Jul 05 2011
In our opinion Mae Sariang, a small town and capital of the district of the same name in southern Mae Hong Son province, doesn’t get the number of visitors it deserves. Here’s why you should go.
First up, it just looks lovely. It’s a very picturesque little town on the banks of the Yuam River, with some old wooden buildings, a couple of pretty temples and a scenic mountainous backdrop.
Secondly, the area is dotted with plenty of places to visit. A couple of nice old Shan-style temples are in town, while a stroll around the market and riverfront area is fun. The surrounding countryside too holds plenty of visit-worthy sites. Hire a bike and cruise down to the fascinating riverside border market at Mae Saem Laep or check out the trekking and hill-tribe village options that the town’s tour operators have on offer.
You may not expect good accommodation and eating options, but a surprisingly wide choice of accommodation for such a small town awaits — and since it’s not crowded, some good deals are to be had. (None of this tripling of prices for high season like you see in Pai.) Many of the accommodation and eating places are on the riverbank, which is a plus. For budget accommodation, we recommend North West Guesthouse, or if you want to splash out try River House Hotel. You can also find some of our restaurant and bar suggestions here.
If you’re coming from the Chiang Mai direction, ride, or drive, or cycle along the Hot road. You’ll pass through lots of mountain vistas and pine forests, and it’s really almost worth going to Mae Sariang just for the scenery en route. From Mae Sariang plenty of buses head up via another scenic route to Mae Hong Song, or if you have time you could return to Chiang Mai via Khun Yuam and Mae Chaem, via an equally picturesque road leading round the back of Doi Inthanon. (Transport details for Mae Sariang can be found on this page.)
But best of all: not many other people go there. Even in the high season you’ll certainly avoid the crowds and get to see an attractive and off-the-beaten-track part of northern Thailand — a good reason in its own right.
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