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Mae Sariang

Travel Guide Asia Thailand North Thailand Mae Hong Son Province Mae Sariang

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Introduction

Aerial view of Mae Sariang town

Aerial view of Mae Sariang town

© All Rights Reserved mja1906

Mae Sariang is a small town that doubles as one of 7 districts in Mae Hong Son province. Although often overlooked by tourists it has plenty to offer; the Yuam River, Salawin River, Salawin National Park, Kaew Komol Cave, waterfalls, hilltribe villages and much more. Some say that the trekking routes here are the most unspoilt in Northern Thailand. Due to the mountains, heavy forests and proximity to the border, it's been a haven for refugees from Myanmar for many years, a fact which clearly shows in the architecture of the town. Mae Sariang town is a small sleepy town, perfect if you are looking to turn things down a gear. Although being small it still has all the essentials, and provides well for tourists with an adequate selection of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants to choose from. It has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the people are very friendly and it’s the kind of place where everybody knows everyone else.

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Sights and Activities

Surrounding the town there are many sights to see and day trips to go on.

Lawa hill tribe

Lawa hill tribe

© All Rights Reserved MaeHongSon

Lawa and Karen Hilltribe Villages

A visit to nearby Lawa and Karen hilltribe villages nestled in mountains 1 horr from town offer a great insight into how the hilltribe villagers live. Unlike the tourist villages in Chiang Mai these villages still remain authentic. You can observe and interact in aspects of village life such as cotton weaving, silversmithing and cooking.

Salawin National Park

The Salawin National Park spans an area of 721.5 square kilometres across the districts of Mae Sariang and Sop Moei. You can access one side of the park 7 kilometres from town and also by the banks of the Salawin River. The park has a great variety of flora and fauna, including red teak (xylia) and wildlife such as deer, antelopes, squirrels, chipmunks, palm civets, gibbons and birds[1].

Salawin river

Salawin river

© All Rights Reserved MaeHongSon

Mae Sam Laep and the Salawin River

The mighty Salawin River which stems from the Himalayas flowing through China, Thailand and Myanmar. It forms part of the Thailand/Burma border and remains a great natural wonder unknown to many tourists. If you are exploring Mae Hong Son province and pass through Mae Sariang town one item on your travel schedule should be a boat trip down the Salawin River. This can be done on a 1 day trip from Mae Sariang town. You will need to get to 'Ban Mae Sam Laep' a Burmese village on the banks of the river where boats depart. To reach Ban Mae Sam Laep you can take a local songtiaw, hire a car or motorbike.

Mae Sariang Museum

Mae Sariang Museum

© All Rights Reserved MaeHongSon

Mae Sariang Museum

Has a small display of local history and culture. The outside is probably more impressive, as the upper level and it's roof are built in distinctive Burmese architectural style which can only be seen in the Mae Hong Son area.

4 temples of Mae Sariang

  • Wat Phrathat Chom Chaeng - located at the intersection of SH108 and SH105 this temple includes a mix of northern Lanna art and architecture.
  • Wat Phrathat Chom Thong - located on a hill above town next to the famous Big Buddha which overlooks the town and Yuam River Valley
  • Wat Phrathat Chom Gitti
  • Wat Phrathat Chom Mon

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Events and Festivals

Awk Phansa Day marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent period as well as the rainy season. It is traditionally held on the full-moon day of of the 11th lunar month. In 2009, that was the first weekend of October.

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Weather

Mae Sariang has a tropical climate with hot and humid conditions year round. The average highs range from around 29 °C in December to around 38 °C in April, while nights average between 14 °C in January and February to around 24 °C from May to July. The average annual amount of precipitation is around 1,260 mm with almost all of that falling between May and October. December to February hardly sees any rainfall at all.

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Getting There

By Car

From Chiang Mai - Mae Sariang is 180-kilometre drive southwest on highway 108 which passes through Hod
From Mae Hong Son - Mae Sariang is 190-kilometre drive southwards on highway 108 which passes through Khun Yuam

By Bus

Public Buses (fan bus) depart Chiang Mai's Arcade Bus Station daily: 8:00am, 1.30pm, 3:00pm, 8:00pm
Aircon buses: 11:00am, 9:00pm.

Buses from Mae Hong Son depart at:
Fan: 6:00am, 8:00am, 12.30, 2:00pm, 8:00pm
Aircon: 10.30am, 9pm

Buses from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal depart at:
VIP: 3:00pm, 6:00pm
Fan: 8.45pm

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Getting Around

By Bike

Hiring a motorbike or push bike is a popular way to not only get around town but to explore the outlying countryside.
Motorbikes can be hired for 250 baht from some of the guesthouses, push bikes are 50 baht.

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Eat

  • Sawadee Restaurant located by the Yuam River is a funky outfit that has a very chilled out feel to it.

Serving Thai and Western dishes, it's a great place to chill out, have a drink or meet other travellers and locals.

  • Inthira Restaurant the most famous and well established restaurant in town

is known for its seafood, Thai and Chinese dishes

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Sleep

There are a handful of guesthouses and hotels in town catering for all budget ranges.

Budget

  • NorthWest Guesthouse - Offers clean simple rooms at a very good price, ranging from 200-400 baht a night. Fan and air con rooms with either private/shared bathrooms available. The owners are very friendly and welcoming, their kitchen also serves great Thai food. Tel: 053681956.
  • Riverside Guesthouse - The main appeal of staying here is the view it has over the Yuam River. Rooms range from 300-600 baht. Tel: 053681188.
  • Roadside Guesthouse - Located less than a minutes walk from the bus station, aptly named because it is on the main road that runs through town. Simple rooms ranging from 200-40 baht a night.
  • Mitaree Guesthouse - One of the oldest hotels rooms range from 120-600 baht. Tel: 053 681110.
  • Kamolsorn Guesthouse - Rooms range from 450-700 baht. Rooms are clean but the place lacks any atmosphere. Tel: 053 681524.

Mid-Range

  • River House Hotel - This large teak hotel by the river has simpe and stylish rooms some with verandas overlooking the river. Rooms range from 500-1,000 baht. Tel: 053 621201.
  • River House Resort - The upper class sister to River House Hotel. This large 3 storey block which stands out is run by the same company. Rooms range from 1,500-2,800 baht. Lacking in atmosphere though rooms are spacious and equipped with cable TV and minibar. Tel: 053 683066.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.

Post

Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.

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This is version 25. Last edited at 10:40 on Nov 5, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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