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Mae Hong Son

This sleepy capital in the far north of Thailand epitomizes the friendly Thai community. Although Mae Hong Son can hardly be described as a city, this valley town is indeed the provincial capital, shares a border with three Myanmar states. The tiny Mae Hong Son Airport is close to town and convenient to all accommodation in Mae Hong Son. Many nevertheless arrive by bus from Chiang Mai, and the winding mountainous road is one of the country's most beautiful drives.

Activities in Mae Hong Song include temple-hopping and elephant treks, the hilly mountain terrain provides plenty for adventure lovers, offering waterfalls, caves, mountain-biking and river rafting. The area is home to several hill tribes, which can be visited via mountain trek. The Karen people from Burma also live in the Mae Hon Song area, the women instantly identifiable by their gold neck rings and elongated necks.

Life in Mae Hong Son is very relaxed and travelers here can retreat into isolation or immerse themselves in local custom. The architectural style of Thai Yai is unique to Mae Hong Son and offers insight into local traditions and beliefs. Markets in the town center provide entertainment of an evening, providing visitors with bargain-priced handicrafts like traditional woven hats and locally-grown tea.

Dining in Mae Hong Son is a simple affair with a handful of quality restaurants offering a standard menu of classic Thai dishes and regional specialties. Here, Northern Thai cuisine – Isaan food – is fresh and authentic – spicy curries and sticky rice featuring heavily on menus.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Mae Hong Son, click on the interactive Mae Hong Son map on the left-hand side of the page.