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All you need to know to visit Mae Hong Son

Northern Thailand
924 km from Bangkok
Province of Mae Hong Son


Recomm. stay


Practical guide to go and visit Mae Hong Son

Located in the northwest of Thailand, just a few kilometers from the border with Myanmar (ex-Burma), Mae Hong Son has become a tourist destination that often follows stops in Chiang Mai and Paï. It is especially its mountains and forests and its countryside that make the charm of this destination. It is also the starting point for treks in its mountains to meet the Karen, Lisu, Mhong, Lahu, akha hilltribes and their villages. Mae Hong Son also often has a sea of mist which gives it a little mysterious character and the nights are cool there even in the dry season. In town, you will discover Burmese-style religious buildings and can enjoy the Walking Street which stands by its lake in the evening with the illuminated chedi of Wat Chong Kham reflected in the water. Early risers will go to see the alms offerings to the monks near Mae Hong Son Food Market around 7 a.m. and for those who want to indulge themselves in an eco-responsible resort a little outside the cityI recommend to spend a night at Fern Resort and its small terrace rice fields. My favorites visits outside the city remain the Lod Cave and its interior river and Ban Jabo village and its incredible mountain view.

Beware wild fires which every year from the end of February to mid-April make the air quality in the upper part of Thailand very bad and even dangerous for health. Depending on the weather and the scarcity of rains during this period, it can last or be in episodes but when the level is in the red or purple, wearing an N95 type mask, the only one that can really filter micro-particles, is recommended. There are applications and websites to find out the AQI (Air Quality Index) score.

mae hong son

Accommodations in Mae Hong Son

In Mae Hong Son city, I recommend that you sleep in a hotel or guesthouse near Chong Kham Lake, on the edge of which are the two most emblematic temples of the city. This is also where the night market walking street take place. In the area you will find many guesthouses and small bungalow accommodations that are quite inexpensive. Especially on Udom Chao Ni-Thet and Chamnana Sathit Road. Air condition is not essential here for much of the year, but it's up to you. We are in the mountains and the temperature at night is lower than in most parts of Thailand. If you are not necessarily looking for a small budget place, I recommend the Fern Resort for its natural setting about ten kilometers from the city with small rice terraces inside the resort.

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My recommandations

People often ask me what accommodations I recommend in Thailand, here are my recommandations in Mae Hong Son.

Hotel in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son city

Hotel in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son city

Hotel in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son city

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Practical information about Mae Hong Son

The nights are cool in Mae Hong Son, so put some warm clothes in your lugaga when going there. And pay attention to the air quality between mid-February and the end of April. Since April 19, 2023, the only airline offering flights to Mae Hong Son stopped this route due to the lack of passengers. Mae Hong Son is therefore now only accessible by road. It's 6 hours drive by passenger van from Chiang Mai on a road with 1084 bends (see the how to get to Mae Hong Son section), so many that they made T-Shirts out of it and you can get a certificate from the Chamber of Commerce in the city once there.

How to go to Mae Hong Son ?

Mae Hong Son has its own airport but it is not very active. Especially since April 19, 2023, the date when which Nok Air, the only airline still offering flights to Mae Hong Son, decided to suspend the line due to the lack of passengers. So you non can only get to Mae Hong Son is by road transport: passenger minivan or bus from the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal, but the local buses for this connection are quite old and slow on the climbs. Minivan departures are frequent and the journey on the most twisty mountain road in Thailand takes 6 hours. If you are car sick, take your precautions and possibly prefer the local bus which is certainly slower but makes you less sick. From Bangkok, from Mochit Bus Terminal, there are a few direct buses to Mae Hong Son per day. The journey takes 16 hours. By train, you can go to Chiang Mai and then take a bus or passenger van. Choosing a night train to Chiang Mai< /a> can be a good option to optimize your travel time.

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How to get around in Mae Hong Son ?

Tuk-tuks and motorcycle taxis are the two options to get around in Mae Hong Son. But the most interesting temples, are in a fairly small area and can be visited by a small walking circuit. The most challenging part will be the climb to access Wat Doi Kong Mu. At the very quiet bus terminal a sign indicates the tuk-tuk or motorbike rates but to avoid this race, you can try to get off the bus a little before the bus terminal. To explore the countryside and points of interest around Mae Hong Son, rent a scooter or a bike(with speeds) at Titan for example. Local buses or songthaews go to major attractions (waterfalls, hot springs ...) but be careful if you choose this option because after 4 pm, it might be hard to find a bus to go back in the city. Check with your hotel or guesthouse to find out which local bus to take and where.

Festivals in Mae Hong Son ?

Here is a list of the main festivals taking place every year in Mae Hong Son. I mention their dates as soon as they are official on Thai Festivals page.
poy sang long ceremony (wat pang moo)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Pang Moo)

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

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poy sang long ceremony (wat huai sai khao)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Huai Sai Khao)

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

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poy sang long ceremony (wat pha bong nuea)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Pha Bong Nuea)

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

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poy sang long ceremony (wat mai hoong)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Mai Hoong)

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

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poy sang long ceremony (wat mokjampae)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Mokjampae)

This festival generally takes place in the month of March

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poy sang long ceremony (wat hua wiang)

Poy Sang Long Ceremony (Wat Hua Wiang)

This festival generally takes place in the month of April

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 chong phara procession

Chong Phara Procession

This festival generally takes place in the month of October

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Other places to see in Mae Hong Son

Wat Phra Non Mae Hong Son
Wat Phra Non
at the foot of Kong Mu mountain , it houses a old tools museum and a reclining Buddha statue.
Wat Hua Wiang Mae Hong Son
Wat Hua Wiang
example of burmese art , it is built according to mandalay art and houses the Chao Phalakeng, a beautiful bronze Buddha statue
Wat Kam Ko Mae Hong Son
Wat Kam Ko
on the other side of the street than Wat Phra Non, it is its covered walkway that makes it different from other temples in the city.
Thung Bua Tong Fields Mae Hong Son
Thung Bua Tong Fields
This stretch of mountain is, with its 160 hectares, the largest field of Mexican sunflowers in Thailand. It is very popular and visited during the short flowering period which takes place around November. Before or after, the place no longer interests anyone ... until the next blooming.
Ban Jabo Mae Hong Son
Ban Jabo
This small village of the Lahu hilltribe, a 1.5 hour drive from Pai or Mae Hong, is famous for the incredible panorama it offers. Little known by foreigners, it is very populaur among Thais, especially during the winter, when they come to eat lunch in front of the magnificent view or better spend the night there to wake up in a sea of mist (does not happen every day).
Phu Klon Mud Spa Mae Hong Son
Phu Klon Mud Spa
This spa, located half an hour's drive from Mae Hong Son, is renowned for its mud with benefits for the skin and blood circulation provided by minerals from its hot spring.
Muang Pon eco-village Mae Hong Son
Muang Pon eco-village
This small village 1.5 hours drive from Mae Hong Son is especially interesting for its homestay offer. You will share their meals, local daily life and handicraft activities or work in the fields.
Baan Rak Thai Mae Hong Son
Baan Rak Thai
This small Chinese village perched in the mountains, bordered by a lake and with tea plantations nearby provides a lovely scenic backdrop for a 2 day one night getaway.

Weather & climate in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son has a tropical savanna climate but is in the mountains so the morning temperatures are cooler. It is not uncommon to see the summits around the city in the mist in the morning. Winters (from November to March) are dry and warm. Temperatures rise until April, the hottest month of the year when temperatures can occasionally exceed 40 °C. The monsoon season extends from May to October, with heavy showers and cooler temperatures during the day. Mae Hong Son has the record of the highehst température ever recorded in Thailand with 44.6 °C. Surprising for a city perched in the mountains.

The best time to come to Mae Hong Son is from November to the end of April. July and August are the rainiest months but there is no time when it is particularly unrecommended to go to Mae Hong Son.

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How to ask in Thai to go to Mae Hong Son ?

I want to go to Mae Hong Son / Yak paï ti Mae Hong Son.
Where is Mae Hong Son ? / Mae Hong Son you ti naï ?
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