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Mae Sariang

Getting there and away

Bus

Night sleeper buses run between Bangkok (Morchit) and Mae Sariang daily and these buses will pass through such tempting destinations as Tak, Kamphaeng Pet and Nakhon Sawan on their way to Bangkok.

Heading north, air-con and VIP buses leave for Mae Hong Son at quite odd hours, presumably because these are night buses arriving from Bangkok. Unless you have an important breakfast date in Mae Hong Son, it's better to forget the VIP buses and take a slower fan, or standard air-con, bus leaving at a more reasonable time -- even if the scheduling gets a bit sketchy for these local buses.

Buses to and from Chiang Mai run through the day and into the evening and take approximately four hours and stop at; Hot, Chom Thong, Santapong and all points east to Chiang Mai. Alternatively you could take a minibus which also leave from Mae Sariang bus station and travel to Chiang Mai or Mae Sot. Note that minibuses tend to leave when, and only when, they are full.

Finally, you will also find songthaews hanging around the bus station, offering cheaper, slower, less comfortable, but sometimes more fun rides in a meet the locals, sit on a chicken, have a Karen baby vomit all over you sort of way. These leave sporadically for local destinations such as Khun Yuam, Mae Sam Laep, Hot and the mountain villages south of Mae Sariang.

Note in a small, remote town like Mae Sariang all times and routes are going to be highly changeable so please double check before turning up at the bus station. The number for Mae Sariang bus station is (053) 681 532 and for minibus services, (053) 681 858 but don't count on much English being spoken so you may have to pass the number on to your friendly guesthouse staff if they don't already have it.

Also note -- the airport marked on some maps in Mae Sariang is a private aerodrome only, so only useful if you have your own plane.

Sample departure information includes:
Bangkok: Departs at 16.00, 18.00, 19.00, taking 12 hours and costing 508 baht, (16.00 departure), or 653 baht for the 2 evening, VIP bus departures
Mae Hong Son (VIP): Departs at 03:00 and 06:00, taking four hours (stopping also at Khun Yuam) and cost 260 baht.
Mae Hong Son (fan): Departs at 07.00, 12.30, 17.30, 24.00 and 01.00, taking five hours and costing 100B.
Mae Hong Son (air-con): Departs at 10.30 and 15.30, taking four hours and costing 170B.
Chiang Mai (fan): Depart at 7.00, 9.00, 12.30, 15.00 and 24.00, taking four hours. 100 bhat
Chiang Mai (air-con) Depart at 10.30 and 01.00, taking four hours. 180 bhat
Chiang Mai (minibus) 240B leaves when full.
Mae Sot (minibus): 180 baht, leaves when full.
Hot: Departs hourly between 07.00 and 13.00 and costs 60 baht.

Updates from Travelfish readers

  • When I traveled from Mae Soaring to Mae Soto in September, 2012, there were no minibuses between the two towns, only songthaew. My songthaew left precisely on schedule at 8:00 a.m. with me as the only passenger, I.e., he didn't wait to file up with passengers before leaving. This was because his main business was not to take people from Mar Soaring to Marr Soto, but to pick up and drop off passengers for relatively short journeys between the intervening farms, homesteads and villages. It was a beautiful six hour ride through splendid country with passengers getting on and off, many in partial or complete trial costume. Because almost all passengers were making relatively short journeys, the songthaew made no EST stops at all -- the only downside of the journey. Make sure o sit at the back for open views of the scenery.

    Update by sullivanmarc (4)
    Written on 28th January, 2014

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Other

If you don't have your own plane then you'll have to rely on motorbikes or bicycles to get around. There's certainly more than enough interesting destinations and scenic routes to be taken in the vicinity of Mae Sariang to make hiring a bicycle a good option and same goes for motorbikes if you want to explore the surrounding area without messing around with songthaews.

Motorbikes -- Honda Dreams or Waves are available from the following spots: North West Guesthouse, Roadside, Riverhouse Resort and Riverhouse Hotel all at more or less the same price of 200 baht per day and North West also have the choice of regular or mountain bikes for 50 and 100 baht per day respectively.

Most hotels and guesthouses are also more than willing to find you a car or pick-up plus driver for the day if you just want to cruise around rather than opt for one of their set day tours. Car hire cost is going to depend upon distance and destination.

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