Mae Hong Son Airport HGN
Mae Hong Son’s domestic airport has scheduled flights to Chiang Mai with Thai Airways and Nok Air. Flights to Chiang Mai take about 30 minutes. Thai Airways also have a daily flight from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son. The airport is practically located in the centre of town and the approach is very scenic as the plane drops down from the surrounding mountains. Check with Thai Airways as flights are sometimes cancelled during the hot season on account of poor visibility due to smoke.
Mae Hong Son destination guide
Mae Hong Son is way up in the far-flung west of Northern Thailand, bordering Myanmar to the north and west. The area mainly consists of mountains and forests with a few flat valleys. The allure of Mae Hong Son, as opposed to the nearby Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, is its small-town feeling and the unique architecture influenced by neighbouring Myanmar. The main ethnic groups in Mae Hong Son are the Shan people, with a number of other ethnic groups in the province including Karen, Lisu and Lahu, each with their own unique style, language, customs, traditions and cuisine; the local population is one of the main reasons why the province is so popular with tourists.
Most people visit Mae Hong Son town to see the hill tribe villages, the most popular being the Padaung Karen where the women decorate their necks and limbs with brass coils. Boat tours can be organized on the river and Trekking and hiking trips can also be arranged in the surrounding hills. The city is also called ‘City of Three Mists’ as it is covered with mist all year long. Mae Hong Son town has many Shan style temples, architecturally very different from the traditional Thai temples seen in most parts of Thailand. The main differences are the large wooden wiharns (prayer halls) and the roofs edged with lace-like fretwork in silver, white or gold. The ubosots (ordination halls) are typically the only buildings in stone in Mae Hong Son temples. The most traditional and important event for the Shan’s is ‘Poy Sanglong Festival’, the ordination ceremony for the Shans' boys. The festival is in March and there is one huge celebration all over the city.
Before the road was built, access to the Mae Hong Son valley was immensely difficult; there is now access from the East toward Pai and South to Mae Sarieng. From Chiang Mai by road it is a 7 hour drive on a winding mountain road, through the Pai and Soppong (Pang Ma Pha) districts.