Mae Hong Son’s cool climate and remote mountain setting may be the main attractions for many Thai tourists seeking refuge from the chaotic cities and hot temperatures found elsewhere in the country. However, this relaxed region also contains plenty of picturesque temples and lovely waterfalls which are worth closer looks.
Last Updated: November 2019
There is a small, but famous, Fish Cave situated approximately 17kms from the community of Mae Hong Son close to a village called Huay Pha. The cave itself is located underwater, but the water channel leading to the cave attracts thousands of long, blue fish called pluang-hin. It is also a cool spot to camp or enjoy a bite to eat from one of the nearby food stalls.
Fish Cave: #70, M. 1, T. Huay Pha, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 100 B / Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 692 055
MONUMENT OF PHRAYA SINGHANAT RAJA
The Monument of Phraya Singhanat Raja, situated on the foothills headed towards Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, is named after Mae Hong Son’s first governor. Phraya Singhanat Raja was the driving force in persuading people to settle in Ban Khun Yuan, a village which eventually grew into the city now known as Mae Hong Son.
Monument of Phraya Singhanat Raja: Khunlumprapas Rd., T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 24 hours | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
One of Mae Hong Son’s liveliest events is its Morning Market. Many visitors begin their days with breakfast dishes here. Popular dishes are thin rice noodles in tomato and pork broth or deep fried chickpea flour cakes. These are just a small choice of the tasty local favourites served by the vendors at the market’s north end. Herbal medicines and pickled tea leaves are a couple more of the items for sale at this Sihanatbamrung Road morning market.
Morning Market: T. Pang Mu, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: Very early morning until 09:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
Pang Ung is the name of a Shan minority village with a large reservoir surrounded by mountains and pine forests. Hazy fog is a common sight in the morning. The black swans which swim in the lake each morning were provided by none other than the Queen herself. A lot of signs and maps refer to this Royal Initiative project located 44kms from Mae Hong Son town as Ruam Thai. Visitors can explore Pang Ung on horseback, on foot, or aboard bamboo rafts. The lake and its flora are sometimes covered with ice during Pang Ung’s coldest months.
Pang Ung: Ban Rak Thai, M. 5, T. Mok Cham Pae, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 06:00-20:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Tel: +66 53 612 982-3 | Map
PHA BONG HOT SPRING
Pha Bong Hot Spring is the main attraction in its namesake Shan village situated 11kms south of Mae Hong Son town. These hot springs are located in a public park and feature mineral water used for therapeutic treatments. Mist covers the jungle paths leading to the hot springs during most of the year. Thai massages, rooms for rent, and private baths are also available for extra fees.
Pha Bong Hot Spring: T. Pha Bong, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-17:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: 40 B | Tel: +66 53 612 982-3 | Map
PHA SUA WATERFALL
Pha Sua Waterfall is one of the most breathtaking natural landmarks at Tham Pla – Naamtok Pha Sua National Park. The name of this 30m wide and 20m high waterfall comes from the cliff which resembles a rolling mat during the rainy season. The dry season, however, is the best time to admire the lovely rocks around this six level waterfall located 26kms north of Mae Hong Son town towards Ban Rak Thai.
Pha Sua Waterfall: #70, M. 1, T. Huay Pha, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fees: Adult 100 B / Child 50 B | Tel: +66 53 692 055 | Map
WALKING STREET MARKET
The Walking Street market in Mae Hong Son takes place by Nong Chong Kham Lake each night between 17:00 and 22:00 from October to March. Hill tribe wear and handicrafts are unique items available for purchase at this open air street market where visitors can also purchase juice and snacks at food stalls.
Walking Street: Chamnan Sathit Rd., T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 18:00-22:00 | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
SU TONG PAE BAMBOO BRIDGE
Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge spans the Mae Sa Nga River between the village of Kung Mai Saak and Wat Pu Sama temple about 15kms north of Mae Hong Son town. This 500m bamboo bridge, whose name means ‘successful prayer’, was first built by villagers with bamboo strips and wooden supports.
Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge: T. Pang Mu, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 24 hours | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
WAT CHONG KHAM & WAT CHONG KLANG
Two of Mae Hong Son’s most famous temples, Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang, stand side by side in the heart of the town near Nong Chong Kham Lake. Early morning visitors to these twin temples will encounter joggers, monks leaving to collect their morning alms, and the sight of mist over the surrounding mountains. The mist clears up by afternoon, and the temples are lit up after dark. The gardens on the temple grounds are at their most beautiful in February.
Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang look very similar to each other. Both temples have green roofs, yellow edging, and gold and white chedis. Wat Chong Klang includes teak statues and glass painting collections, while a large wooden throne is the main attraction inside the older Wat Chong Kham temple.
The present day Wat Chong Kham is a reconstruction of the original 1827 temple, which was largely destroyed by a 1970 fire. Wat Chong Klang was built between 1867 and 1871 as an offering to visiting Burmese monks. Almost 200 glass paintings depicting the Buddha’s previous lives are displayed near Wat Chong Klang’s main altar.
Wat Chong Kham & Wat Chong Klang: Chamnan Sathit Rd., T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
WAT HUA WIANG
Wat Hua Wiang is a lesser known 19th century Burmese temple located where Khunlum Praphat and Pha Nith Watana intersect near Mae Hong Son’s morning market site. A large open sala, a chedi, an ubosot, and a wooden viharn are among Wat Hua Wiang’s most impressive sights. Silver coloured metal sheets with intricate designs line the edges of Wat Hua Wiang’s multi-sectioned roof.
Wat Hua Wiang: Khunlumprapas Rd., T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
WAT PHRA NON
Wat Phra Non is a smaller temple which stands at Doi Kong Mu’s base. This temple, also known as Pra Nawn, is named after its large reclining Buddha statue. King Rama V first commissioned this in 1877. Wat Phra Non also includes a small museum in which exhibits include old porcelain, statues, and religious books. The ashes of Mae Hong Son’s first four governors are marked by cenotaphs in Wat Phra Non’s small graveyard.
Wat Phra Non: T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map
WAT PHRA THAT DOI KONG MU
The entire valley surrounding Mae Hong Son can be seen from Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, a temple which has stood on top of Kong Mu Hill since the 1870s. One of Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu’s two large white chedis includes the ashes of a Burmese monk, while the other chedi contains the ashes of Phaya Singhanat Racha, the region’s first governor. A large standing Buddha image greets visitors in the temple’s orientation hall.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu: T. Chong Kham, A. Muang, Mae Hong Son 58000 | Open: 08:00-18:00 (Daily) | Entrance Fee: Free | Map