Nestling in a deep valley surrounded by the mountain chains of the Shan Hills, Mae Hong Son is the most mountainous area in Thailand and has become a 'dream destination' for visitors. The province covers the area of 13,231 square kilometers and shares the border with Myanmar in the west and the north, which is under influence of Burmese culture on its rural styles and religious architecture.
Isolated from the outside world, Mae Hong Son is covered with mist during the year and its terrain is suited for training elephants. It impresses tourists by the natural beauty, rich culture, numerous hill-tribe villages and the opportunities of intersting adventure.
Mae Hong Son has its former name “Mae Rong Son” and this land has suffered the dominace of a lot of kings. Its capital, Mae Hong Son, is a sleepy and petite town and also a popular jumping-off site for tours to visit some highlights in the region as hill tribes villages, wild flowers fields, caves, waterfalls, lush valleys and hot springs. It’s also the center of shopping for those who want to buy some souvenirs as hill-tribe handicrafts, textilesa and alluring traditional headgear. The capital also offers some noteworthy temples, in which Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is the most prominent with the spectacular view over the verdant and mountain surrounding. Other temples in Burmese style include Wat Chong Kham which hosts Burmese puppets and glass paintings, Wat Hua Wiang, Wat Chong Klang and Wat Phra Non. It provides some modern tourist infrastructure as guesthouses, hotel accommodation, air-conditionered resort, bungalow complexes, spartan native-style hotels and internet café.
Majority of Mae Hong Son’s population is from the hill tribes, with some ethnic group as Hmong, Lahu, Yao, Lisu, Karen, Akha and Shan. Especially, tourists will be impressed by the iamge of long-neacked women in The Pa Dong Karens, an ethnic community farming tea, rice and tobacco. The females decorate their necks with coils in the early age, in which older women wear many to 20 brass coils around the necks, which is believed to enhance the beauty and aesthetic.
With special terrain, Mae Hong Son is an ideal place for interesting activities as rafting over the rapid natural scenery as waterfalls; treking which is combined with elephant riding, jungle walks and river rafting; elephant treking, mountain biking and spa service. The provinve also hosts various lively festivals as Muang Sam Mok Festival (Feb 1-7), Hilltribe Friendship Festival (Feb 14), Phra Buddha Chinart Fair, Bua Tong Blossom Festival or Loi Krathong Festival, etc, each of which brings its individual characteristic things that impress a lot of tourists around the world for a long time.