Few foreign tourists make it to Soppong and it hasn't taken off with domestic tourists either, so there’s not a huge choice of accommodation in town, but there ought to be something to keep most people happy for a couple of nights. Some of the surrounding villages such as Ban Tham Lod, Mae Lana and Ban Nam Rin have their own simple accommodation options as well.
We have 7 places to stay in and around Soppong.
Ban Tham Lod is a charming and very peaceful Shan village close to the famous cave of the same name. It’s only 13 kilometres from Soppong, so it’s easily doable in a half day, though there is accommodation in the form of the longstanding and well known Cave Lodge on the edge of the village, plus a couple of homestays. The road is now sealed and makes for a slightly bumpy but scenic drive or cycle through mostly teak plantations with hilltribe villages close by. There is no public transport, so if you do not have your own transport you would have to organise a pick up or try to find a motorbike taxi from the 7-eleven in Soppong.
A fairly large and prosperous (that is, more concrete than teak or bamboo) Lisu village, Ban Nong Thong is just out of Soppong Village. Walk around 500m towards MHS, turn left, and it’s up that road another 500m or so. It’s not one of the more attractive hill tribe villages around but locals are friendly enough and there’s a small village shop where you can buy a canned drink and while away a bit of time with the very friendly Alema, the shopkeeper. At the top of the village is the Lisu Homestay.
Ban Nam Rin is a large Lisu village just off the main highway around 10 kilometres before Soppong. The village is still quite traditional and services are minimal, so you’ll find petrol, a couple of basic grocery stores and noodle shops and that’s about it. The surrounding mountains are spectacular and there’s even more remote and traditional villages to be discovered, trails to hike and birds to be watched here. The village guesthouse is a good spot and the friendly and helpful owners can organise treks for you or provide information for simpler do-it-yourself hikes.
The charming and picturesque Shan village of Mae Lana lies in a deep valley a few kilometres northwest of Soppong. Head towards Mae Hong Son for 10 kilometres or so along the main highway, then look out for a turning on the right at the summit of the hill, Route 1226. From here the sealed road follows the ridge for 4 kilometres until just past the military checkpoint, where a turn off to the right leads down a steep hill to the village. Mae Lana is surrounded by some awesome scenery; plenty of great hikes are to be had to some relatively remote villages and there’s some spectacular and still little-explored cave systems in the vicinity, including the Mae Lana Cave. Some of them are highly dangerous and others are sacred sites with funerary coffins inside, so if you want to really explore the interiors hire a guide or even better, sign up for one of Cave Lodge’s trips.
The village itself is quiet, very laidback and full of friendly locals. It hosts a couple of simple cafes, some grocery stores and petrol, but no bank. There’s one simple but very pleasant guesthouse on the edge of the village.