The Ultimate Guide to Mae Sariang: Things to Do on the Mae Hong Son Loop
Mae Sariang is a charming, small town located in the Mae Hong Son province of Thailand. Known for its picturesque landscape, rich culture and history, and abundance of outdoor activities, it is a must-see destination for any traveler looking to experience the true beauty of northern Thailand.
The town is situated on the Mae Hong Son Loop, a popular route for motorbike and car travelers looking to explore the region. The loop takes you through winding roads and scenic mountains, passing through several other towns and villages before returning to Mae Sariang.
One of the most popular activities in Mae Sariang is trekking. The area is home to several national parks and protected forests, including the Mae Sariang Forest Park and the Huai Kaeo Arboretum. These parks offer a variety of trekking trails, from easy nature walks to challenging, multi-day treks.
Some popular trekking routes include the Mae Sariang-Khun Yuam trek, which takes you through picturesque rice fields and small villages, and the Mae Sariang-Mae La Noi trek, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Another popular activity in Mae Sariang is visiting the many waterfalls in the area. Some of the most beautiful waterfalls include the Mae Surin Waterfall, which is located in the Mae Surin National Park, and the Mae Klang Waterfall, which is located just outside of town.
Both of these waterfalls offer swimming areas and picnic spots, making them a perfect spot for a day trip.
Hill Tribe Villages
The Mae Hong Son province is home to several hill tribe villages, including the Karen, Hmong, and Lahu tribes. These villages offer a unique glimpse into the traditional way of life of these ethnic groups and are a popular destination for travelers looking to experience the culture and history of the region.
Some popular hill tribe villages to visit include the Ban Rak Thai Karen village, which is located just outside of Mae Sariang, and the Ban Huai Dua Lahu village, which is located on the Mae Hong Son Loop.
No trip to Mae Sariang would be complete without trying the local cuisine. The town is known for its delicious and authentic northern Thai food, including dishes such as khao soi (a creamy curry noodle soup), sai oua (a spicy sausage), and tam khanun (a green papaya salad).
There are many small restaurants and street food stalls in Mae Sariang where you can try these dishes, as well as other local favorites.
Mae Sariang is a must-see destination for any traveler looking to experience the true beauty of northern Thailand. With its picturesque landscape, rich culture and history, and abundance of outdoor activities, it offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in trekking, visiting waterfalls, exploring hill tribe villages, or trying the local cuisine, Mae Sariang has it all.
Local Festivals and Events
Mae Sariang also offers a variety of local festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing the rich culture and traditions of the town and surrounding region.
One of the most popular festivals is the annual Loy Krathong Festival, which takes place in November. During the festival, locals and visitors alike release small, candle-lit floats called krathongs into the local rivers and waterways as a symbol of letting go of negative emotions and making a wish for good luck. The town is also illuminated with colorful lights and decorations, making for a truly magical experience.
Another popular event is the annual Mae Sariang Walking Street Festival, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month. The festival features local food vendors, handmade crafts, and traditional performances, giving visitors a chance to experience the local culture and traditions.
Mae Sariang offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all types of travelers, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. Many of the accommodations are located in the town center, making it easy to explore all that Mae Sariang has to offer.
Some popular options include the Siam Riverside Guesthouse, which offers comfortable rooms and friendly staff, and the Mae Sariang Hill Resort, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a swimming pool.
Mae Sariang is easily accessible by bus or car from major cities such as Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. The town is also a popular stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop, making it a convenient destination for those traveling by motorbike or car.
Extra Activities to do in Mae Sariang
Mae Sariang offers not just the activities mentioned above but also several other things that visitors can do to make their trip more memorable.
Yoga and Meditation
Mae Sariang is a great destination for those looking to relax and rejuvenate, and yoga and meditation are popular activities in the town. There are several yoga and meditation centers in the area, offering classes and workshops for all levels, as well as retreats and private sessions.
Renting a motorbike is a great way to explore the Mae Hong Son Loop and the surrounding region. There are several rental shops in Mae Sariang, offering a variety of motorbikes and scooters at affordable prices.
For those interested in learning about Thai cuisine, Mae Sariang offers several cooking classes that teach traditional northern Thai dishes. These classes are a great way to learn about the local ingredients and flavors, as well as take home a new skill.
Visit Local Temples
Mae Sariang has several beautiful and historic temples that are worth visiting. Some popular temples include Wat Phra That Mae Yen, a temple located on a hilltop with panoramic views of the town and the surrounding mountains, and Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, a temple located on a hilltop with a beautiful golden stupa.
Mae Sariang is a great place to shop for traditional northern Thai handicrafts, such as textiles, pottery, and silverware. There are several shops and markets in the town that offer a variety of unique and locally made items.
Planning your trip to Mae Sariang
When planning your trip to Mae Sariang, it’s important to consider a few key factors to ensure that you make the most of your visit.
Time of year
Mae Sariang has a tropical climate, with hot and humid weather throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the cool season, from November to February, when temperatures are more comfortable and the skies are clear. However, it’s also worth noting that the monsoon season, which runs from June to October, can bring heavy rains and flooding to the area.
As mentioned earlier, Mae Sariang is easily accessible by bus or car from major cities such as Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. It’s also a popular stop on the Mae Hong Son Loop, making it a convenient destination for those traveling by motorbike or car. If you plan to rent a motorbike, it is important to have a valid license, as well as experience driving on winding mountain roads.
Rooms for Rent
When it comes to accommodation, Mae Sariang offers a variety of options to suit all types of travelers, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. It’s best to book in advance, especially during peak season, to ensure that you get a room that meets your needs and budget.
Mae Sariang is generally a safe destination for travelers, however, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. When trekking or visiting remote areas, it’s important to go with a guide and let someone know your itinerary. Also, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria.
Additional tips for visiting Mae Sariang
- Pack accordingly: Mae Sariang is a small town, so you won’t find many large stores or big brands. Make sure to bring necessary items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and appropriate clothing for outdoor activities.
- Learn a few words in Thai: Knowing a few basic phrases in Thai can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and make your trip more enjoyable.
- Respect local customs: Mae Sariang is a traditional town, and it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly when visiting temples and being mindful of local etiquette.
- Be open to new experiences: Mae Sariang offers a unique blend of nature, culture, and adventure. Be open to trying new things, whether it’s trying a new dish or taking a motorbike tour, it will make your trip more memorable.
- Bring cash: While some places in Mae Sariang accept credit cards, many do not. It’s best to bring enough cash for your expenses during the trip.
- Be mindful of the environment: Mae Sariang is home to beautiful natural landscapes, it is important to be mindful of the environment and avoid littering or disturbing wildlife.
Mae Sariang is a hidden gem in Northern Thailand, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, rich culture and a variety of activities and experiences. With proper planning and being mindful of local customs, visitors can have an unforgettable experience. From trekking and visiting waterfalls, to yoga and meditation, cooking classes, shopping, and learning about the local culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Mae Sariang. So pack your bags, brush up on your Thai and head to Mae Sariang for an incredible journey.