Posted by: James Shannon | January 14, 2011

The Life of Pai, Episode III: Road Trip to Mae Hong Son

We had covered most of Pai’s immeadiately accessible attractions, so it was now time to hit the road with Katie and her friend Mike to (1) extend both their tourist visas and (2) To see more of Northwestern Thailand and its gorgeous mountain scenery. Katie set out on her bike, while I hopped on the local bus to Mae Hong Son. The following pics are the best of the ones I snapped through the window enroute…

One of 600+ curves on the road to Mae Hong Son … the highway ascended and descended two mountains on the way to the provincial capital, granting many vistas such as the one above.

A Lessu hilltribe village in a high mountain pass between Pai and Sappong … the Lessu farm the highlands, which get more moisture than the valley bottoms (especially in the dry season) … they are identified by the baggy green pants that the men wear, and the black pants that the women wear, making them easy to spot at markets in the towns of Northwestern Thailand, where they sell their handicrafts and agricultural wares.

After three hours on a bus where the only relief from the heat was a suspended desk fan on the ceiling of the aging vehicle, I arrived at the lonely bus terminal, just outside the town centre of Mae Hong Son.  After telling the tuk tuk drivers I did NOT need a ride for the sixth time, and an hour of waiting, Katie finally found the terminal (they had moved it), and with that, we checked into our guesthouse for the night.

In search of lunch, we hit the town market…

Even in a small place like Mae Hong Son, population 8000, the agricultural abundance of the land was on full display.   For the cook in all of us … oh, the possibilities!

Witness as your Dear Author tackles a battered chicken foot … which is essentially battered bone and cartilage.  Still, it is a popular snack food for many Thais!

We ventured toward the central attraction of the town, which is a man-made lake ringed by a park, guesthouses, a Buddhist temple, and restaurants.  Granted, it doesn’t sound like much, but the lake is only the foreground decoration…

… for a jaw-dropping background of jungle and rugged mountain ranges!

Katie having her lunch in Mae Hong Song’s very colourful town centre park…

Sole reason for posting this Thai sculpture of a mystical lion: because he rocks.  And so do you.

The rest of the trip was quite boring … went to bed, woke up the next morning, boarded a bus for Pai, and I was back by the following afternoon.

Coming up next: How did I spend my downtime in Pai when I wasn’t seeing sights, doing awesome stuff, and fighting supervillians?  Quite luxuriously, as you will find out next time on Episode IV of: The Life Of Pai!



  1. As always, very entertaining, James.

    LOVE MOM ❤

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