Mae Hong Son lies in a misty valley in the Shan Hills of Northern Thailand. For centuries the nascent kingdoms of Northern Thailand used the shrouded valley and town as the staging camp for elephant wrangling to supply Chiang Mai with beasts of work and war.
Today Mae Hong Son retains much of its ancient, mist-shrouded mystique despite the modernization of the last few decades. This is apparent in the unique architecture of the old buildings and temples in the area that fuse construction styles from across the cultures inhabiting the Golden Triangle Region.
Mae Hong Son Town is the capital of Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand’s westernmost and least densely populated area. More than 60 percent of the population belongs to the indigenous hill tribes that make their homes in the dense forests and mountains in the area. Members of the Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha, and Karen tribes call the valley home, and many of their villages are open and welcoming to travelers on luxury tours of Thailand.
Mae Hong Son, known as the City of the Three Mists, has a healthy mix of excursions and activities for travelers to choose from. A bicycle is a great way to explore the town, and Mae Hong Son Lake has multiple viewpoints to enjoy both the town and surrounding nature from. Wat Jong Kham and Wat Jong Klang can be seen from most areas around the lake, and the architecturally distinct temples are particularly stunning when lit at night.
Outside of town, The Shan Hills make for wonderful trekking, and there are numerous waterfalls worth visiting like Thampla-Phasua Waterfall National Park. Elephant treks and river cruises up the Mai Pai River are popular excursions on tours of Thailand.
The best time to visit is from November through January with the area’s best weather. The rains that fall June through October revive the countryside to a gorgeous green. The highest temperatures are from February through May, but the weather is brisk during this time due to elevation.
Mae Hong Son is the capital of Mae Hong Son Province in Northern Thailand. It’s best accessed using the modern Mae Hong Son Loop road from Chiang Mai to the east.
With distinctly ancient flavor, this misty town is a delight for travelers on tours in Thailand. Beautiful scenery, unique architecture, amazing hiking, and the plethora of hill tribes in the area means there’s something for everyone.
Appropriate Attire :
Western clothing is fine for the city, but bring along a good sweater and socks as Mae Hong Son can be shockingly cool, especially when arriving from the warmer southern provinces.