Photo: Pick your chariot.

Boat trips

Our rating:

Head south out of town on the road that follows the Pai River and you’ll see signs for the pier, Tha Huay Dua, where boat trips down the picturesque river are on offer.

These generally finish at Huay Phu Keng Kayan village some 20 to 30-minutes travel time away but they will happily go as far as you’re willing to pay them. Small wooden boats with outboard motors seat up to five people and though life jackets are provided roofs aren’t so you might want to take a hat. We were informed the return trip would cost 600 baht, though it was a very quiet low season day and we were on our own—we’ve heard reports of differing tariffs—presumably depending upon the number of people and how desperate for business they are.

Pack a hat. Photo taken in or around Boat trips, Mae Hong Son, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Pack a hat. Photo: Mark Ord

The village charges an entrance fee of 250 baht not included in the price of the boat. A second nearby Kayan village, Huay Sua Tao, is accessible by sealed road from town and you’ll find further details, as well as our overall take on the pros and cons of visiting the Kayan villages in our Huay Sua Tao section.

During high season you may be able to organise bamboo rafting from this pier too and the adjacent stretch of the river is scenic even if you don’t have a particular destination in mind. Certain tour and trekking programmes include bamboo rafting.

The Pai River is well known for white-water rafting but bear in mind that since the river flows from the east, these trips all finish rather than start in Mae Hong Son and consequently booking these trips in Pai will be easier and cheaper. Yes of course the river continues on towards Burma west of Mae Hong Son, but at the time of writing there were no facilities in Mae Hong Son other than some bamboo rafting (high season only). Be warned then that while rafting is offered by certain Mae Hong Son agents, they will take you almost back to Pai to do it.

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Boat trips
Tha Huay Dua (Huay Dua Pier)
Mo–Su: 08:00–17:00

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Location map for Boat trips

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Mae Hong Son.
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