Here's Why You Must Visit Mae Hong Son On Your Thailand Tour

From charming towns steeped in history to breathtaking landscapes dotted with mist-covered mountains, this enchanted province offers a journey into the heart of Thailand's lesser-explored gems
Night market at Mae Hong Son
Night market at Mae Hong Son Wisit Wangkanon on

Mae Hong Son, one of the most captivating places in Thailand, is nestled in the remote northwest of the country bordering Myanmar. Being untouched by mainstream tourism, its location, about 900 kilometres from Bangkok, adds to its allure, offering an offbeat summer vacation spot. As Thailand's most forested province, Mae Hong Son is enveloped in mist, presenting a serene retreat with sprawling mountain ranges, dense forests, and tranquil waterways. 

Mae Hong Son beckons you away from the bustle of the metropolis to rest in the embrace of nature and provides some of the most authentically fulfilling experiences. The area is surrounded by sweeping mountain ranges, pristine woods, lakes, rivers, breezy grasslands, and countless other breathtaking vistas.

Places To Visit 

Tham Lot

Tham Lot, also called tâm nám lôrt, is a massive limestone cave with spectacular stalagmites, coffin caverns, and a wide stream that runs through it for 600 metres. It is located around 9 kilometres northeast of Soppong. At 1600 metres in length, it is one of the largest known caves in Thailand, along with Tham Nam Lang, which is located further west.

Self-guided tours of the caves are prohibited for visitors. To explore the caverns, you have to pay 150 Baht at the entrance for a gas lamp and guide (one guide can accompany up to three persons).

Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu

To see this temple compound, also called Wat Plai Doi, travellers must climb Doi Kong Mu (1500m), the hill west of town. Two Shan chedi, which were built between 1860 and 1874, enshrine the ashes of monks from Shan State in Myanmar. There's a tall, thin standing Buddha around the back of the wat, and you can see views west of the ridge. A small tourist market and cafe are also present.

Every morning, the sea of fog that gathers in the valley is a sight to behold; at other times, you have spectacular views of the town and surrounding valleys.

Tham Pla National Park

A vast national park called Tham Pla Pha Seua occupies the majority of Mae Hong Son province's northwest corner. Its most visited attractions are the park's namesake, Tham Pla (Fish Cave), and the stunning Pha Seua waterfall. Tham Pla is a tiny cave with a pond full of fat carp popular with Thai people who come here to feed them. It is located close to Highway 1095. Pha Seua is a stunning waterfall with a few trails that let you explore the forested area beyond the falls. It is surrounded by lush vegetation and is especially impressive during the rainy season.

Things To Do 


Trekking in Mae Hong Son
Trekking in Mae Hong Son Shutterstock

Trekking is a great way to experience the lush, forested mountains of Mae Hong Son province, home to villages belonging to a huge variety of ethnic groups. The trekking routes offered in Mae Hong Son town travel through a variety of mountainous regions, mainly the Soppong district (65 km northeast), the region between MHS town and the Burmese border, and Nam Tok Mae Surin National Park (45 km south).

Choosing a trek that is longer than a day is highly recommended so that one can have the immersive experience of spending the night in a mountain village. Staying in a village allows you to truly engage with the locals, which is one of the most rewarding aspects of these treks and well worth the sacrifice of comfort.


Mae Hong Son's local markets offer a unique blend of Thai, Shan, and Burmese products, reflecting its diverse cultural influences. The main Day Market stands out for its variety, providing visitors with a chance to explore an array of unfamiliar items alongside more traditional market fare. These markets are not just places to shop but are vibrant hubs of local life, offering a chance to take in a slice of local flavour.

Try to visit as early as possible, as it winds down around mid-morning. The Night Market is mainly a line of food stalls offering pre-cooked regional cuisine, such as a variety of curries, although there isn't much seating there. It's a great option to sample some local specialities.


Mae Hong Son's temples are distinct from those found elsewhere in Thailand because of the vibrant impact of Shan and Burmese cultures. The most popular temples in the area are Wat Jong Kham, and Wat Jong Klang, whose spires and white and golden chedis reflected on the water of Jong Kham Lake are the most famous representations of Mae Hong Son. 

Wat Sri Don Chai
Wat Sri Don Chai Unsplash

In addition to these, Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is a must-visit site. Situated on a hilltop west of the city, it provides breathtaking views of the city and the valleys around it.

Getting There

The quickest and most convenient way to get to Mae Hong Son is to first take a flight to the nearest airport in Chiang Mai, which would take around 7-8 hours to reach. From the airport, you can take a taxi to Mae Hong Son. It allows you to customise your journey, arrange for all the detours, and see all the places you desire. You can also select the type and size of your vehicle to make yourself as comfortable as you'd like. 

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