Nestled in mountains 1 hr from Mae Sariang town, are Lawa and Karen hilltribe villages where you can stay overnight at a homestay.
From Mae Sariang it is a very scenic drive along winding roads up to the mountains which are 1,200m above sea level. With stunning vistas along the way and views of rolling mountains and paddy fields. These villages are not well known about so it is an authentic experience of Karen and Lawa hilltribe culture.
The homestay is with hilltribe families in their traditional wooden/bamboo stilt houses, conditions are basic but it offers a genuine insight into how they live.
The Lawa hilltribe is hardly talked about, but are thought to be the first inhabitants of Northern Thailand long before the Karen or mainland Thais arrived. Over the years their history has been lost but due to their ancestry here remain an important but often overlooked group.
The mighty Salawin River which stems from the Himalayas and flows through China and forms part of the Thai/Burma border remains a great natural wonder unknown to many foreign tourists to Thailand. If you are exploring Mae Hong Son province and pass through Mae Sariang town one item on your travel schedule should be a long-tail boat trip down the Salawin River. This can be done on a 1 day trip from Mae Sariang town. 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. Currently the road to Mae Sam Laep is in particularly bad state, landslides and fallen trees mean sections of the road are badly damaged and filled with potholes. The road is at its worst during rainy season when it is impassable with anything less than a 4WD so be prepared for a bumpy ride.
The village of Mae Sam Laep has a distinct Burmese feel to it. Bamboo stilt houses with teak leaf thatched roofs perched on the cliffs of the river banks are a curious sight. Many of these houses have been swept away by floods in former times. Here the women wear the popular ‘Thanaka’ or ‘Sandalwood’ herb sunblock on their faces a common sight in Burma. Most locals here look like Indians whose ancestors probably originated from Bangladesh and crossed into Burma before later generations came to Thailand.
As an unofficial border this area has a certain mystique. After arriving at Mae Sam Laep long tail boats can be hired for 1,300bt with a maximum group size of 6 adults. Depending on the season, the boat will either go upstream or downstream. It is 2 hour boat ride, stopping off halfway at either Ban Thata Fang or Man Sop Moei village which is a good lunch stop and chance to see the Karen Skor village. The views along the river are spectacular passing the occasional fisherman, other boats carrying locals and hamlets along the banks.
The best months for the boat trip are during the winter (Nov,Dec,Jan,Feb) as the sun is more temperate with blue sky. The summer months can be unbearably hot with smoggy skies from the burning of the forests that happens during March and April. Rainy season can have murky grey skies, and drizzle not the best conditions for showing off the great views of the river banks
Learn to make funky handmade jewellery from a local artisan. For a half day workshop (including lunch) you can learn how to make 3 items (bracelets, necklaces) from beads, cotton cords and a variety of pendants. Create your own designs, style and colours. Lots of fun!
Located close to Jong Sung temple.The significant buildings in this temple 're Ubosot with multi tiered roofs showing the Burmese style and the sala or sermon hall with multi functions,such as area for monks residence and area as Viharn.
This temple was built in 2381 B.E. Formerly,named Uttayanrom temple.It was the residence of the abbot who 's Tai Yai tribe. But later in 2431 B.E. it was destroyed by fire and renovated again to be Jong Sung temple in 2439 B.E. In the area of this temple situated 3 chedis or Thaat with Mon style. The West one built in the reign of King Rama VI,the Center one believed to housed the great relic.
Located near the river. Some interesting buildings 're Jong or Sermon hall, Chedis and old fence with lion statue as a guardian.