Photo: Come for the views.

Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor

Our rating:

The hill-top temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu is better known for its splendid views over the surrounding area rather than the actual architecture itself.





This is another Shan/Burmese-style temple dating to the mid-19th century and houses a pair of white painted chedis containing the ashes of prestigious Shan monks. If you include viewpoints to the rear of the small hill, by the temple car-park, then you have pretty much a 360-degree vistas so this is a great spot for either an early morning or late afternoon visit.

A pleasant wander. Photo taken in or around Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor , Mae Hong Son, Thailand by Mark Ord.

A pleasant wander. Photo: Mark Ord

In winter months morning views may well include an atmospheric cloaking of mist over Mae Hong Son below while at the end of the day you can see the sun setting behind the Burmese mountains to the west. The cooler months of November to January represent the best chance to see the spectacular sea of fog effect while sunset skies will be at their most photogenic during dry, rainy season afternoons when skies are blue and haze free and yet a few clouds may be around to add some drama to the skies.

During high season, sunset in particular can see quite a crowd gathering on the summit as it’s popular with both foreign and Thai tourists as well as being a romantic spot for local courting couples. Indeed the car-park also houses a cafe and coffee shop as well as a few souvenir stalls selling the de-rigeur baggie elephant pants plus religious paraphernalia to local pilgrims. The Before Sunset coffee shop (from the same entrepreneur who brought you 77 House down in town) has a particularly well-situated terrace facing north and west from its car-park location while the main viewpoint in front of the chedis looks east over the town and valley.

A spectacular outlook. Photo taken in or around Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor , Mae Hong Son, Thailand by Mark Ord.

A spectacular outlook. Photo: Mark Ord

You can reach the summit either by climbing the steep staircase running up from beside Wat Muay Thor or follow a windy road by motorbike which leads up from the side of Wat Phra Non. Since the hill is measured at 1,500 metres and the town centre lies at around 250 you can work out for yourself how far you have to climb.

The aforementioned Wat Muay Thor, at the base of Doi Kong Mu houses a 12m-long reclining Buddha which is also worth a peek if you’re not in a hurry. Dating back to 1875, the Buddha was cast on the request of the wife of the first governor of Mae Hong Son. Stupas in the grounds contain the ashes of former Mae Hong Son rulers, and do look out for the pair of giant Chinthes, stone lions, which are considered to ensure safe passage for those paying homage to Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu’s sacred relics.

The cute Wat Kam Kor. Photo taken in or around Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor , Mae Hong Son, Thailand by Mark Ord.

The cute Wat Kam Kor. Photo: Mark Ord

Across the road, you’ll see Wat Kam Kor, a third Shan/Burmese style temple along this route skirting the base of the hill and which is the repository for rare ancient texts in the Shan script recounting significant historical events and royal lineages.


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How to get there
The steps are to be found by Wat Muay Thor on the road of the same name which skirts the foot of Doi Kong Mu to the east, a short walk west from Khunlumprapas Road. The access road leads off from Wat Phra Non slightly to the south. In the late afternoon you may see a motorbike taxi or two waiting along at this junction which will take you up and down the hill for around 120 baht.

Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor
Western side of town, Mae Hong Son
Admission: Free

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Location map for Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Mu, Wat Muay Thor & Wat Kam Kor

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