After spending a day at Tham Lot village and exploring splendid Tham Lod Caves, we left for our next Mae Hong Son Loop Destination – Ban Rak Thai also know as Ban Ruam Thai and Mae Aw. This is a beautiful small lake town on the border of Myanmar famous for its tea plantations.
Drive from Tham Lod Caves to Ban Rak Thai (Mae Aw)
This was the smoothest of all ride across Mae Hong Son Loop. Except the last patch when you reach Mae Aw leading to slight ascend through tea plantations, rest of the path is almost plain with well paved road. Slopes are very much negotiable with smooth turns and slow gradient. It turned out to be a pleasant ride as we waved to cyclists on the way riding their bikes enjoying our ride together. It gets a bit colder towards the end as gradient goes up.
As road splits and you take a turn towards Mae Aw, views get even more spectacular with flowers on both side of the road.
There are 3 main attractions on the way. You may take quick breaks to enjoy them and also take some rest in the peaceful settings of these attractions.
1. Thampla-Phasua Waterfall
Thampla Phasua Waterfall is right next to the highway and you can have complete view of the waterfall from the main road itself. Compared to other waterfalls that we visited in North Thailand (Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls and Mork Fa Waterfall ), this turned out to be quite average. There is an entry fee of 100 Thai Bahts per person but in our view, it is better to save some money and enjoy this waterfall from parking area itself (unless you are looking to sit next to waterfall for some time and enjoy the sound and silence)
2. Pang Tong Palace
This is the country residence of Thai Royal Family. Though called as a palace but it is mainly extensive grounds of sheep farming and agriculture. we were short of time and thus had to skip Pang Tong Palace but it is worth a visit based on reviews that we read online. A bit detour from main road, you will find animals like deer, sheep and even leopards (caged) here.
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3. Mae Hong Son Bamboo Complex
It was by chance that we observed this splendid bamboo forest on the road side. 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 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.
After Bamboo complex, we straight headed to Mae Aw – Ban Ruam Thai (Ban Rak Thai). Gradient went up and weather became cold as we approached Mae Aw lake passing by tea plantations – our next destination on Mae Hong Son Loop ride.
It was a scenic and spectacular motorbike ride. Below is the representation of all above places on Google maps to help you locate them faster and plan your trip better. Please drop us a comment in case you want more information or want us to share your own experience.