pub that caters to both Thai and Westerners.
Plearn, (Ratchatham Phitak, around the corner from the end of the night market road. No English sign but opposite the tourism authority office.). A cool little bar youthful locals hangout. Live music, cheap drinks and food served till late.
Mae Hong Son has a broad range of guest houses, mainly located around the pond. 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.
Sang Tong Huts, Makkha Santi Road (Coming from Pai: Take first turn right after the first traffic lights continue straight until next traffic lights then follow signs. Coming from Khun Yuam take first turn left after central traffic lights (near Crossroads Bar) continue straight to next traffic lights then follow signs.), ☎ +66 536115680, . checkin: 1400; checkout: 1200. Eight huts set in natural surroundings with beautiful swimming pool. A great place to experience nature and traditional housing with familiar comfort. Where nature blends with comfort. Check seasonal rate on website. Approx. 900 - 1300 baht. 19 ° 18'21.5 "N 97 ° 57'27.0" E, 1300.
The Like View, Communal area over looking the pond and temple. Double rooms with shared showers, 150. En-suite, 200 (low season), 300 normally (Prices as of September 2019). Very helpful staff with an okay internet connection. Reception is the restaurant on the road infront of the guesthouse. Also have a dorm.
Friend House, 20 Phaditchongkam Rd, near the pond, next to Chili Bar. tel: (053) 620 119. Near the pond and town centre. 13 rooms, 150-350 baht. Owned and operated by a very nice Shan family, it's 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 Rd, tel: (053) 611 667. Next to the pond, direct access during the day, but you'll have to walk about two blocks to get to it at night. 8 rooms, 150-250 baht.
Jongkham Guesthouse, 7 Udomchaonitet Rd (near the pond and the market), ☎ 081 6711864, . 7 rooms, 2 en suite bungalows and 5 rooms with shared bathroom. Clean and quiet with the garden as a shared space. Breakfast is available all day. Motorbike renting and laundry is available. Currently being refurbished (May 15) 200-500 baht.
Palm House, 22/1 Chamnansahait Rd, tel: (053) 614 022. Fourteen large clean rooms near the pond with TV/UBC, 350-600 baht.
Sarm Mork Guest House, 16/1 Chamnan Sathit Road, Tambon Chong Kham, Chang Wat Mae Hong Son 58000, Thailand, tel: 053-612122, 082-192-2488. [email protected], This is an extremely nice guest house with private bungalows at a budget price. Each bungalow contains an air conditioner, refrigerator, hot water, and free wi-fi. It used to be a restaurant, now it's a guest house and restaurant. The food is delicious and cheap too. Watt is the owner of the guesthouse and he is the founder of www.go-southernmyanmar.com. At Sarm Mork Guest House, English, Thai, and Chinese are spoken!***
Yok Guest House, 14 Sirimongkol Rd, Tambon Chong Klum, tel: 6653-611523, 611318. Nine rooms, rates 200-300 baht***
Look Tai Guest House, 15/9 Pang Lor Soi 2, tel: 0844064108, with the police station on the right, turn right at the traffic lights, take the first left and the guest house is about 50 metres on the right. It has six rooms at 250 baht. Shan Homestay. Basic accommodation with a communal lounge room and bathroom (hot water and western style toilet). Learn to cook and eat Shan food, learn about Shan dress and dance. Local tour information available as well as advice on eating healthy (inc detox) whilst in Thailand. The owner is Leelawadee and she is a nurse at the local hospital and speaks Shan, Thai and English.
JongKam Palace, North side of the pond, a few hundred metres from Johnnie's. Bungalows, large rooms with king size beds, A/C, hot showers, free wireless Internet, pleasant gardens. 600 baht.
Panahuts tel: +66 5361-4331  Fan rooms with hot showers. 600-750 baht.
Panorama Hotel, 51 Khunlumprapas Road, Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000, ☎ +6653611757 ([email protected]), . Ideally located in center of town, just a 100m from the night market. Rooms include A/C, balcony, en suite, fridge, TV and wi-fi. Off road Parking Available. 600bt (Feb-Oct) / 1000bt (Nov-Jan) Ask for the economy rooms for rooms as cheap as 400bt with ensuite bathroom.
Piya Guest House, 1/1 Khunlumphrapat Soi 3, tel: (053) 611 260 fax: (053) 612 308. Clean rooms, many with TVs and all with air-con. Good location. AC private bedroom 600 baht. 14 rooms.
The [email protected], 41/4 Nivetpisarn Rd, ☎ +66 53 614 100, . Some 300 m from the morning market. Each guest room is equipped with air-con, TV, refrigerator, en suite bathroom (hot shower) and free WiFi. Free bicycle available. 900-1,300 baht. For more info Sob Moei
Fern Resort, 7 km from the centre of Mae Hong Son town, ☎ +66 53-686110 or +66 53-686111 ([email protected], fax: +66 53-686111), . Well appointed 2-bed bungalows dot the expansive and attractively landscaped grounds of the resort. Guides can be hired for a hike in the nearby Mae Surin National Park. No in-room TVs and the WiFi is slow. 2,500-3,500 baht, includes taxes and breakfast.
Rooks Holiday Hotel & Resort, 114/5-7 Khunlumprapas Rd, ☎ +66 5361-2324-9, +66 5361-1390, . One of the more upmarket places in Mae Hong Son. 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. 3,400-9,000 baht, Internet discount available. Learning more Hmong Tribes
Villa Mae Hong Son (Mae Hong Son Villas), Pha Bong, Mae Hong Son, Offering two luxurious, large, private pool villas set beside the river and surrounded by mountain views and working rice paddies. A 3 bedroom villa and a 2 bedroom villa are available, each with a private swimming pool, extensive sun deck, fully-equipped kitchen, and free WiFi. 15,000-50,000 baht,.