Mae Hong Son Living Museum

Mae Hong Son Living Museum

Fascinating do it yourself historical walking tour

More on Mae Hong Son

The Mae Hong Son Living Museum is a splendid initiative set up to highlight and as much as possible protect the town’s cultural and architectural heritage.

Travelfish says:

While great in theory, certain similar projects in other northern Thai cities can be a bit half-baked so while we did enter slightly sceptical, in this case, we came out thoroughly enthused. Some say it’s a defence against Pai’s dark arts of crass commercialism and rapid development, although to be realistic Mae Hong Son can’t blame tourism for the regular demolition of some of its older buildings to make way for new bank branches or air-con minimarts.

Don’t miss the Shan style 7-eleven opposite. : Mark Ord.
Don’t miss the Shan style 7-eleven opposite. Photo: Mark Ord

Even hard-wearing teak has a limit to its shelf life and such historical buildings require considerable money and effort to preserve which isn’t always easy in the case of privately owned ones or one where, for instance, a family is trying to run a small business. Help is needed, so any project that does so is a start and even just making people aware of the problem and displaying the town’s cultural heritage to locals—as much as visitors—is a worthy project.

The small but well laid out museum—more of an exhibition really—shows all things Mae Hong Son by means of mostly photographic exhibits covering culture, local ethnic groups, history, architecture and even cuisine and points out many remaining old buildings of note around town. These include period villas or perhaps former trading company offices not just well-known temples, some of which today are hardware stores for instance or private houses and you’d never imagine the history behind them.

Fascinating and we strongly recommend grabbing one of their excellent brochures and maps from which you can work out your own walking or bicycle tour of the town. This should be your first stop on arrival in Mae Hong Son as, even if you’re not about to embark on a do-it-yourself cycling tour, you’ll find an excellent potted general history and descriptions of the well-known sites as well.

It is officially open daily from 08:30 to 16:30 though on our last low season visit we did find it closed. A shame if it is but at least it’s not far out of your way. Why doesn’t every Thai town have one of these?

Contact details for Mae Hong Son Living Museum

Address: Singhanat Bamrung Road, Mae Hong Son
T: (053) 611 944;  
https://www.facebook.com/Living-Museum-633242993475485/
Coordinates (for GPS): 97º58'0.77" E, 19º18'5.81" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps

Reviewed by

Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.

Tours in Thailand


These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.


Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Mae Hong Son

Huay Sua Tao and visiting the Kayan people
Huay Sua Tao and visiting the Kayan people

Interesting visit and they need the cash

Trekking
Trekking

Many options

Ban Rak Thai
Ban Rak Thai

A great day out on a scooter

Boat trips
Boat trips

Go for a float down the scenic Pai River

The Bamboo Bridge, Su Tong Pae
The Bamboo Bridge, Su Tong Pae

An attractive and photogenic stop-off

Tham Pla National Park
Tham Pla National Park

The fish cave

Mae Hong Son markets
Mae Hong Son markets

A few to choose from

Tham Wua Forest Monastery
Tham Wua Forest Monastery

Only worth visiting for meditation purposes