Mae Hong Son is a charming town nestled in the mountains close to the Myanmar border. The town is located on a picturesque lake where you can watch locals practice Tai Chi and mist lingers in the morning. Mae Hong Son is fairly small; however, it still has a good collection of exciting things to see and do. Here are the top things to do while visiting this diverse and vibrant town.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
Located on a hill overlooking the town is Mae Hong Son’s most iconic landmark, the revered Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. Get your morning exercise as you climb the steps to this Shan-style temple and are rewarded with breathtaking views of Mae Hong Son, as well as the mountains beyond, once the fog lifts. The temple is comprised of two chedis and a stunning golden Buddha. Continue around the back of the temple for vistas over the Mae Hong Son mountains and the chance to do some souvenir shopping at the local market or indulge in a fresh hill tribe coffee at the small cafe.
Check out the town’s morning market to see local hill tribes sell fresh produce, and immerse yourself in the local culture. The market is also a great place to have a cheap breakfast with local Thai and Burmese specialities on offer.
Jong Kham Lake
Jong Kham Lake, in the heart of Mae Hong Son, is the perfect place to come and relax with a good book or to watch daily life go by. The lake also has brilliant views of Wat Chong Klang temple, making it truly a sight to behold.
If you are in need of a break from sightseeing make a stop at Little Good Things. This vegan restaurant and coffee shop offers delicious healthy food at cheap prices. A few local souvenirs are also on sale in this cute homestyle cafe, located in a traditional wooden house.
Wat Chong Kham is located next to Jong Kham Lake and is particularly impressive when it lights up the lake at night. The temple itself is stunningly beautiful, as is the large Buddha image, gold temple pillars and the 100-year-old Jataka paintings. The temple has a small museum with 150-year-old Burmese wooden dolls that show gruesome aspects of the wheel of life. The temple also has several areas that restrict women from entering, which is common for Burmese Shan temples.
A short distance outside of town in the Shan village of Pha Bong is the Pha Bong Hot Spring. The hot springs are a great place to relax and unwind or to get a massage. Choose to take a private bath or rent a room.
Like many Thai towns, Mae Hong Son has a Walking Street Market which runs from October to February, and is located on the roads around Jong Kham Lake. The market is a great place to pick up local handicrafts and try different foods.
Sutongpe Bridge is a stunningly beautiful bamboo bridge that stretches across lush rice fields. Take a leisurely walk across the bridge and cease the moment for some “in action” photos.
Ban Rak Thai
For an adventure outside of town, drive to Ban Rak Thai, also known as Mae Aw, a beautiful tea-growing village and settlement of former Kuo Ming Tang fighters from Yunnan Province in China. Ban Rak Thai is a picturesque town located around a lake, with mudbrick houses and plenty of tea tasting opportunities.
For a quirky experience, check out the Mae Hong Son Living Museum. The museum boasts a collection of photographs of Mae Hong Son’s history, local culture and architecture. A trip to the Mae Hong Son Living Art Museum will give you greater insight into Mae Hong Son.