| Bangkok May 24, 2013 06:18 AM
MAE HONG SON
The City of Three Mists
Nestled in a deep valley hemmed in by high mountain ranges, Mae Hong Son has long been isolated from the outside world. Virtually covered with mist throughout the year, it is now one of the dream destinations for visitors. Daily flights into its small airport bring growing numbers of tourists, attracted by the spectacular scenery, numerous hill tribe communities and soft adventure opportunities.
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01 Release your adventurous spirit at Pai
Enclosed in a lofty mountain range, Pai district is endowed with natural wonders such as waterfalls, caves and hot springs. It has become a base camp for eco-explorers of all ages, with rafting along the Pai River. Visiting Pong Dueat Hot Spring and Huai Nam Dang National Park, trekking and staying over at hill tribe villages, mountain biking are some of the most attractive options.
02 Revel in the spectacular beauty of Tham Lot
Tham Lot is a huge cave system, which was once a dwelling place of pre-historic humans. A brook runs from the cave’s mouth through the other side of the mountain. Visitors may travel by raft or by foot to explore the cave full of stalactites and stalagmites. Accommodations as well as camping sites are available near the Tham Lot Nature Study Centre.
| ||03 See another side of the world at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu|
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, with its hilltop temple affording an exceptional aerial view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys.
|04 The dazzling display of sunflowers at the Bua Tong Fields at Doi Mae U-Kho|
The Dok Bua Tong or wild sunflowers bloom during November, painting the entire hillside of Doi Mae U-Kho in Khun Yuam district with colorful flowers. The blossoms are profuse, but only last for a month. Camping sites are available during the Bua Tong Bloom Festival.
05 Join the community at the Mae Sariang Royal Project Development Center
Mae Sariang Royal Project Development Center is one of the Royal Project sites promoting highland agriculture among local communities and conservation of local culture and tradition. All are welcome to visit the hilltribe plots of fruits and vegetables as well as learn about the way of life of the Karen and Lua (Lawa) hill tribes. Trekking sites are also available in the nearby area.
06 The grand and time-honored celebration of Poi Sang Long
Poi Sang Long is a novice ordination ceremony celebrated by the Thai Yai tribe people. Young boys, aged between 7- and 14-years-old are ordained as novices to learn the Buddhist doctrines. Traditionally, the candidate-novice has his head cleanly shaven and wrapped with head-cloth, and dons a prince-like garment and valuable jewels and gems. He either rides a horse or is carried on the shoulders of a man to the city shrine. A spectacular and colorful procession displaying the offerings for monks is paraded through town. It is usually held during March to May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period.
07 A world of adventure awaits trekkers & mountain bikers
Trekking in Mae Hong Son is designed to expose visitors to nature and a variety of hill tribes. The adventure may combine jungle walks with elephant riding and river rafting as well as guided bike tours exploring nearby and remote hill tribe villages, waterfalls and hot springs. Experienced guides are ready to lead biking parties through breathtaking backcountry trails for up to a week.
08 Reap the healing benefits of the Phu Khlon Health Treatment
At Phukhlon Country Club, natural black mud, which has skin care and therapeutic benefits, has been discovered. Now the area has been developed to be a spa resort where visitors can try the Phu Khlon facial mask, body mask and mineral bathe.
09 Shop and mingle with the locals
Mae Hong Son Royal Folk Art Center offers a variety of hand-made products from woven fabric to wickerware. Although it gets crowded from early morning till 9 am, the lively morning market for a taste of local flavor, lifestyles and local food and produce can't be missed. Other Mae Hong Son popular souvenirs are tea from Ban Rak Thai village and the traditional headgear called “Kup”.
|10 Gastronomical delights await you at Mae Hong Son |
The Night Market is the busiest and perhaps the best for local foods. Most of the local cuisines are similar to other northern cuisine, but be sure to try the Thai Yai noodles, a typical dish of the Thai Yai ethnic tribe. For those who visit Pai, do not miss a cup of coffee at the art galleries-cum-coffee shops in century-old wooden dwellings.
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How to Get There
Thai Airways flies Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son daily.
Tel. 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 or Hotline 1566
Mae Hong Son Office
Tel. 0 5361 1297
Nok Mini offers flights from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai-Pai.
Tel. 0 2900 9955 or Hot Line 1318www.nokmini.com
The 17-hour journey from Bangkok can be made by either air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned buses, leaving from the Bangkok Bus Terminal on Kamphaengphet II Road.
Tel. 0 2936 2852-66
Mae Hong Son is 574 miles from Bangkok, the route following Highway 1 and 11 to Chiang Mai and then either by Highway 108 or Highway 1095 via Pai.
Phukhlon Country Club
Mae Hong Son Royal Folk Art Center
Thai Airways International