Mae Hong Son

Known to some as Thailand’s ‘Switzerland’ because of its excellent scenery, Mae Hong Son is a frontier province bordered by Myanmar and almost entirely surrounded by mountains – it was for a long time almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world. The area is famed for mists and fog that lie in its mountains and valleys throughout most of the year (but particularly in winter). It is also home to waterfalls, forests and national parks. The area has a strong connection with elephants and there are many places where elephants are trained for a variety of tasks. Alongside its beauty and nature, another draw for the tourist is the region’s culture. Home to the ‘Long Neck Women’ Karen tribes, visits to tribal villages make up a key tourist activity in the area. The province also has a good range of temples, many in splendid mountainside locations.

Attractions in Mae Hong Son

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Long Neck Karen Villages

To some it can be a strange experience visiting a group of people as a tourist attraction. People visit to see woman wearing heavy brass rings which make their necks appear very long. The reason for this behavior is lost in history, but some believe the rings saved women from attacks by tiger. Whatever the reason, lots of people venture out to the...



Pai is famous for its stunning natural scenery and cool nice weather during the winter. In the evening, the main street of the town (Chaisongkram Rd.) becomes Pedestrian Street and it is filled with tourists, market stalls, and food carts. This so called “Pai Walking Street” has souvenir shops, Thai Massage shops, Handicraft shops,...


Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu

Burmese-style Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is located around 1,500 meters up Doi Kong Mu hill. The temple is famous for its view of the valley it overlooks. In the morning visitors can look out over mists and fog that accumulate in the valley below. This is one of the ‘iconic’ views of Thailand you often see on postcards and it is a...


Wat Hua Wiang

Located next to Mae Hong Son market, Wat Hua Wiang is a temple with a large compound featuring a large Burmese-style bronze Buddha image as its focal point. The compound also features a two-storey building with a multi-tiered tower and although the temple’s buildings are a bit dilapidated, this adds to its appeal. In addition, the temple is...


Tham Lot

If you are interested in caves and their history, you have a treat here. Tham Lot is massive and some of it remains unexplored. A number of items (pottery, etc.) offer evidence the system was once the home of cave-dwelling prehistoric man. A stream runs right through the mountain from one side to the other (roughly one kilometre) and it is...


Pang Ung

Pang Ung (Pang Oong) or “Pangtong2” is one of the Royal Initiative projects by HM Queen Sirikit for highland development. The place sometimes is referred to “Ruam Thai” on maps and signs. It is a Shan Minority Village where it has been developed with modern agricultural projects. A large reservoir in Pang Ung is popular and...


Sitjemam Muay Thai

This is the home of the world’s most powerful martial arts fighting system! If you are seriously committed to Muay Thai (“Thai Boxing”), whether you’re a beginner, an amateur or a professional fighter preparing for a fight, or simply aiming to drastically increase your fitness level – Sitjemam Muay Thai Pai is the perfect environment for you. This is where you can find quality Muay Thai training in a positive and genuine environment that still looks like the real Thailand. If you want to be supported by competent coaching and you aspire to be part of a winning team, Sitjemam Muay Thai is the place to be.


Huai Nam Dang National Park

Huai Nam Dang National Park is a large park which is part of four districts over an area of approximately 1,300 square kilometers. The park is situated on top of a ridge of hills and highest peaks source streams that feed the Pai, Ping, and Taeng Rivers. The park offers excellent views of the mist and fog common to the area in the early morning,...


Mae Surin Waterfall

Mae Surin Waterfall (Nam Tok Mae Surin) is the focal point of Mae Surin National Park, a park covering an area of around 400 square kilometers which houses Thanon Tongchai - a range with peaks ranging up to 1,700 meters above sea level. The streams provided by these peaks feed into the Pai River which runs directly through the park. The Pai feeds...


Tha Pai Hot Springs

Tha Pai Hot Springs are one of the focal points of Huai Nam Dang National Park, in Mae Hong Son province, 8 kilometers south of Pai. The springs offer a number of bathtubs for visitors to bathe in, and it is also possible to bathe in the stream that runs through the site. The water from these springs is said to have strong therapeutic value....


Tham Pla Phaseau National Park

Located in Mae Pai Forest Reserve in Mae Hong Son province, Tham Pla Phaseau (Tham Pla Pha Sua) is a 488 square-kilometre National Park featuring forests, caves, waterfalls and streams. The park borders with Myanmar’s Shan state and its peaks (Doi Lan is the highest at 1918 meters) are the source of numerous streams that flow around Mae Hong...


Wat Chong Kham / Wat Chong Klang

Given their close proximity, these two temples in Mae Hong Son are usually approached together. Both are found on southern Chong Klang Lake and when the sun reflects their images onto the water the effect is awe inspiring. Wat Chong Kham is an old temple built in 1827 by the Thai Yai of Burma. The temple houses pillars covered in gold and a large...


The Morning Market

This market is not big on gifts for the folks back home, but it is big on activity and is one place you will definitely get an insight into how locals live. The market opens very early and by about 09:00 it is teeming with people engaged in buying all sorts of local produce, mainly foodstuff. This is a great place to take some pictures if you are...


Pong Dueat Hot Springs

This is really quite an impressive place to visit. There aren’t that many places in the world with hot springs and Mae Hong Son is one of them, so if you are in the area, make the most of it! Set in thick forest, Pong Duad Hot Springs comprises 3-4 geysers (with water bursts that shoot 2-4 meters into the air) alongside a number of smaller...


Tham Mae Lana

Located in Pang Mapha, Tham Mae Lana Cave offers stalactites and stalagmites but is significantly less impressive than its neighbour Tham Lot. Nevertheless it’s a worthwhile visit if you have the time. A stream runs through the cave. The stream is home to a curious breed of fish that is totally devoid of eyes or colour! Details: This cave is...


Salawin National Park

One of Thailand’s smaller National Parks (721 square kilometres), Salween National Park is diverse and none the less impressive. Located around 165 kilometres south of Mae Hong Son, the park is set in dense forest with the Salween River passing through it. This river provides demarcation between Myanmar and Thailand and represents 120...


Phraya Singhanatracha Memorial

As monuments go, this is a fairly nondescript statue which has a certain level of historical significance. Located close to Doi Kong Moo Hill, the memorial depicts Phraya Singhanatracha, whose claim to fame was becoming the first governor of the province in 1874. If you are in the area have a look, otherwise, don’t go out of your way to see...


Wat To Phae

This is a large, ornate Burmese-style (Shan) temple that legend has it was built teak raft builders who worked in the area (the name of the temple is literally ‘temple of raft assembling’!). The temple features a gold coloured, sphere-shaped Vihara and a Burmese-style Buddha image. It also contains a famed Shan tapestry. This temple is...

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