Mae Hong Son Thailand


Amphoe Muang
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu located at the hilltop dominates the provincial city. Constructed by Phaya Singhanatracha, the first King of Mae Hong Son, the hilltop temple affords a wonderful view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys.

Mae Hong SonWat Hua Wiang contains the image of Phra Chao Pha Ra La Khaeng, a replica of one in Myanmar.

Wat Chong Klang, Wat Chong Khum houses glass, paintings and woodcarvings brought from Myanmar some 100 years ago.

Wat Phra Non contains a huge Burmese-style Reclining Buddha image some 12 metres long. The temple also houses ashes of Mae Hong Son Kings. Two massive stone lions guard the temple staircase.

Wat Kam Ko Another name of this wat is Wat Dok Bun Nag. It is shady and pleasant, having scriptures written in the ancient local dialect, describing the history of Thai Yai people.

Pha Bong Dam about 12 kilometers outside Mae Hong Son, has been constructed across the Mae Ra Mat River for generating electrical power. Nearby is the Pha Bong Spring.

Pong Daeng Royal Residence is located within the Pong Daeng culture. Architecture, costumes and the character of the hill tribes here are different from other hill tribes in Thailand. The attraction of this village is its hilltop location with beautiful view. Visitors can easily go to the village as it is only about 32 kilometers from the district.

Mae Hong SonBan Nam Phiang Din is a destination in Tambon Pha Bong reached by a 2-hour motor boat trip or 1-day rafting along Pai River vai Ban Huai Dua, a scenic route with marvelous terraced cataracts. Not too far beyond Ban Nam Phiang Din, within Myanmar territory, lies another well frequented tourist destination known as Pha Hom Nam.

Pha Sua Waterfall is located in the Forest Park of the same name. At Km.18, a loose-surface road branches off to take you about 10 kilometers to the park. The 7-level cataract is huge and picturesque. The best time to visit the falls is between early August and late September.
About 35 kilometers further up the track to Pha Sua Waterfall lies Pang Tong Palace and a peaceful Meo tribal village near the border of Thailand and Myanmar.

Tham Pla Forest Park is situated at Ban Huai Pha, 17 kms. from Mae Hong Son township on Highway No.1095 to Amphoe Pai. The area is dotted with reservoirs stocked with many fish and the surroundings are naturally beautiful.

Tham Lot Forest Park some 60 kilometers from Mae Hong Son town, a loose-surface road to the left runs a further 8 kilometers. It is a place where antiques and pre-historic remains have been found. This huge cave is beautifully decorated with colourful stalagmites and stalactites.

Lisu Tribal Village Pang Paek is another tribal village worth visiting, located some 30 kilometers before Amphoe Pai. Normally this section of Pai River is best enjoyed from a long-tailed motor boat, which takes only 2-3 hours return trip. An alternative is to trek on elephant back as the scenery on both sides is fascinating and beautiful. For boat cruising, accommodation and trekking, contact major hotels and resorts or travel agents in Mae Hong Son.

Amphoe Khun Yuam
Mae Hong SonWat To Phae is located 7 km from Khun Yuam Market and has a large, beautiful Burmese style vihara. According to legend, teak raft builders used to congregate in this area prior to delivering rafts to their customers. They combined their efforts to build the Wat and called it Wat To Phae... 'Raft Assembling Monastery'.

Wat Muai To in Ban Khun Yuam houses a huge and beautiful northern-style pagoda.

Mae Surin Waterfall is located in Nam Tok Surin National Park at km. 220 on Highway No.108, 30 kilometers from Amphoe Khun Yuam. It is believed to be the highest waterfall in Thailand.

Wild-Sunflower Field, Doi Mae U-Kho is located in Ban Mae Surin, Tambon Mae Yuam Noi, and takes in an area of 1,000 rai covered with wild sunflowers. They are all in full bloom during November, which make the hills and surrounding areas look like plates of gold.

Nong Haeng Hot Spring is in the area of Ban Nong Haeng, Tambon Muang Pon, about 15 kilometers from the district.

Amphoe Phoe Mae La Noi
Two interesting caves along Highway 108 are Mae Hu Cave at Km. 108, and Mae La Ka Cave between Amphoe Khun Yuam and Amphoe Mae La Noi.
In the vicinity are Mae Hu and Mae La Ka Hot Springs. Both have water hot enough to boil eggs.

Mae La-up Lawa Village in Tambon Huai Hom is situated in the area where three districts meet: Mae Chaem, Mae La Noi and Mae Sariang (Chiang Mai Province). The culture, architecture, costumes and character of the hilltribes here are different from other hill tribes in Thailand. The attraction of this village is its hilltop location with beautiful views. Visitors can easily go to the village as it is about 32 kilometers from the district.

Huai Hom Karen Village is about 4 kilometers from Ban La-up. Its village adhere to their religion and have gentle and polite manners. As the hill tribe community development center is established in the village, the villagers have learned to make clothes from wool and how to grow fruits and other temperate plants. This village is thus a good model for other hill tribes.

Mae Sa-kua Karen Village in Tambon Tha Pha Phum is about 13 kilometers from the district. Houses here are built in a dramatic style along the slopes of the mountains. During the dry season, visitors can appreciate the beautiful scenery when wild flowers and foliage turn to orange color. Near the village, there are waterfalls which are good for relaxation. The villagers still live in a traditional way and not many changes over the years are apparent.

Amphoe Mae Sariang
Mae Hong SonWat Kitti Wong is another temple worth visiting. It houses Lord Buddha relics brought from Chiang Mai. and manuscripts discovered in Phra Daeng Cave. They recount the history of relations between Myanmar and the Lanna Kingdom.

Wat Uttayanrom is called Wat Chong Sung by local people and was built in Burmese artistic style. It has two white pagodas in Mon style architecture and one Burmese style Vihara which is very beautiful.

Wat Sri Bun Ruang located near Wat Chong Sung, is one of many attractive monasteries. This has a Burmese-styled main temple decorated with 'ginger bread' design.

Wat Saen Thong is situated in Amphoe Mae Sariang. An important attraction is an old and beautiful bronze image of the Buddha Subduing Mara of the Chiang Saen period. Phra Buddha Si-Hing, known as Phra Phet or Phra Sing Nung, is another image of Buddha to which the people have paid respect since the old days.

Pha Ma Lo Karen Village is a large Karen village, locate 3 km from the market place, where hand woven fabric are produced for sale at cheap prices. The single virgins of this village wear white dresses.

The Tribal Development & Assistance Centre at Km. 84 on Doi Mae Ho is administered by the Public Welfare Department. Most of the hill tribe people in this center are of Karen ancestry. The scenic area is noted for colorful flower plantations. Bua Tong - or wild sunflowers - bloom and cover the entire valley during November every year.

Amphoe Pai
Wat Nam Hu about 3 kilometers from Pai Market, contains a sacred Chiang Saen Buddha image, 24 inches wide at the base and 30 inches high. The image's topknot can be opened. Inside is holy water, revered by local folk.

Wat Klang is in Tambon Wiang Tai. In the precincts of this temple, a main Chedi of Thai Yai style stands in the center of the temple yard. It is surrounded by Mon Chedies, below which Buddha images of the seven days the a week can be seen in niches. A finial-topped Mandapa was built on the base of the main Chedi.

Wat Ping Karen Village is located in Mu 4, Tambon Mae Hi. The Karens here have their own alphabets and are highly civilized. Traveling is easy by car.

Chedi Phra That Mae Yen in Ban Mae Yen. Tambon Mae Hi, from where visitors can overlook the whole Amphoe Pai after paying tribute to the shrine. Travelers by air use this chedi as a marker of Pai district area.

Mae Yen Waterfall is situated in Ban Mae Yen, Tambon Mae Hi, about 7 kilometers from Amphoe Pai. It is a three-tiered waterfall and one of the most beautiful in the district. It takes visitors 3-5 hours to reach this waterfall on foot.

Mo Paeng Waterfall is located 9 kilometers from Amphoe Pai and can be reached conveniently by car. The surrounding area is shady and beautiful. Nearby there is Muang Soi Waterfall and a peaceful Muser tribe village.

Huai Nam Dang is the location of the Royal Forestry Department's Royal Water Sources Development Project at Mu 7, Tambon Wiang Nua. The area, stretching out as far as Amphoe Mae Taeng, Changwat, Chiang Mai, is planted with 'cold climate' flowers and trees which contribute to its scenic landscape.

There are hot springs located in Amphoe Pai area, named Muang Paeng Hot Spring in Tambon Muang Paeng, Pong Ron Hot Spring in Tambon Mae Hi and Pong Duat Hot Spring in Tambon Tung yao.

Amphoe Sop Moei
Mae Hong SonMae Sam Laep is a village on the Salawin River, located in Tambon Sop Moei, some 62 kilometers from King Amphoe Sop Moei on the Highway 1085. It is a renowned attraction among visitors for its rafting along the Salawin River. The village is situated within a deep valley facing Myanmar with white sandy beaches on some parts of the bank. Two stretches of the river which are rafted most often are between Mae Sam Laep and Sop Moei (the point at which the Moei River meets the Salawin River), and from Mae Sam Laep to Amphoe Tha Song Yang.

Festivals & Events

Pai Sang Long Procession
This is the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai Yai tribal 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, put on valuable jewels and gems and ride a horse or be carried over the shoulders of a male relative to the city shrine. Then he will visit Abbots of various Wats to beg for forgiveness. On the eve of ordination, a procession of offerings and other necessary personal belongings will be paraded through the town streets and then placed at the next day. It is usually held between March and May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period. Today the tribesmen are encouraged to hold several processions at the same time with the result that they have become a major tourist attraction.

Chong Para Procession
The 'Chong Para' in the Thai Yai dialect means a castle made of wood, covered with colorful perforated papers and decorate 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. The rite is held during the post-Rain Retreat season from the full moon day of the 11 the Lunar month to the waxing moon night of the same month.

Another activity to celebrate the occasion is dancing in which the performers are dressed in animal costumes. This is based on the belief that during those long-gone days, both humans and the animal kingdom were equally joyful at the return of the Lord Buddha and joined together in a jubilant performance as a tribute to the Enlightened One.

Bua Tong Blossom Festival (1 November - 15 November)
Each year in November, the hillsides of Amphoe Khun Yuam and Amphoe Mae Sariang are filled with a host of golden Bua Tong blooms. As fresh as daisies and almost as large as sunflowers, the Bua Tong only blossoms for 15 days, a fine reason for Mae Hong Son province to hold the Bua Tong Blossom Festival over this period at Amphoe Khun Yuam.

At Amphoe Khun Yuam's Doi Mae U-Kho, the blossoms appear in profusion. Specialists previously classified these Bua Tong as weeds and because of this, they began to be cleared to make way for cash crops. Fortunately, researchers have discovered the flower's insect-repellent properties. Perhaps for this reason, rather than our enjoyment, they are now a secure part of the annual scene? Whatever, Bua Tong, a symbol of Mae Hong Son, is here to stay on the hillsides.

Loi Krathong Festival
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. At Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is a ceremony to release candle-lit krathongs bound to balloons (known as 'Loi Krathong Swan') to the evening sky.

Tea Tasting Festival
This is anually held in February to promote tea products of the Rak Thai village. The activities include hot tea tasting, tea-making demonstrations combined with cultural shows. Visitors can also enjoy riding a horse around the village.

Published At : http://www.sawadee.com

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