Mae Sariang

Mae Sariang

Bucolic mountain outpost

The small district town of Mae Sariang sits in a picturesque location on a largely undeveloped riverside, surrounded by forested hills and paddy-filled valleys. The town still possesses plenty of old teak buildings, a handful of Burmese/Shan-style wats, some fine accommodation choices and... well, it’s just a great glimpse of traditional, small-town Thailand.

More on Mae Sariang

Mae Sariang sits in the southern reaches of Mae Hong Son province at the junction of Routes 105 and 108, the Mae Hong Son to Mae Sot and Mae Sariang to Chiang Mai highways. If you’re doing the famous Mae Hong Son loop by motorbike (or some other means), Mae Sariang is about as far south as you get. While the loop is probably the reason most visitors do stop here, we reckon the town has enough to do, and sufficient charms, to warrant a couple of days in its own right.

For now, Mae Sariang remains a sleepy, untouristy backwater. It sits on the eastern bank of the Yuam river and does more business as a small trading centre and regional market town for the surrounding farmlands than as a trekking and tourism centre – despite the dreams of some resident entrepreneurs, who hope it will be Thailand’s next Chiang Mai.

Pretty setting

Bucolic, in every cliched, lovely sense.

Other than sitting with a coffee or beer and watching the Yuam flow by – which we could quite happily do for hours – there are not many sights as such in town. But you can walk around the quiet streets checking out a few wats, some old teak architecture and the market.

On Sundays there is a Walking Street market on the lower section of Wiang Mai Road, with lots of local produce and snacks; a similar market sets up around the corner in front of the district office and surrounding lanes on Friday evenings. Both usually start around 17:00 and run until 21.00.

Shan style temple

Shan-style temple.

Hire a bicycle and explore the surrounding countryside, plus there are organised treks to be had. If you can ride a motorbike (and find one to rent), a couple of longer trips are well worth doing such as Mae Sam Laep and Salween National Park.

The road to Mae Sariang

The road to Mae Sariang.

Beautiful Mae Sam Laep sits on the eastern bank of the Salween River and aside from great views across to Burma, you’ll also find a bustling market town with boats going back and forth across the river carrying all sorts of goods. There used to be a lot of these atmospheric, remote, end-of-the-road style places in Thailand but these days there are fewer and fewer, so if you have the time up your sleeve it is worth setting aside an extra day, not just for Mae Sariang, but also for a day trip to Mae Sam Laep.

36 other destinations in Northern Thailand

Learn more about Chiang Dao
Chiang Dao

Caves and mountains

Learn more about Phu Lang Ka
Phu Lang Ka

Clouds amid the karsts

Learn more about Pai

Busy trekking centre

Learn more about Phu Chee Fah
Phu Chee Fah

Quite a view

Learn more about Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai

Thailand’s northern capital

Learn more about Tha Ton
Tha Ton

Famous for the Kok River trip

Learn more about Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai

Plenty to see and do

Learn more about Mae Salong
Mae Salong

Least Thai town in Thailand

Learn more about Umphang

Gateway to an impressive waterfall

Learn more about Nan

Well worth the side trip

Learn more about Kamphaeng Phet
Kamphaeng Phet

An ancient fortress

Learn more about Sukhothai

An ancient Thai capital

Learn more about Soppong

Spectacular mountain scenery

Learn more about Si Satchanalai
Si Satchanalai

Ancient satellite of Sukhothai

Learn more about Bo Kluea
Bo Kluea

Ancient salt mines and mountain views

Learn more about Wiang Haeng
Wiang Haeng

Remote border region

Learn more about Mae Sot
Mae Sot

Bustling on the Burma border

Learn more about Phrao

Scenic stopover

Learn more about Lampang

Elephants and horse carts

Learn more about Pua

Launching point for Doi Phuka

Learn more about Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon

Thailand’s highest peak

Learn more about Mae Wang
Mae Wang

River trips and hill tribes

Learn more about Lamphun

The history runs deep

Learn more about Doi Khun Tan National Park
Doi Khun Tan National Park

Undisturbed forest

Learn more about Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son

Tranquil temple town

Learn more about Fang

Odd name, great scenery

Learn more about Chiang Saen
Chiang Saen

A sleepy historic centre

Learn more about Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong

A popular border town

Learn more about Phayao

Take a load off by the river

Learn more about Phrae

Steeped in history

Learn more about Phitsanulok

P’lok will do just fine

Learn more about Sob Ruak
Sob Ruak

The Golden Triange

Learn more about Khun Yuam
Khun Yuam

Sunflowers and a waterfall

Learn more about Mae Sai
Mae Sai

Infamous border town

Learn more about Tak

A low-key river town

Learn more about Hot

Cool off in Hot