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Mae Hong Son

Eat and meet

Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son is a quiet town, so there's not a vast choice of restaurants and bars but you'll certainly be kept happy for a few days.

The town is home to a myriad of coffee shops, many with excellent bakeries attached and most offering very good "hill-tribe coffee". Ban Tua Lek, a small coffee shop by the lake opposite Wat Jong Kum is particularly good if you need a fix of cappuccino and Western-style cake (even if they charge customers 10B to charge a cell phone or camera).

The market has some good cheap local food -- Shan noodles and the usual Thai rice dishes. Several good noodle shops are found around the edges of the market. The night market also has some good grub though in the past we have found some stallholders have a tendency to follow a two-tier pricing system. A few vendors usually set up lakeside selling grilled chicken and various snacks, so you can picnic on the grass by the lake if you like.

Tai Yai is a nicely decorated restaurant on Singhanatbamrung Road (near Krungthai bank), doing simple Thai dishes and good coffee and smoothies. Check your email while you're there as well.

If you have transport, a little bit out of town is the very good Ban Rabiang, which does excellent Thai food and doesn't usually overcharge foreigners. Follow the road leading east out of the airport car park and keep an eye out for the English signs.

The best bars are by the lake, where you'll find Meeting, Sunflower and Chilies all pretty close to each other and well worth checking out. Staff are very friendly in all three spots. Chilies, just 50 metres up from the lakefront, is more pub-style, with a long bar and pool table, while Sunflower has regular live music (even in low season), and Meeting has a pleasant upstairs sitting area with a great view over the lake. The latter two do mostly Thai food, and Sunflower offers a few Western choices as well.

The longstanding Crossroads Bar is okay if you like a nice view of a busy crossroads and sullen staff, while if you want to boogie it up later in the evening there's Mae Hong Son's current number one (there's actually only one) hotspot: The Chalet, downstairs in the Baiyoke Chalet Hotel. It doesn't really get going until 11ish when it's very popular with local youth until 01:00, when it closes. Larger hotels such as Imperial and Mountain Inn have very pleasant cafe and bar areas but most of the smaller guesthouses only have minimal eating and drinking facilities.

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