Mae Hong Son Province is situated in the north west of Thailand. The capital city of this province also goes by the name of Mae Hong Son. Thais refer to the city as Muang Mae Hong Son (City of Mae Hong Son).
Please note: Having the same name for the capital city and the province sometimes is a cause of confusion so it is good to keep this in mind when making travel plans.
Mae Hong Son has a unique feel to it often described as having charm, soul, great atmosphere with a calming, welcoming and generous spirit; all true to the feel of this wonderful place.
Mae Hong Son is strongly influenced by the Shan people, from the Shan State of Myanmar. Known in English as Shan, in the Thai language as Thai Yai and in their own Shan language as Dai. The local food, language, architecture and culture in Mae Hong Son is predominantly Shan.
Alongside the Shan people are many hill tribes including Hmong, Karen, Long-neck Kayan, Lisu and Lahu. This diversity adds to the color and cultural warmth of the markets, festivals and local villages.
The mountainous, forested surroundings, the valleys, the rural/farming lifestyle, the Pai River and other small waterways all add to the natural beauty of Mae Hong Son.
- Cool season – November to February. Considered the best time to travel to the Mae Hong Son. Days generally have clear skies with a temperature range of high 20’s to low 30’s. Nights are cool to around 10 degrees.
- Rainy season – July to October. Considered the second best time to travel to Mae Hong Son. The days are generally clear skies with the rain usually in the late afternoon for 1-2 hours. Sometime we have we have a few overcast days with steady rain all day, but not that often.
- Hot season – March to June. Definitely for the hardy traveller who likes the weather to be hot and dry. Temperatures range from mid 30’s to low 40’s during the day and can still be around 25 degrees at night. The air is very dry, dusty and smokey. The smoke is mostly from the annual agricultural and forest fires.
Mae Hong Son has an array of local attractions that we find meet our guest’s diverse expectations of learning, experiencing and enjoying this town and region. What really makes Mae Hong Son however is the raw natural charm and beauty of the people and the place. It is the Thailand of the past, today. It is the serenity in the air, the charm and mystic that only a visit here can show you.
- The Shan style temples in Mae Hong Son are wonderful examples of the beautiful, unique Shan style; such as Wat Doi Gong Mu (Doi Gong Mu Temple), Wat Chong Kham (Chong Kham Temple) and Wat Chong Klang (Chong Klang Temple). Added to this are more traditional and modern temples.
- Daily market
Centrally located and very close to the runway, the daily market sells fresh produce, cooked food and flowers. The section with many products from Myanmar makes for very interesting browsing.
- Seasonal night walking market
Starting at the post office and around the lake is the walking market, selling souvenirs of local products. Along the lake on the west side are many food vendors and restaurants where you can try local cuisine while taking in the magical view of the lake and the lights of Wat Chang Kham. This market is usually open for the peak season months of October to February.
- Sunday Market
If you are in Mae Hong Son on a Sunday do not miss the Sunday Market. Great for people watching and seeing and trying new and unusual products. Open each Sunday from 7am to 1pm.
The forests, valleys and paddy fields dotted with villages and farmers shelters all makes for great photo opportunities, inspiring artistic creations; or you can simply soak it in as a cultural experience.
Popular villages include; Ban Ruk Thai (Mae Aw), Ruam Thai (Pang Ung), Ban Kung Mai Sak, Meo Microwave, Ban Nai Soi, Ban Huai Seau Tao, Ban Huai Pu Kaeng.
Products of the region include fabric, teak wood, bamboo, sesame, soy bean, garlic, mulberry, tea and coffee.
- Long-tail boat ride or bamboo rafting on Pai River
- Elephant riding
- Nature walks and trekking
- Motor bike riding
- Mud Spa treatments
Many activities may be done independently or with local tour guides.
Please note: For trekking into the mountains it is highly recommended that you go with a local guide.
Events/Festivities – Mae Hong Son
- Poi Sang Long – March or April depending on the moon.
- Winter Fair – Each January
- Shan festivities – there are many during October and November. Each local temple has their own times for various festivals
- Hill tribe Festivities – such as Hmong New Year; usually in December
- Festival of MAE HONG SON Ethnic Cultures – November to December
The dates of many festivities vary from year to year. Please see our Facebook Page for updates.