Mae Sariang, the hidden gem
Mae Sariang is a charming town in Mae Hong Son Province. The town has an airstrip but there are no regular flights from Chiang Mai or any other destination. To get from Chiang Mai to Mae Sariang takes about three hours. Public buses take a couple of hours longer. From Hot to Mae Sariang the road is very scenic. Don’t forget to visit Ob Luang National Park along the way if you have a private vehicle.
The town is only about 40 km from Mae Sam Laeb on the Salawin River. This river forms the border herewith Myanmar. One of the highlights of visiting this area is a boat trip on the Salawin River. We have done that several times and it is absolutely fantastic. Notable temples of interest are Wat Sibunruang and Wat Phrathat Chomthong.
The former office of the Forestry Department is also worth visiting. This wooden house is more than 100 years old.
People living in and around town are mostly Thai, Shan (Tai Yai) and Karen. There are quite a few Karen villages around the town. Mae Sariang has a very interesting history. There are also Lawa villages further in the mountains. The Lawa are widely considered the indigenous people of North Thailand. The town has a small Muslim community. These people migrated more than 100 years ago from Chittagong, now in Bangla Desh.
Tourism has bypassed this lovely town up to now but it is becoming more popular. Visitors enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and the beautiful temples. Main attractions nearby are the Salawin and Mae Ngao National Parks. The town and its surroundings are ideal for cycling. Rafting and kayaking you can do on the Yuam River which flows through the town.