Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Mae Hong Son.
Mae Hong Son's airport sits on the northern edge of town, walking distance from Jong Kham Lake. There are twice-daily flights between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai with Kan Air, though there may be delays and even cancellations due to low visibility caused in the wet season by mist and low cloud cover and in the dry season by smoke from burning fields.
The timetable, at time of writing in mid-2015, is:
Chiang Mai–Mae Hong Son: Daily at 11:00 and 15:55, plus a third flight on Mondays at 08:10
Mae Hong Son-Chiang Mai: Daily at 12:00 and 17:00, plus a third flight on Mondays at 09:35.
Small prop planes are used on the route, which takes 35 minutes and costs 1,690 baht.
Kan Airlines: T: (02) 551 6111; www.kanairlines.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mae Hong Son's bus station is at the southern end of town and is signposted just off the main Mae Sariang highway.
From here buses run regularly between Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai, by either the northern route, via Soppong and Pai (takes eight hours), or the slightly longer southern one via Khun Yuam and Mae Sariang (takes nine hours). The northern route is by far the more spectacular, but it is very hilly and winding -- hang onto your stomach.
There are also regular direct buses to Bangkok.
Choose between minibuses and occasional larger, fan-cooled buses, while all air-con Bangkok-bound coaches take the Mae Sariang route only (which takes 14 hours). If you are heading for Bangkok we’d recommend going via Pai to Chiang Mai and overnighting there before taking a train or bus to Bangkok. Mae Hong Son to Bangkok in one go, via Mae Sariang, is a long and arduous journey.
Air-con sleeper buses depart for Bangkok at 15:00 and 16:00 arriving at Mor Chit bus terminal in Bangkok at 07:00 and 08:00 respectively. The later bus is a VIP service costing 865 baht while the early one costs 742 baht.
Minibuses for Pai, via Soppong and Mae Sariang via Khun Yuam, leave approximately hourly in theory, but in reality whenever the bus is full. Fare is 150 baht for Pai or Soppong, 100 baht for Khun Yuam and 200 baht for Mae Sariang.
The large fan-cooled bus leaves at 08:30 and costs 66 baht for Pai and 130 baht for Chiang Mai via Pai. A second fan bus departs around 08:00 in the southerly direction costing 43 baht for Khun Yuam, 130 for Mae Sariang and 185 for Chiang Mai .
It takes around 1.5 hours to reach Khun Yuam and Soppong, 3.5 hours for Pai and four hours for Mae Sariang.
Schedules do change so just ask your guesthouse to check for you or pop down to the bus station a day in advance.
For surrounding villages and destinations out of town such as Baan Rak Thai, yellow songthaews depart from in front of the market on Panith Wattana Road. These generally leave in the morning so don’t leave it too late -- again, check times the day before.
Mae Hong Son Bus station (for Bangkok enquiries): T: (053) 684 222
Prepmpracha Minibus Service: T: (053 ) 492 999; (includes on-line booking service) premprachatransports.com
From the bus station to town should cost 40 baht per person for a moto taxi or 80 baht for a tuk tuk for two people. The bus station is just about the only place in Mae Hong Son you’ll see a tuk tuk, though moto taxis can usually be found in front of the market.
Motorbikes can be hired from a number of travel agents and guesthouses around Mae Hong Son for about 150-200 baht per day for a scooter. There is plenty to see and do in the surrounding areas, and most of the proposed day trip itineraries can be done independently. Salween River Cafe has some Hondas for rent for 150 baht while just a bit further down the same road you’ll find PA Tours, which have a wider variety of bikes plus cars and 4WD for rent. Their bikes are between 150 and 200 baht and their cars 2,500 to 3,000 baht per day.
PA Tours: Pradit Jongkham Rd; T: (053) 611 647, (086) 180 7031; www.pamotorcarrent.com; email@example.com