Hong Son is a picturesque, mountainous northern province
bordering Myanmar to the west and the north. Hill tribes,
Burmese-style temples, rugged mountains, waterfalls, caves and
pristine forests lend the province much of its unspoiled charm.
Mae Hong Son province covers an area of 14,244 sq, km, and is
administratively divided into 6 districts, and 1 subdistrict namely:
Muang, Mae Sa Riang, Mae La Noi, Pai, Khun Yuam, Sop Moei and Pang
Ma Pa Subdistrict. Mae Hong Son province can be reached from Chiang
Mai either by Highway No. 108 or via Pai, which shortens the
distance to some 274 kilometers.
How to get there
Buses depart from Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station daily to Mae
Hong Son by two different routes :-
Southern Route (Highway No.108) Via: Hod, Mae Sariang,
Non-aircondition bus : 06.30, 08.00, 10.30, 13.30, 15.00, 20.00
Aircondition bus : 09.00,21.00
(Highway No.107 & 1095) Via: Pai
Non-aircondition bus : 07.00, 08.30, 10.30, 12.30, 14.00, 16.00
Aircondition bus : 08.00
Thai International Airways operate 4 daily flight to Mae
Festivals & Events
Pai Sang Long
This is the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai
Yai tribal people hold to be a highly meritorious occasion.
Traditionally, the candidate-novice, his head cleanly shaven and
wrapped with head-cloth in the Burmese style, will don a prince-like
garment, put on valuable jewels and gems and ride a horse or be
carried over the shoulders of a male relative to the city shrine.
Then he will visit Abbots of various Wats to beg for forgiveness. On
the eve of ordination, a procession of offerings and other necessary
personal belongings will be paraded through the town streets and
then placed at the next day. It is usually held between March and
May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period. Today the tribesmen are
encouraged to hold several processions at the same time with the
result that they have become a major tourist attraction.
The 'Chong Para' in the Thai Yai dialect means a castle made of
wood, covered with colorful perforated papers and decorate with
fruits, flags and lamps. It is placed in the courtyard of a house or
a monastery as a gesture to welcome the Lord Buddha on his return
from giving sermons to his mother in heaven, according to
traditional belief. The rite is held during the post-Rain Retreat
season from the full moon day of the 11 the Lunar month to the
waxing moon night of the same month.
Another activity to celebrate the occasion is dancing in which the
performers are dressed in animal costumes. This is based on the
belief that during those long-gone days, both humans and the animal
kingdom were equally joyful at the return of the Lord Buddha and
joined together in a jubilant performance as a tribute to the
Blossom Festival (1 November - 15 December
Each year in November, the hillsides of Amphoe Khun Yuam and Amphoe
Mae Sariang are filled with a host of golden Bua Tong blooms. As
fresh as daisies and almost as large as sunflowers, the Bua Tong
only blossoms for 15 days, a fine reason for Mae Hong Son province
to hold the Bua Tong Blossom Festival over this period at Amphoe
At Amphoe Khun Yuam's Doi Mae U-Kho, the blossoms appear in
profusion. Specialists previously classified these Bua Tong as weeds
and because of this, they began to be cleared to make way for cash
crops. Fortunately, researchers have discovered the flower's
insect-repellent properties. Perhaps for this reason, rather than
our enjoyment, they are now a secure part of the annual scene?
Whatever, Bua Tong, a symbol of Mae Hong Son, is here to stay on the
Loi Krathong Festival is held on the full moon night in the month of
November every year. Villagers make 'Krathongs' to float in rivers.
At Nong Chong Kham, various entertainments and a contest of large
krathongs are held near the central pond. Lamps and candles are lit
all around the area. At Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is a
ceremony to release candle-lit krathongs bound to balloons (known as
'Loi Krathong Swan') to the evening sky.