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10 Things to Do in Mae Hong Son

1. Su Tong Pe, Bridge of Accomplishment
          Su Tong Pe, Bridge of Accomplishment (สะพานซูตองเป้ สะพานแห่งความสำเร็จ) is a bamboo bridge measures 2 metres wide and 600 metres long built by the strong faith of monks and local villagers without government budget support. The bridge was built from materials found in the locality, formed by the poles from old wood of the villagers and covered with bamboo, stretching from Suan Tham Phu Sama to Kung Mai Sak Village passing the Mae Sanga Stream and paddy fields of the locals for monks and novices to receive food offerings. Hence, it is considered to be a wooden bridge of faith.  
          “Su Tong Pe” is from the Thai Yai dialect meaning an accomplished wish; therefore, the bridge represents the word. 


2. Tham Lot
          Tham Lot (ถ้ำลอด) is a 2.5 km.-deep large stream cave formed by the erosion from the “Nam Lang” waterway along the limestone’s rifts flowing through the other side of the mountain, and it became an enormous cave with stalactites and stalagmites. Ancient tools and utensils were found here. Inside Tham Nam Lot is more than 500 metres long, 20 metres wide and 50 metres high. In addition, the stream that eroded the limestone for a long time has formed three large sub-caves; namely, Tham Sao Hin, Tham Tukkata, and Tham Phi Maen. 
          This cave is different from others, aside from having stalactites and stalagmites, potsherds, rusty tools and utensils, plant seeds, human bones, and especially, Phi Man Coffin were found.          



3. Mexican sunflower field at Doi Mae U-kho

Mexican sunflower field at Doi Mae U-kho (ทุ่งบัวตอง ดอยแม่อูคอ) is the first Mexican sunflower field that is open as an attraction covering an area of approximately 1,000 rai. They will blossom in yellow all over the mountain once a year only during November to the beginning of December.


4. Phrathat Doi Kong Mu
          Phrathat Doi Kong Mu (พระธาตุดอยกองมู) at Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu is a temple that houses the stupa with Buddha relics as an anchor of the Mae Hong Son people. Located on the mountain at the west side of the town, formerly, the temple was named “Wat Plai Doi”, but was later changed to “Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu”. It is a must-visit place if you come to Mae Hong Son. From the temple, visitors can see a panoramic view of downtown Mae Hong Son as well. 


5. Pang Ung

          Pang Ung (ปางอุ๋ง) or the Pang Tong 2 Royal Development Project (Pang Ung). Situated in Ban Ruam Thai, this breathtaking scenic place is known as “Switzerland-like, the Land of Three Fogs”, featuring the lines of Merkus and Khasi pines along the extensive reservoir embraced by a lush mountain range. “Ung” means a low plain like a swampy huge pan. This area used to be an opium plantation of the hill tribes, but now is filled by plants, colourful temperate flowers, and herbs that are useful for food and traditional medicine, which blend well with the topography and cool weather, as well as has a pond for breeding endemic near-threatened animal species like giant Asian river frog.


6. Poi Sang Long
          Poi Sang Long (ปอยส่างลอง) is an ordination ceremony of boys to become novices, according to the Tai (Thai Yai) ethnic group’s belief in Mae Hong Son province. This grand festival of the tribe is important and held annually, which illustrates the strong faith in Buddhism of the local communities including passing on the tradition to future generations to inherit and preserve the beautiful ritual. The festival is a local identity, particularly, with the Sang Long procession (Hae Khrua Lu) that is truly beautiful in the old traditional way of the Tai people including the Buddhist ritual. For this reason, it draws a lot of attention from tourists, both Thais and foreigners, to visit Mae Hong Son and join the merit-making festival as well.


7. Poi Loen Sip Et Festival


          Poi Loen Sip Et Festival (งานประเพณีปอยเหลินสิบเอ็ด) annually takes place on the 11th day of the waxing moon to the 8th day of the waning moon of the 11th lunar month (October), according to the belief of the Thai Yai ethnic group. Before the day of the festival, locals will prepare an imitated castle made of bamboo beautifully adorned with mulberry paper, colourful paper, banana stalk, sugar cane and lantern called “Chong Phara” as a symbol of a castle to welcome the return of the Lord Buddha after he visited his mother in the Trayastrimsa (Daowadueng in Thai) Heaven. Then, “Chong Phara” will be moved to place outside the house or in the courtyard of houses and temples in the evening of the 13th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month, the day of “Chong Phara” procession in a beautiful decoration with a folk dance parade.


8. Yun Lai Viewpoint
          Yun Lai Viewpoint (จุดชมวิวหยุ่นไหล) in Amphoe Pai, Mae Hong Son province is considered to be the most romantic site in the morning, where couples can admire a heart-shaped sea of mist, and it is the best romantic moment for them to confess love or propose. The Yun Lai Viewpoint is one of the 100 love confession sites and 20 proposing marriage places. If anyone takes his/her loved one to this place, he or she should write down his/her name with the loved one on a heart-shaped plate as evidence and hang it on the 6 auspicious pine trees as number 6 in Chinese means fortune or sustainability. On the viewpoint is also located the Ban Din Resort where there is the painting of a pair of cranes symbolising long-lasting love for the couple.


9. Kong Laen 
          Kong Laen (กองแลน) was derived from a native language. “Kong” means a road or commuting route and “Laen” means a water lizard. When combining the two words, it means a commuting route of water lizards, which is small and narrow. Formed by the collapsing of land and becoming a rock mountain by tiers; some parts collapsed deeply and turned into an abyss meanwhile some parts remained on a narrow shoulder that is accessible one by one only. The collapsed area occupies about 5 rai. Visitors can come any time, especially in the cool season, which is the tourist season of Pai town. It is also a good spot for viewing the sea of mist in the morning.


10. Wat Chong Kham and Wat Chong Klang

          Wat Chong Klang (วัดจองกลาง) located in the Nong Chong Kham Public Park, is an old temple built in 1827 by Thai Yai artisans in the Thai Yai beautiful unusual art style. The temple’s roof is a shape of a castle since it was believed that a castle is a sacred thing; therefore, a person who lives in a castle should be a king or religious representative. Inside the wihan is installed Luangpho To as a principal Buddha image with a 4.85-metre wide span lap built in 1926 by a Burmese artisan. It is a large Buddha figure similar to Phra Si Sakkayamuni (Luangpho To) in the royal wihan of Wat Suthat Thepwararam. The name of Wat Chong Kham came from the fact that the temple’s poles are decorated with gold leaf.          

          Wat Chong Kham (วัดจองคำ) and Chong Klang areas are connected as if they are in the same compound without exact fences. The wihan houses the imitated Phra Phuttha Sihing on the altar covered by gold leaf. The temple features a museum displaying wooden carved figurines of humans and animals by Burmese artisans, and they were brought from Myanmar (Burma) since 1957. The museum is open between 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. In addition, there are paintings on a mirror about the Jatakas and Buddha’s life including the way of life of the people in that period. Many of them have a description in the Burmese language with a record describing that they were painted by a Thai Yai artisan from Mandalay.