Provincial City of Mae Hong Sorn & Town of Pai
Forming the northwestern border between Thailand and Shan State under Myanmar (Burma), this province offers the visitor much more than one could ever imagine. The life center of the province is the city of Mae Hong Sorn -- small, quaint and serenely comfortable.
There are several attractions visitors would enjoy However, a person might say “See one, see them all”, especially the large number of temples throughout the kingdom. Wat Pra thart Doi Gong Mu (วั"พระธาตุ"อยกองมู) located at the hilltop dominates the provincial city, and affords a wonderful view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys. There are other temples with their own identities and heritage Wat Hua Wiang or Glang Muang (วั"หัวเวียง), Wat Jong Kaam (วั"จองคำ), Wat Jong Glang (วั"จองกลาง), Wat Pra Norn (วั"พระนอน), Wat Muay Dtor (วั"ม่วยต่อ) and Wat Gum-Gor (วั"-้ำก่อ).
Still inside the City, Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Training Center (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพ) : For decades one of the many royal duties of her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand is to accompany His Majesty the King during visit to people in all regions of kingdom. Her Majesty perceived that most people were in poverty-stricken conditions. As a result Her Majesty graciously extended her assistance towards the relief of poverty by creating supplementary occupations in order to increase family incense.
Exploring of the City’s Surroundings
Tha Pong Daeng Development (โครงการพั'นาท่าโป่งแ"ง) project center is located within the Pong Daeng culture. Architecture, costumes and the character of the hill tribes here are different from other hill tribes in Thailand. The attraction of this village is its hilltop location with beautiful view. Visitors can easily go to the village as it is only about 32 kilometers from the district.
Pha Bhong Dam (เขื่อนพลังน้ำผาบ่อง) about 12 kilometers outside Mae Hong Sorn City, has been constructed across the Mae Ra Maad River for generating electrical power. Nearby is the Pha Bhong Spring.
Pha Bhong Hot Spring (บ่อน้ำร้อนผาบ่อง) the water at the hot spring is rich in sulphates and the temperature isn’t too high, though it is hot enough to cook eggs. Tourists can bathe here - the single room rate is 40 Baht / hour while a group room is 300 Baht / hour.
Baan Nam Phiang Din (บ้านน้ำเพียง"ิน) is a destination in Tambon Pha Bong reached by a 2-hour motor boat trip or 1-day rafting along Pai River vai Baan Huai Dua, a scenic route with marvelous terraced ricefields. Not too far beyond Baan Nam Phiang Din, within Myanmar territory, lies another well frequented tourist destination known as Pha Hom Nam.
Poo Klone Country Club (ภูโคลน) you should try a face or body treatment using mineral rich mud from the natural spa. Horse riding in the forest is also available.
Tham Pla Forest Park (-้ำปลา) is situated at Baan Huai Pha, 17 kms. from Mae Hong Sorn township on Highway No.1095 to Amphoe Pai. The area is dotted with reservoirs stocked with many fish and the surroundings are naturally beautiful.
Pha Sua Waterfall (น้ำตกผาเสื่อ) is located in the Forest Park of the same name. At Km.18, a loose-surface road branches off to take you about 10 kilometers to the park. The 7-level cascade is huge and picturesque. Best to visit is between August and late September.
Paang Tong Palace (เรือนประทับแรมปางตอง) is at Baan Paang Tong in the Paang Tong Highland Development Project. There is a stunning view on both sides of the road up to the palace. Around the palace are various demonstration flower gardens, fruit orchards and animal husbandry programs raising, for example, sheep and chickens.
Mae Hong Sorn Bamboo Study Center (ศูนย์ไผ่ศึกษา) located close to the Paang Tong Highland Development Project and Service Center, is a joint initiative of Queen Sirikit with Mae Hong Sorn Province and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment setup as a new eco-tourism destination reflecting the character of Mae Hong Sorn, the center covers an area of 300 rai which contains 6 naturally occurring species of bamboo and features striking geography and beautiful scenery.
Ruam Thai Village (หมู่บ้านรวมไทย) : After Paang Tong Palace and Baan Na Pa Paek, then you will be able to experience the way of life of various tribal peoples, and try the fresh coffee grown in the local fields. There is a lake surrounded by evergreen trees which adds to the atmosphere, making this a wonderful sight-seeing destination. Choose camping or fixed accommodation.
Baan Rak Thai village (Mae Aw) (หมู่บ้านรักไทย / แม่ออ) : one would expect simple way of life. Here you will see pack burrows carrying farming implements and tea leaves from the farm into the village. The villagers moved here from southern China around 1949. It was one of old KNT (Kuomingtang) military settlements. Even now buildings are made from clay mixed with straw. Visitors can taste Yunnanese cuisine in the open air restaurants plus you can take home Ching-Ching and Oolong teas. Lodging also available.
The Town of Pai
Pai is a village about 110 kms between Chiangmai and Mae Hong Sorn, a popular destination for a pleasant getaway. At the city limits is a trisection with three roads shooting off from the main road. The extreme left road goes past the town on to Mae Hong Sorn. The center road goes into town and the extreme right road goes toward the Pai river. There are very relaxing accommodations everywhere in the city and on these roads. The river is a choice spot to stay at one of the several places with cottages. Other accommodations are a Thai style house on beams and small A-frame cottages with inside bathrooms.
The local eateries in the city have plenty of English language signs offering various kinds of food and drinks. Even small Bakeries have fantastic menus offering several middle eastern dishes along with Pita bread. The usual pasta dishes, Thai food and fried chicken were also offered. The food is tasty and will satisfy your appetite.
Go for the 9-km bamboo rafting trip down the Pai River. Rent a motorbike to see the countryside. There are four important temples of Pai and waterfall. Only 1 km from a scenic waterfall is the Muang Pai Resort. Bookings at Tel. 053-270906.
Sight Seeing around Pai
Mor Paeng Waterfall (น้ำตกหมอแปง)
For some exercise, the walk from the town center is about 8 Kilometers to Mor Paeng Waterfall, passing through two Shan, one Lesu, one Haw Chinese and one Lahu village. Most people take about 2 hours each way. It’s possible to rent a bicycle, motorbike or car. After the walk, take a swim in one of the pools.
Mae Yen Waterfall (น้ำตกแม่เย็น)
Located deep in the forest along a trail where there are no villages, the Mae Yen Waterfall is 12 kilometers from town. The walk is beautiful and the waterfall is impressive. The forest trail is narrow, vehicles cannot be taken up to the falls. Get some Directions from the locals. To bring along food and water.
Tha Pai Hot Springs (โป่งน้ำร้อนท่าปาย)
Getting to the hot springs is easy by foot, biking, motirbike or car. The national park is about 8 kilomers sount of the city. Tha Pai Hot Springs has a stream running through the hot springs and you can choose either to bathe in the river or in bathtubs on the site.
Wat Mae Yen Temple (วั"แม่เย็น)
For a panoramic view, the vantage point of Wat Mae Yen is the place to go. It’s reported the view is as far as 10 kilometers. Be prepared to climb 360 steps. Don’t hurry. Take some water to refresh yourself. An interesting old chedi at the temple with interior murals that were painted by a local artist about the previous lives of the Buddha opens a window on culture.
Wat Luang Temple (วั"หลวง)
Dating from 1899, the Wat Luang has a beautiful Shan style chedi. The Shan style sermon hall houses a revered Buddha image. Wat Luang is the main temple of Pai.
Wat Glang Temple (วั"กลาง)Wat Glang’s chedi is a combination of Shan and northern Thai styles. The base up to the middle is Shan style and the middle to the top is northern Thai. The alcoves set in the sides house the different Buddha images for each weekday.
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