Mae Hong Son – The City of Three Nebulae

This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 01:59 pm


Mae Hong Son is everything that most travelers expect from a mountain village in Thailand. The fact that it is located in a remote region on the border of Myanmar, surrounded by mountains, and the fact that you will not find any tuk-tuks or loud taxis here contributes nicely to this ideal image. The surrounding mountains, the activities that you can do here, and the tranquility that you find there make Mae Hong Son one of the most beautiful highlights of Thailand! It’s an ideal stop for your perfect trip in Thailand.

 

Origin of Mae Hong Son

The city is located in the northwest of Thailand and only recently became accessible. It was not until 1968 that a paved road was built to the city, which is also known as Muang Sam Mok, the “City of Three Nebulae.”

 

TIP – Do you want to take a nice route? Then do the Mae Hong Son Loop on a scooter (see more information below).

 

The city has that nickname because it is located between the mountains and therefore often suffers from fog. Mae Hong Son has about 10,000 inhabitants and is not a mega city. It is precisely this tranquility, in combination with the fairytale-like environment, which makes it so popular.

 

Fog over the town of Mae Hong Son located in the jungle
You can see the fog hanging between the mountains, still a great view!

 

Tours to this region have been organized for years and Mae Hong Son is usually used as a base for various activities; from mountain biking to trekking or walking tours.

 

In addition to activities you can also perfectly relax and enjoy the views or a spa treatment and the relaxed atmosphere in the village. Another nice place of interest is the markets where the locals sell everything.

 

You can also visit various mountain tribes in the region.

 

Curves, Many Curves

Before a paved road was laid in 1968, Mae Hong Son was difficult to reach. Fortunately, it is different today and the region is more accessible. The road to it is recommended because 80 percent of the province has a slope of more than 45 degrees.

 

This will take you through a number of beautiful valleys and curves. This region also holds the famous “762 curves” road between Chiang Mai and Pai; a popular route to take by scooter.

 

Mae Hong Son Loop

One of the most popular motorcycle/scooter routes in North Thailand is the Mae Hong Son Loop. This road starts in Chiang Mai and goes through the Mae Hong Son region before you return back to Chiang Mai. The total route is around 600 kilometers (373 miles).

 

The route starts 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) outside of Chiang Mai. You will take about 2 to 3 days for the entire route, depending on how fast you drive and how often you stop for photos. You can spend the night anywhere along this route. You can also buy food and drinks in many places.

 

You can stop in Pai, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) from Chiang Mai. Other places to spend the night are Sopping and Mae Hong Son itself.

 

Sunset on the curly roads of the Mae Hong Son Loop
Sunset on the curly roads of the Mae Hong Son Loop

 

Best Time to Visit Mae Hong Son

Another reason that this village is so popular is because of its cool climate. The best time to travel to Mae Hong Son is between November and March. The region around the town is the most beautiful during this period. In the rainy season (June to October) you can also go here, but this is more difficult since there are quite a few unpaved roads in the region.

 

Green and lush rice terraces
The rainy season makes the rice terraces look very green

 

In the hottest time of the year it is nice and warm but the region is less beautiful as it rains less. In addition, the Mae Nam Pai valley is filled with smoke from burning fields.

 

The cool season is therefore the best time to visit. The only disadvantage is that it cools down considerably at night and you will need a sweater and a pair of socks.

 

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