Mae Hong Son is a province of with a combination of various group of hill tribe people that have emigrated from many parts of different countries in Asia; such as, China, and Myanmar. They have been adapting themselves perfectly by blending their culture and exotic unique traditions. It has made Mae Hong Son tempting for a long time in terms of local tourism because of the variety of natural resources and hill tribes. Today, I am going to introduce some small villages and tourist destinations which were built between the faith, belief, culture and identity of each tribe in their own traditional way.
“Pha Bong” is one of the districts in Mae Hong Son, which just has won the best award to be the best local tourism destination in 2017 by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Let’s see what interesting things there are to make this district win an award.
First of all, there is a rice learning centre that grows various strains of rice and conserves Tai Yai tribal culture by showing the ancient items within a small lovely outdoor museum in the centre of the village. Pha Bong is a small district in which there is everything from hot springs, homestay community, learning centre, local product market, to nature trails. And if you are keen on adventure activities, you can do rafting along the Mae Ramat River or take a boat the see the nature of the Pai River.
The Hern Tai Museum is very interesting to see the ancient objects of the local people. It is a small village, which contains a
lot of interesting places of the friendly Tai Yai people. The district is full of potential and various natural resources.
From the centre, we head to an ethnic destination called Ban Huai Phu Kaeng, which is about 20 minutes ride and is located in
Pha Bong district. The Ban Huai Phu Kaeng community is surrounded by the Pai River in the mountains. To get there, you have to take a boat from the mainland to go along the river.
On the way, you will see green forest and be refreshed with the
spectacular view for 25 minutes. When you get to the village, you can walk and explore the village within one hour and see how the people live.
After visiting the Ban Huai Phu Kaeng community, we stopped by at Su Tong Pae, the bamboo bridge of faith and
success. It is the longest bamboo bridge in Thailand and located on the outskirts of Mae Hong Son city. Beautifully simple in its construction and its location, the bamboo bridge stretches for 500 metres across rice fields to link the temple from one village with the other.
The purpose of creating the bridge was to use as a pathway for the monks on their alms round and the local traffic. The farmer donated the land for the bridge to pass over the rice field and the villagers came together to construct the bridge using interwoven strips of bamboo for the walkway and wooden supports to elevate the bridge above the rice fields. Su Tong Pae Bridge is a very hidden treasure with a spectacular view, especially in the early morning with mist. Villagers and visitors come here to make merit in the morning when the monks will walk over the bamboo bridge, and it is stunning to see. Moreover, it is good to know the local people believe if you walk along the bridge, you can make a wish and your wish will come true.
Today, Su Tong Pae is one of the must- see places in Mae Hong Son that you should not miss.
From Su Tong Pae Bridge, we carry onto Ban Chabo, one of the “unseen” sites of Mae Hong Son. The authentic village is populated by the Lahu tribe and situated on a mountain range overlooking the spectacular landscape of the entire area. The village lies on the route between the town of Pai and the city of Mae Hong Son. One of the most famous attractions in Ban Chabo is a humble noodles restaurant on a hanging terrace above an abyss overlooking the spectacular local landscape. Many people come here not just for the noodles, but to sit by the balcony’s edge right above the abyss where the marvellous scenery is spread out in front of their eyes.
Ban Chabo is a lovely, authentic place with spectacular landscapes and a genuine opportunity to meet the Lahu tribe members who are known for their colourful costumes, wonderful hospitality, warmth and still conserve their culture and traditions. You will also find here homestay accommodation, modest guest houses owned by local families, along with local restaurants where you can taste various local dishes.
Ban Chabo is one of the four villages that pertain to a community-based tourism programme where villagers are encouraged to preserve their unique culture, and at the same time create further income and supplementary occupations. When visiting there, you can observe various displays of the Lahu tribe’s culture, dances, handicrafts, weaving and more. You can also go on a walking track in the area, accompanied by a local guide, of course.
I highly recommend it. An authentic experience with a friendly Black Lahu community at Ban Chabo with lovely hilltribe homestays, Lahu food, and perfect limestone mountain scenery.
This is Thailand as it has been for centuries. Go back in time at Mae Hong Son.