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Introducing Mae Hong Son

With its remote setting and surrounding mountains, Mae Hong Son fits many travellers' preconceived notion of how a northern Thai city should be. A palpable Burmese influence and a border-town feel don't clash with this image, and best of all, there's hardly a túk-túk or tout to be seen. This doesn't mean Mae Hong Son is uncharted territory – tour groups have been coming here for years – but the city's potential as a base for activities, from spa treatment to trekking, ensures that your visit can be quite unlike anyone else's.

Mae Hong Son is best visited between November and February when the town is at its coolest and most beautiful. During the rainy season (June to October), travel to the more remote corners of the province can be difficult because there are few paved roads. During the hot season (approximately February to May), the Mae Nam Pai valley fills with smoke from swidden agriculture. The only problem with going in the cool season is that the nights are downright cold – you'll need at least one sweater and a thick pair of socks for mornings and evenings.