Mae Hong Son is the most North Western Province of Thailand on the border with Myanmar and its center, Mae Hong Son Town is a picturesque beautiful town situated in the lush green valley surrounded by mountains. Famous Mae Hong Son Loop has been named after this town only as it falls right in the center of your loop and passes mostly through Mae Hong Son Province.
Also known as “The City of Three Mists”, Mae Hong Son has many offbeat experiences to offer. Serene walk around the town, hiking/camping in the mountains, lush green views and unique mix of Yunnan, Myanmar and Thailand culture – Mae Hong Son is a perfect package for backpackers and also peace-seekers. Here are the 10 offbeat things that you can do and explore in Mae Hong Son. Some of these experiences are simply amazing and you will thank us for recommending them to you.
- Visit Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw): Beautiful Chinese Village on Thai-Burma Border
- Camping and misty mornings at amazingly beautiful Pang Ung Lake
- Mae Hong Son Bamboo Complex – Splendid bamboo forest
- Explore Mae Hong Son Temples
- Mae Hong Son Lake – Take a walk and feed fishes
- Enjoy your meal at famous lake-side restaurants
- Su Tong Pae -Longest Bamboo Bridge in Thailand
- Unwind yourself at Pha Bong Hot Spring
- Colours of Wild Sunflower Field at Doi Mae Ho
- Claim your Mae Hong Son Loop Certificate
(Go to the Top) Around 40 kilometers north and an hour scooter drive from Mae Hong Son, you will reach the beautiful town of Ban Rak Thai (บ้านรักไทย). Situated on Thai-Burma Border and also popularly known as Mae Aw (密窝村แม่ออ), this is one of the best offbeat destinations that you can explore in North Thailand and Mae Hong Son.
Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw) was settled by former Kuo Min Tang (Nationalist) fighters from Yunnan Province, China, after the Communist takeover of China and this village is very much known as the Chinese or Yunnanese village. Most of the signs and symbols are in Chinese and you can enjoy the delicacies of Chinese dishes and Chinese tea at restaurants lined on both sides of the road. With a splendid lake reservoir in the center and tea garden cottages on surrounding mountains, you would love to sit for hours alongside soaking its serenity and elegant beauty to the depth of your soul.
You can read more about our trip to Ban Rak Thai here – Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw)
(Go to the Top) Popularly known as “Switzerland in Thailand”, Pang Ung has mesmerizing beauty with Its beautiful lake, green pastures, pine forests and misty mornings. Also known as “Pang Oong” or “Ban Ruam Thai”, Pang Ung is a favorite winter destination both for locals and tourists. Best part is the night camping along the lake side as you enjoy barbeque and star-gazing through out the night and wake up with beautiful misty mornings. Strongly recommend visit if you are in Mae Hong Son.
You can read more about our trip and camping at Pang Ung Lake here – Pang Ung Lake: An Offbeat Gem
(Go to the Top) It was by chance that we observed this splendid bamboo forest on the road side while driving to Ban Rak Thai. There was no one except a government official who had taken a break to finish some of his sheets. It is like the perfect scenery as you walk by the side of a stream through bamboo trees. There are multiple bamboo varieties and also few trails marked. There was a complex and few benches to sit down. We spent some time at this spectacular place before heading ahead on our journey.
(Go to the Top) If you are in Mae Hong Son, take out time to visit its 2 famous temples – i) Wat Chong Klang right next to Mae Hong Son Lake ii) Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu on a hill overlooking town. We got a chance to visit Wat Chong Klang which is situated right in the city facing beautiful Mae Hong Son lake. It looks mesmerizing at night lit up with lights and sparkling shadow in lake. Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is around 3 kilometers from the city and provides panoramic views of the city. Both temples have a Burmese touch either in paintings or in the vihara designs.
(Go to the Top) There are these small experiences that set Mae Hong Son apart from other cities. Being a small city, you can easily cover it on your feet exploring its markets, lake and temples. During your walk, spend some time at Mae Hong Son lake to soak its beauty and feed fishes over there.
(Go to the Top) Enjoy amazing lake views while you taste the best delicacies at some of the most famous restaurants of Mae Hong Son. There are many restaurants lined up on the lake side with open seating. Salween River Restaurant and Little Good Things are two most known of all. When we reached Mae Hong Son in morning, most of the restaurants have still not opened but we got lucky to have our breakfast-cum-lunch at Salween River Restaurant.
(Go to the Top) We could not visit this famous bridge in Mae Hong Son but would recommend a walk on Su Tong Pae, a 900 meters bamboo bridge through paddy fields joining the village of Ban Kung Mai Sak with the temple Wat Pu Sama. This passes through the paddy fields providing some spectacular views. You may read more about Su Tong Pae here.
(Go to the Top) Around 10 kilometers south of Mae Hong Son are situated Pha Bong Hot Spring in Shan Village. You will see a sign-board on main road and a quick diversion will take you to these hot springs. When we reached there, it was ll for our self with no-one being there. These Hot Springs are clean but settings are not natural. Swimming pool has been built for visitors to enjoy and relax in these hot springs. You can also rent a private bathroom if you want one for you. Swimming Pool: 20 Bath, Small Bathroom: 50 Bath, Big Bathroom: 500 Bath
(Go to the Top) Not exactly in Mae Hong Son but around 2 hours drive are located the wild sunflower fields of Doi Mae U Kho. Thung Bua Tong Sunflowers blossom only once a year and it is a sight in itself as both sides of the highway seem to be painted with magnificent golden yellow colour. These Mexican sunflowers begin to blossom only in Nov and early Dec (for a period of less than 40 days).
You can read more about our trip to these Sunflower fields here – Thung Bua Tong Wild Sunflower fields
(Go to the Top) Completing a trip across Mae Hong Son Loop is itself a superbly offbeat thing and for accomplishing this unique feat of conquering 1864 curves of treacherous and splendid Mae Hong Son Loop, you also fully deserve Mae Hong Son Loop Certificate of Conquest. You can get your certificate either from the Cafe Station opposite Mae Hong Son Post Office or from Chamber of Commerce office.
You may read more about getting Mae Hong Son Certificate here – Where and How to get your Mae Hong Son Loop Certificate?
Mae Hong Son offers multiple offbeat things to do – You can go for hiking or camp in jungles. Enjoy its serene beauty or go for some adventure. Do visit this far north city for experience unique and offbeat Thailand.
Here is the map with all above places marked –