Mae Hong Son was our place to slow wayyyyy down. After the wonderful Small World Festival, we took it real slow on Christmas and just hung around town.
The day after Christmas we went for a drive. We started at Wat Doi Kong Mu, the hilltop temple that overlooks the city, then drove north to Baan Pang Mu.
Tee and I had wandered into some sesame processing the last time we’d visited this village so we decided to try our luck again. We parked at the temple and found ourselves in the midst of a leaf roof tile weaving party. Large leaves (I always forget the name of them) are folded over bamboo sticks and woven together with lengths of thin bamboo. These sections are stacked and stored until needed. Pam had been admiring the leaf roof at the Land Split just a few days before so it was fun for her to be able to see part of the process.
We stopped into a homestay whose courtyard is decorated with oxcarts and farm equipment. Mom tried her hand at husking rice and was a good sport and pretended to be an ox with me. Tee showed us the husking method used in his village, he said he used to do this for hours every night.
Next we were off to Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge. This place has changed greatly since our first visit 2 years ago. Not sure if it’s this developed year round or just for the high season, but it seems to be just another selfie station now.
While I am not a huge fan of selfies, I am a huge Instagram fan and I found our next stop, a coffee shop, on Instagram. I don’t think the coffee is incredible, the view more than makes up for it!
Then just a little further down the road to Baan Huai Pha. So there is a bit of story as to why I wanted to go to Huai Pha. In 2014 Tee gave me a beautiful post card as my birthday card and I’ve been a little obsessed with finding the place on the card. I had seen a photo of what I thought to be the same view of my favorite Mae Hong Son loving blog, but hadn’t been able to figure out where the village he mentioned was (Google Maps is not so great here, I’m a bit more savvy now). A few weeks ago while zipping by in the minivan with Robert and Caroline I thought I recognized the shape of the valley and the top of one of the tall, tall trees, so we were here to investigate. It took a couple tries to find the right road, Tee parked in a kind mans driveway and he and I set off to look. I hadn’t told Tee why we were there, but the second he rounded the corner and saw the distinctive trees he understood. We walked out in the field a bit and I was thrilled to have finally found my magical valley. I know we’ll be back here again, and again, and again.
While looking at the valley to the west of Doi Kong Mu Pam had spotted a large church and Mom had spotted citrus trees, both things required a closer look. On our way back we took the bypass and headed south to the of village to Baan Sop Pong and satisfied their curiosities.
After another lazy day we were off to Baan Rak Thai. This is another place Tee and I had liked previously that I doubt I’ll visit again. The town which was a little kitschy before is now just tacky with a full on Great Wall marring the view of the most beautiful resort. My memories may be clouded by the screaming pain in my swollen ear that left me in tears on our drive home.
The rest of our time in Mae Hong Son was spent enjoying the wide menu at Salween River Restaurant, poking around the morning market, swimming in the guesthouse pool, and sipping Thai tea at Alawaa Cafe.
I was quite sick and feeling run down the whole time we were in Mae Hong Son. It was hard for me, but it made it easier for Mom and Pam to relax because I wasn’t pushing them to go anywhere. Poor Tee was a little bored, but had some friends in town to visit with.