With its remote setting and surrounding mountains, Mae Hong Son fits many travellers' preconceived notion of how a northern Thai city should be. A palpable Burmese influence and a border-town feel don't clash with this image, and best of all, there's hardly a túk-túk or tout to be seen
Here is how you will spend your time
Day 1: Arrival At Chiang Mai And Transfer To Pai
While it is best to see the sights of inner Chiang Mai on foot, your car becomes most useful to see the sights around Chiang Mai. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, a must for all who visit Chiang Mai. On the Mae Sa Valley Loop various sightseeing spots can be visited, such as the Orchid & Butterfly farm, the Mae Sa Elephant Camp or the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens. Leave Chiang Mai in good time, however, since the best scenery along the route is to be found in the last 60 kms. The road reaches 1350m altitudes before descending into the valley of the River Pai. With its wooden buildings and small town atmosphere, Pai has become a popular destination for tourists. The town itself is Shan and Haw Chinese, but Lisu hill tribe folk can often be seen in the market. Accommodation: Baan Krating Resort
The Pai River (Thai: แม่น้ำปาย, RTGS: Maenam Pai, Thai pronunciation: [mɛ̂ːnáːm paːj]) originates in the mountains of the Daen Lao Range, Pai District, Mae Hong Son Province, ...
Day 2: Pai To Mae Hong Son
The route to Mae Hong Son leads via Soppong, passing through beautiful scenery as it traverses the valley of the River Khong. Side trips offer possibilities for exploration in the sheer limestone scenery of the area. After descending from the mountains Highway 1095 skirts the floor of the valley used for rice cultivation as it approaches the provincial capital, Mae Hong Son. We suggest a visit to the Tham Lot Cave where villagers await you with lanterns and rafts to escort you through the cave (08.00-17.30 h). Before arriving in Mae Hong Son you may stop at Tham Pla (Fish Cave). Tham Pla, as part of the Tham Pla Nan Tok Pha Sua National Park, is a pleasant roadside halt. Continue to Mae Hong Son known as the city of Mists. Its recent modernization has cost many of its old wooden buildings, but the area around the Chong Kham Lake retains its old charm. The town’s Shan heritage becomes especially pronounced during their main festivals the Poi Sang Lon festival in March or May an the Hae Chong Phara festival in the eleventh lunar month. Accommodation: Fern Resort
Travel from Pai to Mae Hong Son
Line 612 bus
Day 3: Mae Hong Son To Mae Sariang
South of Mae Hong Son the road follows narrow valleys climbing over low passes while following a route that runs along the foot of the high range to the cast a pattern that continues south of Khun Yuam where the road often takes a tortuous rout following narrow valleys. Today you have the possibility to visit the Long Neck Karen, also called the Padaung. The Padaung are famous for their “long neck” women. The women do not have long necks as such but have shoulders forced down by coils worn since they were young. They may be seen in three villages, in a refugee camp in Ban Nai Soi, in Ban Huai Sua Tao and by boat from Ban Huai Dua. Today’s final destination is Mae Sariang a district town that has been bypassed by the highway and by extensive modern development. The narrow streets and wooden buildings along the river bank have helped preserve some of the charm of an old river route trading town. Accommodation: Riverhouse Resort
Travel from Mae Hong Son to Mae Sariang
Line 170 bus
Day 4: Departure
Your last day of this tour starts by a drive uphill to the Karen village of Ban Mae Ho crossing high valleys and cleared uplands that form the upper headwaters of the Mae Rit River. After crossing the Bo Luang Plateau, the route descends to follow a pretty valley route following the Mae Chaem River to Hot. From Hot it is a busy road heading north for Chiang Mai passing Chom Thong and Sanpatong, major district towns en route. Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak and the National Park may be visited. Arrive at Chiang Mai and deliver your car to the Budget Car Rental Station before 06.30 p.m.