Category: Mae Hong Son Province

Nestled in a deep valley hemmed in by high mountain ranges, Mae Hong Son has long been isolated from the outside world. Virtually covered with mist throughout the year, the name refers to the fact that its terrain is highly suitable for the training of elephants. Former governors of Chiang Mai used to organise the rounding up of wild elephants which were then trained before being sent to the capital for work. Today, Mae Hong Son is one of the “dream destinations” for visitors who are attracted by its cultural and natural wonders.

Thai Yai Architectural Style

Although a part of the Lanna region, indigenous Thai Yai or Tai people living there are faced with very cold weather during winter and extremely hot weather in the summer, with mist or fog practically throughout the whole year. Not surprisingly they have had to adapt to the environment. As a result, their architectural style has developed into something different from other Lanna communities. Their living quarters are usually built with tall floors and low roofs, the sizes differing according to one’s social status and position. Homes of the ordinary folks are usually with one single level of roof, while those of the local aristocrats have two or more levels forming a castle-like shape. The space thus provided is believed to help air circulation. An interesting feature of the Thai Yai style is the perforated designs along the eaves which are an architectural identity of the area.

Phraya Singhanatracha Memorial

Situated at the foot of Doi Kong Mu, this monument commemorates the first governor of Mae Hong Son.  Phraya Singhanatracha is a Thai Yai native from Burma (Myanmar).  He was regarded by the people as the governor of Khun Yuam Town, which was to the south of Mae Hong Son.  Later, he was officially installed as the governor of Mae Hong Son by the King of Lanna in 1874.

Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu

located on a hill to the west of town, is a major provincial landmark. There are two Burmese-style Chedis. The larger one was built in 1860 while the smaller one was erected in 1874. A panoramic view of Mae Hong Son can be enjoyed from the site.

Wat Phra Non

At the foot of Doi Kong Mu is Wat Phra Non which houses a 12-metre long Reclining Buddha in the Thai Yai style cast in 1875 by Phra Nang Miah, wife of Phraya Sihanatracha. Another main feature of the temple is the two large sculpted lions lying side by side presumably providing the passage for those going up to pay homage to the Kong Mu Holy Relic on the hill.

Wat Kam Ko

Opposite Wat Phra Non is Wat Kam Ko an old temple built in 1890. A special architectural feature is the cover over the entrance arch to the Burmese-style Wihan. It also stores text in Thai Yai script chronicling the Thai Yai history.

Wat Hua Wiang

or Wat Klang Muang on Sihanat Bamrung Road next to the Morning Market was built in 1863. It houses the Phra Chao Pharalakhaeng, a Buddha statue dressed in beautiful attire. It is a replica of a major statue in Mandalay, Myanmar.

Wat Chong Kham

An old temple, Wat Chong Kham is located on the bank of the swamp Nong Chong Kham and was built in 1827 by Thai Yai artisans. The pillars are gilded in golden flakes. The temple houses a large Buddha statue with a lap width of 4.85 metres cast by Burmese craftsmen. The principal statue is another statue which is a replica of the statue in Wat Suthat in Bangkok.

Wat Chong Klang

Next to Wat Chong Kham is Wat Chong Klang where a replica of the Phra Phutthasihing is installed on an altar. There are several interesting items such as wooden figurines of human and animals depicted in the Phra Vejsandon Jakata (pronounced Cha-dok which means one of odd stories of former incarnations of the Buddha) created by Burmese craftsmen and brought over in 1857, paintings on glass about the Jakata and on Prince Prince Siddhartha, as well as on the ways of life of the time. The captions are in Burmese. There are also notations that the paintings were by Thai Yai artisans from Mandalay.

The Pha Bong Hot Spring

is located on Highway No.108, about 11 kilometres from town. There are facilities for mineral water bath for health purpose.

About 17 kilometres from town on Highway No. 1095 (Mea Hong Son-Pai) is Tham Pla Forest Park The surrounding areas are books and cool hilly forests suitable for relaxation. A special feature is the hollow cave filled with fish fish. The fish are quite safe from being caught as believed to belong to the goods.

Namtok Pha Sua

is in Tambon Mo Champae about 17 kilometres from the provincial seat on Route 1095 to Pai district with a left turn at Ban Rak Thai village. The waterfall is a further twenty kilometres from the village. It is a large fall with its water source in Myanmar. Pha Sua runs full during the late rainy season (August-September).

Another five kilometres further on along the path to high hill are the hilltribe village of Na Pa Paek and Mae Or on the Thai-Burmese border.