The Road to Mae Hong Son and Pai Tour
Day 1: Chiang Mai to Pai
129 km, total driving time 3,5 hours
Your guide and driver meet you at the hotel for your “The Road to Mae Hong Son and Pai Tour”. This is a private tour so we can stop anywhere you want. The market of Mae Malai is a great local market where we will stop briefly. The road from Mae Malai to Pai is a winding route through the mountains. There is time for photo stops along the way to catch the magnificent views. The next stop is the Mork Fah Waterfall in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. If you want you can have a refreshing swim in the pool below the falls. After this, it is time for lunch in a local restaurant. We pass through the Huai Nam Dang National Park, one of the classic trekking areas of North Thailand.
Our next stop is the Pong Duad Hot Springs, nestled in the deep, pristine forest of the national park. A scenic drive will take us to Pai, which has become one of the most popular destinations in the north of Thailand. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this small town. We will spend the night at the centrally located Rim Pai Cottage.
Day 2: Pai
After breakfast, we will embark on a Pai tour. First, we will visit Wat Phra That Mae Yen, a temple that offers a great view of Pai. We continue to Wat Thung Pong, a Shan-style temple housing the Buddha image, regarded as the “patron-saint” of Pai. Pai Canyon is an eroded landscape that also offers great views of the surrounding mountains. We will make a short walk here.
Our next stop is The Bridge over the Pai River. According to information at the bridge, it dates back to World War Two which appears not to be true. After this, we continue to the Yunnan Chinese village of Santichol. The villagers of this community are descendants of the Kuomintang forces that were allowed to stay in Thailand by the government. They have transformed their community into an interesting tourist attraction.
We can continue to tour Pai based on your interests or return to Rim Pai Cottages to enjoy some free time.
We will spend another night at the Rim Pai Cottage.
Day 3, Pai to Mae Hong Son
107 km, Total driving time about 2,5 hours
Meals: B L
After breakfast, we will drive to the village of Pang Ma Pha. Enjoy another spectacular drive through the mountain of Mae Hong Son province. We have time to stop at some nice viewpoints. After having reached Pang Ma Pha it is only a short drive to Tham Lot, a fantastic limestone cave. We take our time to explore this wonder of nature on foot and by bamboo raft. We will have lunch at the nearby Cave Lodge. In 1978 Australian caving expert John Spies founded Cave Lodge, which has not changed much in 45 years.
After lunch, we will continue to the town of Mae Hong Son. We will stop briefly at the Fish Cave to feed the fish and enjoy the scenery. Before we reach Mae Hong Son, we visit the Sutong Pe Bridge, the longest bamboo bridge in Thailand! Local people constructed this bridge to connect their village to the temple. From here it is not far to the Fern Resort, one of our favorite resorts in Thailand. We spend the night at the Fern Resort.
Day 4, Mae Hong Son
40 km, about an hour of driving
After breakfast, we drive a short distance to Mae Hong Son where will visit the local morning market. Most people in Mae Hong Son are Shan or indigenous people such as Karen. Next to the market is a lovely little temple called Wat Hua Wiang where we will chat with a local monk. Next, we will visit the Mae Hong Son Living Museum, which contains interesting exhibits related to the Shan culture and old pictures of Mae Hong Son.
After this, we will drive up to Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, on top of Doi Kong Mu Hill. This Shan-style temple offers a spectacular view of the valley. We walk down the Naga staircase and visit Wat Phra Non, a temple that houses a reclining Buddha statue, and Wat Kam Ko. After that, we continue to Mae Hong Son’s most famous temples, Wat Jong Klang and Wat Jong Kham, located next to each other on the lake. It is time for lunch!
Visit the Padaung people
After lunch, we will drive to the boat landing to take a local boat to Huay Pu Keng, a community of the Padaung people, aka the Long Neck Karen. The Padaung moved to Thailand from Myanmar in the 1980s. We will spend some time with these fascinating people to hear their stories. Then it is time to drive back to the resort. Overnight will be again at the Fern Resort
Day 5, Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai
10 km, about 20 minutes drive
Free morning. Check out at noon. The Fern Resort will transfer you to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. If there is no flight back to Chiang Mai on that day or you prefer to drive back to Chiang Mai with our guide and driver, you are free to join. We hope you enjoyed our trip “The Road to Mae Hong Son and Pai Tour”.