If you're looking for a day out and don't particularly want to go trekking, head south out of Mae Hong Son on the road that follows the Pai River and you’ll see signs for the boat pier, Tha Huay Dua, where you can arrange a boat trip down the picturesque river.
These trips generally commence at Tha Huay Dua and finish at Huay Sua Tao Kayan village, some 20 minutes of travel time away, but they will happily go as far along the river as you’re willing to pay for. Huay Sua Tao is also accessible by road but there’s a more distant Kayah village, Huay Phu Kaeng, which you can only reach by boat.
Small wooden boats with outboard motors seat up to five people and cost 600 baht return to Huay Sua Tao and 800-1,000 baht to Huay Phu Kaeng. (Life jackets are provided.) The former village charges an additional entrance fee of 250 baht but the latter has no entrance fee.
During high season, you may be able to organise casual bamboo rafting from this pier too.
By Mark Ord.