The trip from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son is perhaps one of the loveliest in Thailand. The lush forest and striking views make this route a favorite by those who seek "the road less traveled". To get there take Highway 108 from Wualai Road. On the way lies Ob Luang Gorge, only 17km outside of town on Highway 108. The Chaem River cuts through the steep, narrow gorge providing a habitat at the bottom for many birds and butterflies. To reach the bottom of the gorge, drive a little further and take a right into the Ob Luang Nature Park.
Tucked away amidst mountains often enshrouded in mist, Mae Hong Son makes for a delightfully tranquil retreat. Having emerged as a settlement in 1831, it rapidly developed and finally became the provincial capital in 1893. Its peaceful character is embodied by the many 2 story wooden shops situated throughout town. The people of Mae Hong Son are comprised mainly of Shan's, Tai Yai's and hilltribes with only 2% being ethnic Thai. The market takes place from 6-8am and is about the only time of day that much happens in this sleepy little town.
Things to see and do:
~ Wat Chong Kam & Wat Chong Klang:
Located in an old park, these two temples are situated on the shores of a beautiful lake. Inside Wat Chong Klang is a huge collection of wooden dolls that represent the story of Vessantara Jataka which is a story of one of the previous lives of the Buddha.
~Tham Pla (Fish Cave):
This "cave" is actually a rock pool that serves as a dwelling for pla muang or pla pluang hin, a type of fish that can grow up to a meter in length whom are considered holy and are thus protected by a small shrine. There are park benches and a park keepers hut who sells fish food.
~Pha Sua Waterfall:
To reach this impressive waterfall, travel north out of town on Highway 1095. At the bottom of a steep incline about 16km down the road, turn left onto a dirt track. Two km further takes you across a wooden bridge and then through the Shan village of Mok Cham Pae. After 8.7km more, the parking for the waterfall can be found on the right.
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