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Interchangeably called Pang Mapah after the district name, Soppong is halfway between Pai and Mae Hong Son. The small market town serves the nearby hill tribe villages and, with a fine collection of guesthouses, Soppong is a good place to use as a base for exploring the surrounds.

If Pai is the party town, then Soppong is its quiet, nature-loving younger sibling, not allowed out after dark. Few tourist amenities aside of the guesthouses and their services are offered, but the surrounds are rich in attractions. For starters, the area is littered with caves, including the fantastic Tham Lod river-cave system. Then there are some good rafting and kayaking opportunities and the stunningly scenic hinterland is dotted with dozens of Lisu, Lahu, Karen and Shan villages, many of which can be visited on organised treks.

Tuesday is a good time to visit, as that's when the town comes alive with a local market. People of all ethnicities come from nearby villages to sell their wares and trade information and products, which come from as far as Bangkok.

Tuesdays aside, Soppong also has a far less "touristy" feel to it, so if you're wanting to escape the crowds and have a few slow days, you're in the right part of the world.

Soppong is at a slight elevation (around 700 metres), so evenings can get a bit chilly in the cool season from November to February, so bringing some warm clothing is a good idea.

The bus stop is beside the market and convenience store on the southern side of Route 108 (the main road through town), while the small hospital, police station and ATM are all on the north side of the same road, on the other side of town. The post office is next to the market.

There are no money changing facilities in Soppong, but there is an ATM machine, so if you're primarily using traveller's cheques, make sure you're cashed up before you get here.

Soppong River Inn has complimentary WiFi for their guests and there's also WiFi at Border Bar and internet facilities at Little Eden.

Some confusion exists as to the correct name of this village so to clear that up here goes: the district is actually called Pang Mapha (of Mae Hong Son province), and the district administrative centre is the old Soppong village, which technically should now change it's name to Pang Mapha. However as it has been called Soppong for a long time many of the locals are reluctant to adopt the new name, hence you will still frequently see Pang Mapha referred to as Soppong.

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Text and/or map last updated on 15th August, 2009.

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