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Surrounded by forested mountains and with a remote and pretty setting by a tranquil lake, Mae Hong Son fits many travellers’ preconceived notions of how a Northern Thai town should look. A palpable influence from Myanmar and a frontier-settlement feel don’t clash with this image and, best of all, there’s hardly a túk-túk or tout to be seen. This doesn’t mean Mae Hong Son is uncharted territory – tour groups have been coming here for years – but the city is far more laid-back than Pai, while its potential as a base for activities, from boat trips to trekking, ensures that your visit can be quite unlike anyone else’s.

Best time to visit

In Mae Hong Son, the wet season is oppressive and overcast, the dry season is mostly clear, and it is hot year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 14°C to 38°C and is rarely below 12°C or above 41°C.

Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Mae Hong Son for warm-weather activities is from mid November to early March.

Check the below table for the general idea of Mae Hong Son weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 29.8 22.2 14.7
Feb 33.3 24.3 15.1
Mar 36.5 27.9 18.4
Apr 38.6 31.4 23.6
May 36.1 29.9 24.2
Jun 33.9 28.7 24.2
Jul 32.4 27.8 23.8
Aug 32.3 27.6 23.6
Sep 33.3 28.1 23.7
Oct 32.7 27.4 22.2
Nov 31.3 25.6 19.4
Dec 29.1 22.6 16.2

Mae Hong Son’s current weather and 7-day forecast


The city of Mae Hong Son is located in one of the most beautiful provinces in Thailand, a rugged northern area where you'll find a blend of Thai and Burmese culture and some of the most stunning landscapes you'll see in the country. Mae Hong Son township is known for its dense forests and mist-shrouded valley and lies in the mountainous border region between Thailand and Burma.

For some inspiration and ideas on what to do once you get here, see our list of top tourist attractions in Mae Hong Son.

1. Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu

Make the half-hour trek to the top of Doi Kong Mu hill through dense forest, and you'll find this unique temple with two white chedis plus some of the best views of Mae Hong Son you can find anywhere. Two enormous Burmese-style lion statues greet you at the foot of the overgrown staircase to the top.

The chedis—which date back to the 1800s and are topped by golden spires—hold the ashes of one of the chief disciples of the Buddha, as well as the ashes of the governor who ordered the construction of the temple. The chedis are "guarded" by Naga, a mythological snake and a lion-like creature called a Chinthe. At night, the chedis are lit and can be seen from the town.

2. Buat Luk Khaeo Festival

This festival, held once a year, honors young boys between the ages of 10 and 13 who are ordained as novice monks. Mae Hong Son is the place to see this celebration, as it is more colorful here than anywhere else in the country. The three-day festival is held at the beginning of April each year (perfect timing if you plan to stick around for Songkran, the Buddhist New Year).

The novices, known as nakh, participate in several activities throughout the festival, including having their heads shaved and receiving saffron monk habits. The most entertaining event for tourists is the first-day procession, when the boys wear elaborate costumes and are lifted up on adults' shoulders to be led to the temple with music and great fanfare.

3. Burmese Temples

Standing next to each other by a little lake in the southern part of town, Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang are Burmese-style temples. Especially notable for tourists is the Wat Chong Klang wiharn, which holds over 30 statues brought to Thailand from Burma around 1860.

The temples are surrounded by a park used by the locals for recreation. There's also an outdoor market here, where temple visitors can buy hill tribe handicrafts, traditional sweet snacks, and textiles.

4. Pai

This small town near Mae Hong Son is loved by both locals and tourists for its slow pace and beautiful natural surroundings. There's no shortage of guesthouses and quaint eateries, not to mention bungalows occupied by long-haired hippie wannabes strumming guitars and lazing in hammocks.

Nearby tourist attractions include a waterfall, the Pai canyon, and a chance to go tubing down the Pai River. Located about 3.5 hours from Chiang Mai, Pai is easily accessible by minivan, motorbike, or a short flight.

5. Mae Sariang

Pai may be a favorite destination among backpackers on a soul-seeking experience, but Mae Sariang holds its own charm for those willing to get a bit off the beaten path. Smaller and lacking Pai's notoriety, Mae Sariang promises quiet authenticity—an opportunity for a true northern Thai experience.

Here, you can trek to local hill tribes, bike through the town, purchase local handicrafts, and visit many temples. Being one of the few foreigners in the area will give you a different perspective on life in rural Thailand.

Mae Sariang is about three hours south of Mae Hong Son city, so either leave early in the morning for a long day trip or plan on spending a night somewhere along the way.

6. Mae Hong Son Loop

You can take in all the sightseeing highlights of the province by following the popular Mae Hong Son Loop route. Many travelers rent a motorbike and spend a few days riding through mountains and countryside, with stops at waterfalls and small towns along the way. The loop includes Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in the country, as well as Mae Hong Son town, Mae Sariang, Pai, and Chiang Mai (typically the starting point).

Allow several days to enjoy the sights, stop for food, and photo ops along the way, and to relax as well—many of the small villages offer homestays or guesthouses for a simple but satisfying night of rest.

7. Padong

About 1.5 hours from Mae Hong Son town, you can visit the Padong Longneck Village, where members of a local hill tribe still stretch their necks with golden rings. Girls begin wearing the rings at age four and more are added until they turn 25. Tourists pay a fee to enter the village, and often to take photographs as well.

There are many tour options for visiting the local ethnic minority communities, known as hill tribes—but all are not created equal. Tour companies, looking to make money off unique lifestyles and traditions, often exploit groups. These communities are fascinating, but make sure to research companies and packages before you purchase.

Many local resorts will offer personalized tour opportunities, or you can do a homestay in a village rather than popping in for a photoshoot while on a bus tour around the region.

8. Mae Aw

Much is made of Thailand's proximity to Burma, and rightly so, as many Burmese live in Thailand as migrant workers and refugees. But China also sits in close proximity to both countries and Mae Aw (also known as Ban Rak Thai) stands as a testament to that nation's history.

Mae Aw, about 20 kilometers northwest of Mae Hong Son, is home to mostly Chinese immigrants. The Chinese who live here are the direct descendants of General Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist troops who, after losing the war against Communist China, fled to Burma and then Thailand rather than following their leader to Formosa (now Taiwan). Many of the men work for the Thai police or as guards and officials along the Thai-Burmese border.

9. Shan Villages

The Shan people have fought both the Burmese and Thai government for decades, and ongoing violence and upheaval often force refugees across the border. The Shan state lies just across the border from Thailand, and, as a result, there is a good deal of Shan influence in some Mae Hong Son areas.

If you're interested in visiting a Shan village, one of your best options is to hire a local guide who knows the area. You can also find your own way to the Mae Lana village near Soppong—surrounded by rice paddy fields, this small village does not receive much commercial tourism, so you'll have a better chance of seeing authentic local customs and maybe even catch a Buddhist ceremony at the temple.

10. Fish Cave

Known as Tharn Pla in Thai, this popular tourist destination is exactly what it sounds like: a pool fed by a small river that is home to an array of exotic fish you can feed, a short hiking trail, and a number of food stalls.

Located about 17 kilometers from Mae Hong just off a highway, this place can be hard to find but worth the effort if you're after a relaxing couple of hours in a cool shady park by the water.

Despite the name, there's no cave here but instead a jungly hill surrounding the stream where the giant fish live—and giant they are, with some of the blueish brook carp reaching one meter long.

11. Tham Lot Cave

Thailand's biggest cave is over 1,600 meters long and is home to huge chambers, plenty of stalactites, and even signs of prehistoric life. When archeologists first explored this cave in the 1960s, they discovered not only pottery but also teak coffins—left behind by the ancient Lawa tribe that once inhabited the cave.

You can explore the cave on foot if you hire a local guide, or you can get on a bamboo raft that will follow the Nam Lang River, which flows through the cave.

The cave is inhabited by bats and swifts, a perfect combination for an impressive sunset show— as the sun starts to set, the swifts return to the cave for the night, followed by the colony of bats exiting on their own dance across the sky.

12. Pang Tong Royal Development Project

This special protected park on the banks of the Huai Pang Tong Reservoir is not only a beautiful natural area, but also a community where hill tribes live and grow a number of plants, including avocados and Chinese pears. The cool climate here is also ideal to grow roses and hydrangea, which many locals do to sell at the markets.

The land surrounding the lake is covered in soft rolling hills and evergreen forests, perfect for hiking, relaxing in the shade, or picnicking. Visitors can also get on a raft for a sightseeing tour or interact with the park rangers to find out more about the endangered Laew, a small green frog that calls this area home.

13. Namtok Mae Surin National Park

Located very close to Mae Hong Son town, this 399-square-kilometer park is home to waterfalls, caves, and the Doi Pui mountain, which reaches 1700 meters at the peak.

The park's main waterfall is Mae Surin Falls, one of the tallest in the country at over 100 meters high. During the dry season (November to February), you can hike to the bottom of the falls, but this gets trickier and more dangerous as the monsoon rains arrive. You can see the waterfall from the parking lot of the park at any time, though—so you can always get a good picture even if a hike is not on the cards.

The Pai River, which runs through the park, is a good place for rafting—and visitors can even camp on the shore.

Mae Hong Son doesn't have any luxury accommodations. Here, visitors have a choice between comfortable mid-range hotels or simpler accommodations in bungalows or family-owned hotels. Many of the best accommodations are either outside town, surrounded by their own green oasis of tropical jungle, or smacked right in the middle of everything in the center of the city.

Mid-Range Hotels

The closest you'll get to luxury (but with surprisingly affordable prices) is the Imperial Mae Hong Son Resort, which offers grounds covered in a teakwood forest, an outdoor swimming pool, and a restaurant on site. Rooms are spacious, and some offer a pool view. Gims Resort offers accommodation in private bungalows that are rustic but spacious and come with air-conditioning and their own outdoor deck.

Budget Hotels

For clean and modern rooms with big balconies that overlook the mountains, the B2 Mae Hong Son Premier Hotel is a very good choice. The hotel offers a pool and is in a good location in the center of town. Piya Guest House is also in town, with simple but clean rooms that overlook a lake or the swimming pool. The small café at the hotel serves breakfast only, but there are plenty of places to eat just down the street.

Mae Hong Son is not only home to diverse cultures, but also incredible Restaurants. Here are five popular restaurants guaranteed to tickle your taste buds.   

1.Bi Fern Restaurant

This popular Restaurant has been in Mae Hong Son since 2012. It’s famed for its deliciousness and is also a Recommended Restaurant of Mae Hong Son. The restaurant is located before the walking street, opposite the public library. It is situated in a 2-storey wooden house decorated with local art and furniture, including wooden furniture with a Myanmar style made to feel more homey and warm by the glow of yellow lights. Most of the dishes here come northern Thai recipes and there is live music in the evening. We suggest reserving a table in advance by calling 0-5361-1374.   

2.Pa Hom Noodles

This famous noodle Restaurant in Mae Hong Son has been open for more than 20 years. Its slogan is: “All the deliciousness, in one place.” The recommended dish here is the honey-stewed beef. The restaurant stews and braises beef with jungle honey, various spices, and good Chinese herbs until the beef is so tender that it seems to melt in your mouth. There are other delicious dishes available too, including curry rice with pork or beef, stewed pork with rice and seaFood sauce, rice seasoned with shrimp Paste, grilled pork satay, steamed pork or beef, and more. Everything is delicious, just like its slogan promises. This restaurant is located in downtown Mae Hong Son, close to PTT gas station (the only large gas stationdowntown). For the price, it is very cute… not more than 50 baht for all dishes.     


This coffee shop-cum-hostel is located in the city of Mae Hong Son, not so far from Wat Jong Kam, Jong Klang. The shop is a 2-storey wooden house in which the ground floor is run as a café and the second floor is a hostel. It’s separated into two parts: the first zone is at the front where they provide books that you can read in a relaxed setting, like you are chilling at your own house. The second part is at the back, offering a quiet vibe with charming green décor. It is considered a very nice café to Chill Out in the morning with its warm drinks and calm vibes.

4. Ja Bo Noodles

This popular noodle Restaurant is well known among tourists who love nature and seek some fresh air. Though this local shop serves of cheap bowls of noodles, it has a million baht view located at the Ja Bo Village viewpoint. In the morning, this restaurant is full of tourists who want to see the sea of fog and sunrise. Everywhere you look, you’ll be greeted with beautiful views of the jungle-covered mountains. Between the sky, trees, cold weather, and warm soup, you’ll fall in love with this relaxed natural atmosphere for sure. The spot that you cannot miss at this restaurant is the front where a special seat allows your legs to hang and swing free.   

5. Pai Walking Street

This tiny yet famous market offers a lively, warm atmosphere and lots of goodies for sale, from Food and souvenirs to clothes and cute handmade products. If you want to try some local food, we recommend visiting this walking street. You will find many strangely named foods that will excite you, such as kao puk with black sesame, nam krabok muang Pai, and nam pa Pai. One of the most interesting things about the Pai walking street is that it opens every day from 16.00-22.00 PM. So, no matter what day you visit Pai in Mae Hong Son, do not forget to go check in!    

Get in

By plane

Non-stop 35 minute flights from Chiang Mai are available from Kan Air. As of July 2017, Kan Air operation has been suspended. You can still fly to Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai via Bangkok Airways.

Contact us for the latest flight schedule and price. Or you can check via some online platform such as or

Here you can find some tips to book the cheapest flight

By road

There are two road options from Chiang Mai, both taking 5-6 hours by car. Route 1095 via Pai (280 km) or route 108 via Mae Sariang (350 km) is an easier drive.

Mae Hong Son is located 924 kilometres from Bangkok. Drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then choose the following routes to Mae Hong Son: Chiang Mai, Hot, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son (Route 108) with 1864 curves, a distance of 349 kilometres. Chiang Mai, Mae Malai, Pai, Mae Hong Son (Route 1095), a distance of 245 kilometres. Mae Hong Son works well as the 3rd night stopover for a 5 day motorcycle loop from Chiang Mai.

Due to the mountainous geography and windy roads with uphill/downhill curves, it is recommended for experienced mountain drivers only.

By bus

Regular bus services connect Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai (Arcade bus terminal) and the entire trip will take at least 7-8 hours. A better option is the minibus, also leaving from Arcade in Chiang Mai, which only take 5.5 hours but cost 250 baht. If you're going by bus, you can choose the northern (Pai) or southern (Mae Sariang) route. The northern route is a little faster. The new bus station is about a 15 minute walk from the center of town to the southwest. The bus station is set on a seemingly deserted street that runs parallel to the main road in town.

There is also an overnight bus to Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) which takes about 15 hours.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

By train

The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.

One can travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by rail and then continue to Mae Hong Son by bus. For more information, call 1699, 0 2223 7010, 0 2223 7020.

Get around

This is a small town so walking is the way to get around. There are bicycles for rent from Titan internet shop (across from the 7-11 and post office). To do anything in the surrounding areas a motorbike (at least a bicycle) is needed.
The new bus station seems like it is in the middle of nowhere and the tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi guys love that. But really it's only a 10-15 minute walk to the center of town. You should just turn left out of the bus station and walk straight until you hit the golden statue. Walking up next to the statue, the station is just a bit further towards the city center.


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International travelers to Thailand will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or ATK test results from October 1st, 2022 onward.

In a new move to attract travelers during peak season, Thailand is doing away with the requirement of needing vaccination certificates or Covid-19 negative results in the case of unvaccinated passengers. Additionally, those infected with Covid-19, but have mild symptoms don’t need to isolate from next month. The same applies to those who test positive but display no symptoms.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced these changes on Thursday after the National Communicable Diseases Committee (NCDC) had a meeting on Wednesday.

Instead of isolating those who have contracted the disease would be required to wear a mask, socially distance themselves from others and wash their hands frequently for the first five days. They also need to stay away from those who are immunocompromised and vulnerable.

Dr. Sophon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, informed that since the present Covid-19 mutation doesn’t cause serious symptoms in most people, disease control measures can be relaxed.

National Security Council secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom added that the new measures are being put in place to help improve the economic conditions of the country.

“The primary aim will be to ensure the economy is back on track so people could earn their livelihoods once more,” he said.


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