Mae Hong Son is a small town (roughly the size of Pie), which functions as the capital of Mae Hong Son Province. The town is built in a Burmese style and located in a narrow valley (pie) surrounded by mountains. It is a simple and humble town, yet pleasant and authentic; it serves mainly as a starting point for tours and attractions in the province.
Mae Hong Son town is known as the city of 3 fogs; it is located 900 km away from Bangkok, surrounded by many high mountains, which renders the town remote and detached from the other parts of Thailand. However, since the local airport was open, so did the town, welcoming both internal and external tourists.
In terms of beauty, the town and its surroundings easily surpass pie, but you won’t find here the crowd and rush of volumes of tourists and backpackers that fill Pie. Rather, the atmosphere here is calm, quiet and authentic, and things are carried out here in their own slow pace.
The locals are mostly Mountain-tribe people, government officials and students; they are very kind and polite, yet shy – certainly compared to the typical population in other regions of Thailand. The Thai residents who relocated here from heavily commercialized areas in Koh Samui, Krabi and Phuket – have settled in Pie rather than here. You won’t be finding here loads of foreigners who married Thai women either; those who came from the north to open pubs, bars, restaurants and coffee shops certainly didn’t get here, and neither did swarms of backpackers who sought a place to stay for a long while. All of them can be easily found in Pie.
The main attractions in Mae Hong Son town are the lovely, authentic walking street in the town center by the lake, and Jom Kham twin temples who are also close by, and their lights reflect in the lake water during the night, which makes them a part of the town symbols. Another local attraction is Doi Kong Mu mountain, whose top is graced by a lovely temple which provides an excellent observation point on the entire valley and town.
♥ Mae Hong Son town is included in our private-luxury tour-plans in Northern Thailand
For our private luxury tour plans in the north => click here
Arrival: If you choose to get here by land, there are two options from Chiang Mai, using route 1095 through the town of Pie or route 108 through Mae Sariang (a redundant town in the southern part of the province). Either way, we are talking about a 5-6-hour ride. Another way is a 30 min flight from Chiang Mae airport.
Accommodation: The town of Mae Hong Son has many guesthouses and simple hotels. It only features one high-quality resort, and of course, it accommodates TipTop travelers.
The seasons: the best time to visit Mae Hong Son – and the north for that matter – is from October – February; please consider that it can rather chilly. The worst time to get here is between March – June, and I highly recommend avoiding visiting the north during these months.
The Main attractions in Mae Hong Son Town
Mae Hong Son is mainly a starting point for local tours in the area, or a place to stop by for rest and refreshment. There aren’t many attractions in town but here is a review of the main ones:
The Walking Street – Between October – February the town center features a nice market, and there is no traffic in the area. The local walking street spreads across various streets, around Jom Kham lake.
♦ Link to an extended review of the Walking Street including a video -> Click here
My Opinion: much calmer than Pie Walking Street, yet highly recommended!!
♥ Included (in the season) as part of our Private-Family Adventure-Tours in Northern Thailand Follow the link
The Twin Temples – Near the walking street, by lake Jom Kham, there are 2 similar looking temples Wat Jong Klang and Wat Jong Kham, designed in the Burmese Shan style. I haven’t got to visit them, but at night, they are lit in various colors reflected in the lake, and this image became one of the symbols of Mae Hong Son town. I’ve also tried taking such a picture and you can see the colorful result.
Doi Kong Mu – The mountain and temple which graces its top are one of the famous destinations of town. The mountain is about 1 km away from Mae Hong Son and you can access it by a comfortable road leading up to the temple. The mountain top and temple provide a spectacular viewing point of the valley, Mae Hong Son town and Burma mountains – and the sunsets you can see there are breathtaking.
♦ Link to an extended review of Doi Kong Mu -> Click here
My Opinion: you must visit here, not because of the temple but for the spectacular view and the sunsets you can watch from there.
♥ Included as part of our Private-Family Adventure-Tours in Northern Thailand Follow the link
Attractions in Mae Hong Son town area:
As I mentioned earlier, Mae Hong Son serves as a base to begin local tours for marvelous places and various attractions located in the area. You can get to each of these destinations – many of whom UNSEEN – after a short ride.