Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai are well known to tourists but did you know that there are other interesting cities and regions in Northern Thailand that are often overlooked.
We were recently invited to join an International group of Expat Ambassadors to discover the attractions of the Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son Provinces of Northern Thailand.
This 4-day Northern Thailand Tour was hosted by a group of Thai Government and Non- Government agencies to promote Northern Lanna Long-Stay.
Day 2 of this tour took us from Lamphun and Chiang Mai to Pai
Day 3 of our tour takes us on a journey from Pai to Mae Hong Son. What we discovered was a region of stunning beauty, interesting attractions and friendly northern hospitality.
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Journey from Pai to Mae Hong Son
Waking early, we walked out into a thick mist that spread across the rice paddies, blocking out the mountains above. Climbing into our convoy of 5 minivans we set out for Mai Hong Son.
The road from Pai to Mae Hong Son winds its way up into the mountains. Breaking through the fog we were greeted by a bright sunny day.
After driving a while we stopped at a lookout for a short break. Stretching our legs, we looked out over mountains and mist shrouded valleys that stretched out to the horizon. The views were breathtaking, an unforgettable sight to see.
We continued our journey, passing mountain villages and farmers working rice fields in the valleys below. Yellow flowers added a touch of colour breaking the greenery of the thick forest vegetation.
Fish Cave National Reserve
The Fish Cave National Reserve is in Thampla Namtok Phasuea National Park. The park has rest rooms, food stalls and a tourist information centre.
To get to the Fish Cave, walk across the bridge, this is a perfect place for feeding fish. Continue along the shaded footpaths that follow the river until you get to the Fish Cave.
The fish cave is small and teaming with Soro Brook carp. The shrine next to the cave, protects the fish as they are revered by the local people who believe the fish are from God.
We enjoyed our time here, the area is home to waterfalls and caves and well worth a longer stay.
Phu Klon Country Club
The Phu Klon Country Club is a health and beauty spa. The Phu Klon Country Club has an extensive range of spa treatments including mud facials, foot spa and full body immersion into the mud pit.
The natural mud hot spring produces mud rich in minerals and is good for the skin. To relieve stress, spend some time in the Spas mineral pool.
Our group had the choice of mud facial or foot spa, I chose the mud facial. The mud felt good when applied and hardened tightly on the face. After the treatment, my skin felt soft and we had so much fun being pampered.
Pha Bong Home Stay (Pitchaporn House)
After lunch at the Pearl Restaurant in Mae Hong Son, we drove out of town to the Pha Bong Home stay.
The Pha Bong Home stay is in a picturesque setting surrounded mountains and rice paddies. We were excited to observe daily village life of the Tai Yai people.
We walked over bamboo bridges to watch the villagers thrash the rice and bind the leftover stalks into bundles.
The home stay is a mixture of individual bungalows and family home. The family home is a traditional teak house that is open to cool breezes and full of local curios. A restaurant overlooks the paddy field and mountains.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu is a Buddhist temple complex on Kong Mu Hill (Doi Kong Mu).
The sun beats down on two white Chedis illuminating them against the deep blue sky, gold decorations gleam adding to the spiritual calmness of this beautiful place.
The Chedis are built in typical Shan style and contain the remains of revered monk whose ashes were bought to the temple by devotees from Burma.
Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu overlooks spectacular views of the entire valley in which Mae Hong Son is settled.
Welcome Ceremony and Dinner
We made our way to Bai Fern Restaurant for the final night of our tour. Here we were welcomed by dignitaries from the Mae Hong Son Province. We discussed the benefits of tourism in this area and shared our experiences during the tour. After an enjoyable dinner, we thanked our Hosts for their hospitality.
Mae Hong Son Night Market
The Mae Hong Son Night Market sells local arts and crafts, such as colourful purses and bags by the Lisu hill tribe women and natural dyed scarves made by the Karen weaving co-op.
Jewellery, curio, clothing and food stalls are waiting to tempt you as you stroll through the night market.
The most magical thing of all are the floodlit golden spires of Wat Chong Klang Temple, a wonderland that shares its golden reflection across Chong Kham lake.
Where to stay in Mae Hong Son
Baan Rom Mai Hotel
The Baan Rom Mai Hotel is a welcoming hotel with clean rooms. The room are air conditioned and decorated with wooden fittings and tiled floor. The bed and pillows are comfortable. The bathroom is clean with a wet room style shower and toilet. We enjoyed our stay at this hotel.
We loved every attraction visited between Pai and Mae Hong Son. We feel we only had a taste of what this area has to offer and will return to Mae Hong Son to explore more of this beautiful region.
Return to Chiang Mai
We woke early and joined our group for breakfast before being taken to the airport for our Bangkok Airways flight home to Chiang Mai. We said goodbye to our Tour Guides and Staff and couldn’t thank them enough for all the information and help they had given us over the last 3 days. We had a wonderful time all thanks to you.
Our group got together one last time over lunch at the Airrow Thai Club Restaurant where we had a delicious Thai meal before being taken back to where our tour began, the Amora Thapae Hotel.
Northern Thailand Tour Summary
I’m sure everyone on our tour will agree that we had the most fantastic time exploring new horizons and learning more about Northern Thailand. We met a great bunch of people and our experience has been unforgettable. A big thank you to everyone who made this tour possible.