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North of Thailand: 6 Things to Do in Mae Hong Son

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Mae Hong Son is a hidden gem in northern Thailand that's just waiting to be explored! With its lush green forests, stunning mountain views, and charming local culture, it's no surprise that this town is becoming increasingly popular with adventurous travelers.

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Here are 6 places that I’ve visited during my last trip to Mae Hong Son.


① KAREN LONG NECK VILLAGE


This village is home to the Karen tribe, who are known for the brass rings they wear around their necks. You can learn about their unique culture, interact with the locals, and take amazing photos. Just make sure to be respectful and ask for permission before taking any pictures.


The villagers are friendly and welcoming to visitors. Although the village is very well-preserved, I did saw a kid staring at her smartphone watching TikTok video. I guess there is no escaping technology even in a place like this one…


Watch the video on YouTube HERE.


② MOO BAN RAK THAI


Moo Ban Rak Thai, also known as the "Thai Yunnan Chinese Village," is a small village located in the mountains of Mae Hong Son. The village is unique for its blend of Thai, Chinese, and Yunnanese cultures and its stunning mountain views. Visitors can enjoy traditional Chinese architecture, delicious Yunnanese cuisine, and scenic hikes in the surrounding hills.


This is hands-down my favorite place in the entire trip back to Thailand. I had no idea there is a village like this in my home country. Being there reminded me that life can be slow and simple – in contrast to the lifestyle people have in Tokyo or Bangkok.


Watch the video on YouTube HERE.


③ MAE HONG SON NIGHT MARKET


Every province in Thailand has its own night market, and Mae Hong Son is no exception. No trip to Mae Hong Son would be complete without sampling the delicious street food. From crispy fried chicken to spicy papaya salad, the local cuisine is a must-try for foodies.


If you’re visiting the province in November, there is also an annual Lantern Festival where hundreds of lanterns are released into the night sky.


Watch the video on YouTube HERE.


④ PANG OUNG


Pang Oung is a beautiful highland lake located in Mae Hong Son province. The lake is surrounded by lush green hills and pine forests, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting. Visitors can relax in floating bamboo houses, hike through the surrounding hills, and enjoy a variety of water activities on the lake.


We visited Pang Oung early in the morning of winter season. It was a stunning destination with a dreamlike atmosphere and a serene ambiance. The lake is often blanketed in thick fog making a perfectly romantic scene for photography enthusiast (like me!)


There were also 3-4 swans living in the area. If you’re lucky enough, you might see one around.


⑤ SUTHONG PAE BAMBOO BRIDGE


This impressive bamboo bridge stretches over 500+ meters over the rice fields and offers stunning views of the surrounding jungle. Personally, this is not the most impressive location from my trip, but it’s iconic in its own way. Apparently, it was built in 2012 by the local community to help Buddhist monks of Phu Sa Ma Temple (วัดภูสมะ) on their morning walk.


That said, you can walk across the bamboo bridge and visit the Buddhist temple as well. Again, not the most impressive place but it’s definitely an important landmark of Mae Hong Son.


If you’re curious, the link to the YouTube video is HERE.


⑥ YUN LAI VIEWPOINT


Located about 5 km to the West of Pai town centre above the Chinese Village. In winter, tourists camp in this area very early in the morning to see the unique natural phenomenal locally known as the ‘sea of fog’ over the valley at sunrise.


In my trip, we woke up around 4:30AM and hopped on a truck heading to the top of the mountain. I asked if I could sit at the bank of a truck – because I wanted to use my gimbal and record the entire ride! I watched the footage later and it looked pretty scary.


If you’re curious, the link to the YouTube video is HERE.

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All in all, Mae Hong Son is not as well-known as Chiang Mai or Phuket, but it offers a unique combination of stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and exciting adventures that make it a must-visit destination in Thailand. Whether you're exploring ancient temples, soaking in hot springs, or trekking through the mountains, you'll find plenty of things to do in this enchanting town!

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