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Northern Thailand - Mae Hong Son

Photo Gallery of Mae Hong Son in Thailand that is famous for hill tribes such as Long Neck Tribe, beautiful temples at the edge of a lake and so on.
Sceneries of Mae Hong Son.
Mae Hong Son is about 300 km to the northwest from Chiang Mai - the center of Northern Thai culture, and it's close to the border between Thailand and Myanmar. It will take about 40 minutes from Chiang Mai by air (if my memory is correct. :D ).

I visited Mae Hong Son twice so far (as of 2013). For the first time, in 2004, I flew to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, then changed to an around 80-seat small airplane. At that time, I had a little difficult time on the way back to Chiang Mai. (See appendix at the bottom of this page)
For the second time, in 2009, same as last time, I flew to Chiang Mai, and after that, by car. (We traveled in the clockwise direction this time; from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, then Mae Hong Son to Pai, and Pai back to Chiang Mai. See Pai page in details.)

Mae Hong Son is famous for hill tribes such as Long Neck Tribe in Ban Nai Soi, the beautiful temples at the edge of a lake - Wat Chong Kham / What Chong Klang and the temple on top of a mountain - Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu reported on a different page. I didn't know that but they have a hot spring as well.

Our guide in 2004 says, "This city, Mae Hong Son, is, no thief (even if you leave a motorbike unlocked, no one will take it away), no movie theater, no department store, but we have 7-Elevens. Hahaha." Not big but a cozy place.

Mae Hong Son
The city and the certificate !
A village of hill tribes
Ban Nai Soi
A village of hill tribes
Ban Huai Sua Tao

I visited Mae Hong Son twice so far (as of 2013). For the first time, I flew to Chiang Mai from Bangkok, then changed to an around 80-seat small airplane.
I dropped by Tourism Authority of Thailand - Mae Hong Son Office. I heard you can get a certificate of something of Mae Hong Son. Okay, let's go and check it out ! ...

There are three village of Long Neck Tribe in Mae Hong Son as follows, and I visited one of them, called " Ban Nai Soi ", the village of " Long neck tribe ".
  • Ban Nai Soi (this time)
  • Ban Huai Sua Tao
  • Ban Ban Nam Pieng Din
One hour drive from the city of Mae Hong Son toward Myanmar along a country road then ...

Ban Huai Sua Tao is a village of Long Neck Tribe, the closest from Mae Hong Son city of the three villages. This village is explained as follows:
The people are karenni refugees who have fled from persecution in Burma (Myanmar). They belong almost exclusively to one of two Karenni subgroups, the Kayan and the Kayaw....
At the edge of a lake
The temple on the summit
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
Like a Japanese shrine
Wat Kam Ko

Wat Chong Kham was built in 1827 by the ruler of Mae Hong Son, and his wife. It was the first temple built in the province. It was promoted to a royal temple in 1984..
Wat Chong Klang was at first a pavilion for people to rest. Devout Buddhists then contributed money for the construction of the present building to replace the old one during 1867-1871. ...

Located at the summit of Mt. Kong MU. The two big white chedis will welcome you.
This temple is the oldest and most significant landmark of the province, it stands a top Kong Mu hill, and hence can be seen from anywhere in town. Formerly named "Wat Plai Doi", the temple has two Burmese-style Chedis. The larger Chedi was built in 1860 ...

A temple standing peacefully but lonely, Wat Kam Ko. It made me feel like that, I guess it was because of the rain.
I ever had visited a lot of temples in Thailand, from southern to northern areas but I had never seen this kind of temples: This temple had a string of red gates to the main hall like a Japanese shrine with the series of red Toriis (shrine gates). ...
Memories of the last war
World War II Museum
The place where God fish live
God Fish: Tham Pla
They have a hot spring !
Pha Bong Hot Spring

Mae Hong Son also has one of the places to show memories of the last war: Khun Yuam World War II Japanese War Museum.
The museum collects Japanese army artifacts in the Burma War and their theme is to clear the truth of the last war
, different from the museum in Kanchanaburi which shows cruelty of Japanese troops. Local people took good care of soldiers who ...

Tham Pla or fish cave where fish of god live is 20 kilometers to the north of the city. (Tham: cave, Pla: fish)
In the cave, you'll see many many God fish swimming together through a cleft in a rock. It made me surprised.
The explanation board says the fish is called Soro brook carp. The fish looks like a dace but doesn't have...

Pha Bong Hot Spring is about 11 kilometers to the south of the city.
How wonderful they have a hot spring ! As a Japanese, I like it very much. :D
(I ever heard that Chiang Mai has hot springs as well. Bangkok has some also... ? )
Not so many pictures here but let's check out what the hot spring looks like with me. Here we go ! ...

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A little difficult time in Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Song where I wanted to visit with high expectation for a long, long time. I was really afraid that it was rainy but no one can control weather.
After visiting a lot of places including Long neck tribe, we went ahead to the airport to go back to Chiang Mai in the evening.
(We were planning to enjoy Thai northern diner at night in Chiang Mai.)

They have two flights to Chiang Mai. We were told that one of them had a problem and can not fly and it seemed our flight was being delayed. (Hey, prepare another airplane !)
Anyway, I thought this kind of thing might happen and tried to relax. Still, no announce.
One hour passes, and time passes more and more. It makes us worried more and more also.
Then finally the announce comes, " Attention please, attention please. Sorry, it's canceled today... " Great Scott !

In a moment, all tourists around us rushed away to somewhere in fevered haste. My wife and I also went crazy and asked the counter clerks what was happening, if they really didn't have another flight, or protested against them ... however, canceled was canceled.
(Our dinner is running away ! Hungry !)

By all means, we wanted to go back to Chiang Mai and went out from the airport to find something to help us. Some mini buses were in front of the airport to go to Chiang Mai. (Really Quick !)
A lot of tourists started negotiating how much with them. While I didn't notice that, my wife also was negotiating with them. I didn't know how much but the deal was completed. (Great job !) With other 4 couples, we left Mae Hong Son toward Chiang Mai. It was almost sunset...

This bus was very speeding. From Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai, most of the roads are in mountains, that means they are winding like a snake. If I fell asleep, it's fine but this made me keeps awake because really scary.
While seeing the darkness of night lit by the light of the bus to kill time, sometime dogs went across slowly or 5 or 6 cows were sleeping on the road. Hair-raising... (Fortunately, the drive's skill seemed great. :D )

We took a restroom break once at a 7-Eleven on the way.
When we arrived in Chiang Mai at last, it was already past midnight... Whew !

Have a good sleep... :)