Introduction

Mae 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

By Bus 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, Khunyuam
Departure Time
Non-aircondition bus : 06.30, 08.00, 10.30, 13.30, 15.00, 20.00
Aircondition bus : 09.00,21.00

Northern Route (Highway No.107 & 1095) Via: Pai
Departure Time
Non-aircondition bus : 07.00, 08.30, 10.30, 12.30, 14.00, 16.00
Aircondition bus : 08.00

By Plane Thai International Airways operate 4 daily flight to Mae Hong Son.

Festivals & Events

Pai Sang Long Procession
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.

Chong Para Procession
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 Enlightened One.

Bua Tong Blossom Festival (1 November - 15 December 1997)
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 Khun Yuam.
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 hillsides.

Loi Krathong Festival
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.

Information provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand

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