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Destination Guide in Thailand

Mae Hong Son

Attractions

  • Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu (วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู) erected by the first governor of Mae Hong Son, this temple reflects the strong influence of the Burmese. The highlights of this attraction are the two lavishly decorated pagodas. Also, this hilltop temple affords an exceptional aerial view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Tham Pla – Pha Suea National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติถ้ำปลา-ผาเสื่อ) This comprises the following attractions:
  • Tham Pla (ถ้ำปลา) about 17 kilometres from town, is a popular attraction in Mae Hong Son. The surrounding areas are brooks and cool hilly forests. A special feature is the hollow cave filled with numerous freshwater fish known as Pla Mung or Pla Khang, which is of the same family as the carp. The fish are quite safe from being caught as they are believed to belong to the gods.
  • Namtok Pha Suea (น้ำตกผาเสื่อ), this waterfall is in Tambon Mokchampae about 26 kilometres from the provincial seat. It is a large fall with its water source in Burma and runs full during the late rainy season.
  • Ban Rak Thai (บ้านรักไทย), this village is situated 44 kilometres from Mae Hong Son via Namtok Pha Suea near the Thai-Myanmar border. Founded by Kuomintang Chinese soldiers, the village is famous for its views and tea cultivation. An annual Tea Tasting Festival is held at Ban Rak Thai in February.
  • Wat Nam Hoo (วัดน้ำฮู) at Tambon Wiang Tai, located 3 km. from Pai hospital. This temple housed Phra Un Mueang, sacred Buddha image in Lanna style, 500 years of age, in the attitude of Subduing Mara (victory over Mara). The head of the image could opened and always appears water seepage inside.
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติห้วยน้ำดัง) 65km from the district town has excellent views of the sunset, sunrise and misty mountains. Cherry blossom during January adds charms to the attraction.
  • Bua Tong Fields at Doi Mae U-Kho (ทุ่งดอกบัวตองดอยแม่อูคอ) The Dok Bua Tong (may be classified as wild sunflowers) blooms during November painting the entire hilly area of Doi Mae U-kho in colorful yellow draws flocks of visitors to Khun Yuam district.
  • Namtok Mae Surin National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติน้ำตกแม่สุรินทร์), given national park status in 1981, this natural wonder, which straddles Mueang and Khun Yuam districts, encompasses a wildlife and botanical reserve, a huge waterfall and a terraced mountain.
  • Wat Chong Kham (วัดจองคำ) is located on the bank of the swamp Nong Chong Kham and was built in 1827 by Thai Yai artisans. The pillars are gilded with gold flakes. The temple houses a large Buddha statue with a lap width of 4.85 metres cast by Burmese craftsmen.
  • Phu Klon Country Club uses natural black mud which has skin care and therapeutic benefits. The area has now been developed into a spa resort.

Activities

  • Rafting along the Pai River is a popular recreation. There is a lot of rafting pass rapids and natural scenery including waterfalls.
  • Mountain Biking is a suitable mode of travel for those wanting to experience the forest and some of the tracks are very narrow.
  • Treks are popular with visitors who wish to enjoy the nature and view the variety of hill-tribes. The trek is often combined with jungle walks with elephant riding and river rafting.
    • Elephant Trekking is known all over Thailand for its sturdy and strong elephants and many tourists take the opportunity in Mae Hong Son to ride an elephant.
  • Spa Mae Hong Son is not well-known for its spas but spa service is given at a few of the top places-to-stay in the provincial town and Pai district.

Local Products

Being in a cool valley, Mae Hong Son is suitable for tea-growing. The main area of tea plantations is at Ban Rak Thai, a village near the border between Thailand and Burma.

The traditional headgear called "Kup" worn by the Thai Yai is wide-brimmed with taper top. Together with bamboo blinds and Karen woven fabrics, they are quite popular items to buy among visitors. Centers sell a variety of hand-made products from woven fabric to wickerware.

Nightlife

In regards to nightlife, Mae Hong Son has very little besides the odd karaoke joint and open air restaurants selling alcohol and playing music. Pai District on the other hand is a mini Costa-del-sol with a countless amount of bars and live music venues – they can get very rowdy though.

Events & Festivals

  • Poi Sang Long Procession (งานประเพณีปอยส่างลอง) This is in fact the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai Yai tribe people hold to be a highly meritorious occasion. Traditionally, the candidate-novice, his head cleanly shaven and wrapped with head-cloth in the Burmese style, will don a prince-like garment and put on valuable jewels and gems, and ride a horse or be carried over the shoulders of a man to the city shrine. On the ordination eve, a procession of offerings and other necessary personal belongings will be paraded through the town streets and then placed at the monastery where the ordination will take place the next day. It is usually held during March-May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period.
  • Chong Phara Procession (งานประเพณีจองพารา) The Chong Phara in the Thai Yai dialect means a castle made of wood, covered with colourful perforated papers and decorated with fruits, flags and lamps. It is placed in the courtyard of a house or a monastery as a gesture to welcome the Lord Buddha on his return from giving sermons to his mother in heaven, according to traditional belief. Other activities to celebrate the occasion include dances where performers are dressed in animal costumes. The rite is held during the post rain retreat season from the full-moon day of the 11th Lunar month (around October) to the waxing moon night of the same month.
  • Bua Tong Blossom Festival (งานวันดอกบัวตองบาน) Each year in November, the hillsides of Khun Yuam and Mae Sariang districts are filled with a host of golden Bua Tong Blooms. As gay as a daisy and almost as large as a sunflower, the Bua Tong only blossoms for a month. At Doi Mae U-Kho, the blossoms appear profusely. Finally, the golden blooms become part of the scene. Some specialists have classified these Bua Tong as weeds and because of this, they may be cleared to make way for cash crops. Fortunately a group of researchers have discovered the flower's insect-repellent properties. And perhaps that is why the Bua Tong, a symbol of Mae Hong Son, is still preserved on the hillsides.
  • Loi Krathong Festival (ประเพณีลอยกระทง หรือ งานเหลินสิบสอง) Loi Krathong Festival is held on the full moon night in the month of November every year. Villagers make "krathongs" to float in rivers. At Nong Chong Kham, various entertainments and a contest of large krathongs are held near the central pond. Lamps and candles are lit all around the area. Moreover, at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is a ceremony of releasing candle-lit krathongs bound with balloons to the sky (known as "Loi Krathong Sawan").

 

 

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