Mae Hong Son Province

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Mae Hong Son
แม่ฮ่องสอน
Province
Official seal of Mae Hong Son
Seal
Map of Thailand highlighting Mae Hong Son Province
Map of Thailand highlighting Mae Hong Son Province
Country  Thailand
Capital Mae Hong Son
Government
 • Governor Kamthon Thawonsathit (since October 2009)
Area
 • Total 12,681.3 km2 (4,896.3 sq mi)
Area rank Ranked 8th
Population (2011)
 • Total 244,048
 • Rank Ranked 72nd
 • Density 19/km2 (50/sq mi)
 • Density rank Ranked 76th
HDI
 • HDI (2009) 0.704 (medium) (64th)
Time zone Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)
Area code(s) 053
ISO 3166 code TH-58
Vehicle registration แม่ฮ่องสอน

Mae Hong Son Province (Thai: แม่ฮ่องสอน, pronounced [mɛ̂ː hɔ̂ŋ sɔ̌ːn]; formerly called Mae Rong Son), also spelled Maehongson, Mae Hong Sorn or Maehongsorn, is one of the northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, located along the country's western border. Neighboring provinces are (clockwise from north) Shan State of Myanmar, Chiang Mai and Tak. To the west, the province borders Kayin State and Kayah State of Myanmar.

The name Mae Hong Son means "The City of Three Mists". It is hemmed in by the high mountain ranges of the Shan Hills and is the most mountainous province in Thailand and is composed of 13,814 square kilometres (5,334 sq mi). The province is covered with mist throughout the year and its terrain is highly suitable for the training of elephants.

Location and boundaries[edit]

The Salween river at Mae Sam Laep, Amphoe Sop Moei. Left is Myanmar.

Mae Hong Son Province is situated approximately 924 kilometres (574 mi) north of Thailand's capital city Bangkok. To the north and west it connects to a total of three states in the Union of Burma, namely the southern portion of Shan State, Kayah State and Kawthoolei State, via the West Thanon Thongchai Mountains, and the rivers Salween and Moei—these formations serve as natural boundaries between the countries. To the south, it connects to the district of Tha Song Yang and Tak, via the rivers Yuam and Ngao, which serve as a provincial boundary. To the east it connects to the districts of Wiang Haeng, Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, Mae Chaem, Hot and Omkoi in Chiang Mai Province, via the Central and East sections of the Thanon Thongchai mountain ranges, which serve as a boundary line between the two provinces.

Every district in Mae Hong Son Province shares a common border—measuring approximately 483 kilometres in total length—with the Union of Burma. The common border consists of approximately 326 km (203 mi) is land and 157 km (98 mi) of rivers (not counting the Salween, 127 km (79 mi), and Moei, 30 km (19 mi)).

Geography[edit]

Most of the areas of Mae Hong Son Province are the complex mountain ranges of the Thai highlands, parts of which are still covered with rain forest. Of the approximately 6,976,650 rai of national forest reserves, it is estimated that 88.02% is pristine virgin forest.

The Daen Lao Range located on the northernmost portion of the province marks the northern boundary between Thailand and Burma, while the Dawna Range in the west serves as the boundary between Thailand and Burma. The Thanon Thongchai Range in the east of the province serves as the boundary between the provinces of Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai. The tallest point of the Province is Doi Mae Ya (ยอดเขาแม่ยะ), in the Pai District in the province's northeast, at 2,005 metres (6,578 ft) above sea level.

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Mae Hong Son (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.1
(86.2)
33.4
(92.1)
36.8
(98.2)
38.7
(101.7)
35.9
(96.6)
33.2
(91.8)
32.2
(90)
32.0
(89.6)
32.8
(91)
32.6
(90.7)
30.9
(87.6)
29.0
(84.2)
33.13
(91.64)
Average low °C (°F) 13.8
(56.8)
14.3
(57.7)
17.7
(63.9)
22.5
(72.5)
23.6
(74.5)
23.7
(74.7)
23.4
(74.1)
23.2
(73.8)
23.0
(73.4)
22.0
(71.6)
19.0
(66.2)
15.4
(59.7)
20.13
(68.24)
Rainfall mm (inches) 6.4
(0.252)
6.0
(0.236)
16.8
(0.661)
63.2
(2.488)
174.5
(6.87)
190.5
(7.5)
226.9
(8.933)
239.3
(9.421)
199.0
(7.835)
114.5
(4.508)
44.9
(1.768)
10.4
(0.409)
1,292.4
(50.881)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 1 1 1 5 17 22 25 26 20 13 5 2 138
 % humidity 75 65 55 55 71 80 82 83 83 81 80 78 74
Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981–2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961–1990)

Demographics[edit]

The population in the province consists of hill tribes members (63%), including the Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha, Karen and the Shan. The province has the lowest population density of all the provinces of Thailand.

Symbols[edit]

The provincial seal, Rup chang nai thong nam (รูปช้างในท้องน้ำ)—meaning "Image of an Elephant in a Body of Water"—is a reference to the training of wild elephants for battle and various types of animal labour. "Rup chang nai thong nam" was selected as the provincial seal because it refers to the origin of Mae Hong Son's founding, which began with Lord Kaeo of Ma being sent to capture elephants for the Lord of Chiang Mai (1825–1846). Once in Mae Hong Son, he gathered the scattered Shan settlements to establish two main villages—Ban Pang Mu and Ban Mae Hong Son—that would be ruled by their elected leaders.

The provincial tree is Millettia brandisiana, and the provincial flower is the tree marigold.

The official provincial slogan promoted by the Thai government is:

Thai: หมอกสามฤดู กองมูเสียดฟ้า ป่าเขียวขจี ผู้คนดี ประเพณีงาม ลือนามถิ่นบัวตอง
RTGS: mok sam ruedu, Kong Mu siat fa, pa khiao khachi, phu khon di, prapheni ngam, lue nam thin bua tong
Mists throughout the three seasons, the Kong Mu (Monastery) that scrapes the sky, verdant forests, gentle people, beautiful customs; renowned land of sunflowers

Administrative divisions[edit]

Map of Amphoe

The province is subdivided in 7 districts (amphoe). These are further subdivided into 45 subdistricts (tambon) and 402 villages (muban).

  1. Mae Hong Son
  2. Khun Yuam
  3. Pai
  4. Mae Sariang
  1. Mae La Noi
  2. Sop Moei
  3. Pangmapha

Transportation[edit]

Both Mae Hong Son Town and Pai District are connected with flights to and from neighboring Chiang Mai. The preferred mode of travel around the province is motorbike. Walking is the only travel option in the remote areas of the province.

Tourism[edit]

Tourists are attracted to the area due to its forests, mountains, valleys, indigenous wildlife and hill tribes.

Sights and attractions[edit]

Wat Chong Kham
  • Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu (วัดพระธาตุดอยกองมู) - a temple erected by the first governor of Mae Hong Son, which reflects a strong Burmese influence.
  • Tham Pla–Namtok Pha Suea National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติถ้ำปลา-ผาเสื่อ)
  • Tham Pla (ถ้ำปลา)
  • Namtok Pha Suea (น้ำตกผาเสื่อ) waterfall
  • Ban Rak Thai (บ้านรักไทย) village
  • Wat Nam Hoo (วัดน้ำฮู) temple
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติห้วยน้ำดัง)
  • Bua Tong Fields at Doi Mae U-Kho (ทุ่งดอกบัวตองดอยแม่อูคอ)
  • Namtok Mae Surin National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติน้ำตกแม่สุรินทร์)
  • Wat Chong Kham (วัดจองคำ) temple
  • Phu Klon Country Club

Local products[edit]

Mae Hong Son is suitable for tea-growing and the main area of tea plantations is Ban Rak Thai, a village near the border between Thailand and Burma.

The traditional headgear called "Kup", worn by the Thai Yai, is popular among visitors. Centers in the province sell a variety of handmade products, from woven fabric to wickerware.

Local culture[edit]

Culture and lifestyle[edit]

  • Thai Yai (Shan)

The Thai Yai reside along the northern border with Burma.

  • Karen people

The Karen themselves are not one single group, but rather a mix of closely related tribes. Padaung is a Karen language from the Shan State and the Kayah State. Among the smallest of the Karen tribes in Thailand are Kayan Lahwi—this group's women are strikingly recognized for the large brass rings they wear around their necks for the purpose of lengthening.

Events and festivals[edit]

  • Poi Sang Long Procession (งานประเพณีปอยส่างลอง)
  • Chong Phara Procession (งานประเพณีจองพารา)
  • Bua Tong Blossom Festival (งานวันดอกบัวตองบาน)
  • Loi Krathong Festival (ประเพณีลอยกระทง หรือ งานเหลินสิบสอง)

Local food[edit]

Kaeng om, with chicken
Nam phrik num

Typical northern food consists of:

  • Nam phrik ong - a type of Nam phrik chili paste that is made of minced pork and tomatoes. It is usually eaten with soft-boiled vegetables, pork crackling or deep-fried crunchy rice cakes.
  • Nam phrik num - another kind of paste that is popular in the north and eaten by Thais of all regions. It is often eaten with pork crackling.
  • Sai ua - a local sausage that is very aromatic and spicy, and usually is eaten with sticky rice.
  • Kaeng - a Thai curry
    • Kaeng Hang-Le - a northern-style pork curry.
    • Kaeng Om - a spicy curry consisting of intestines.
    • Kaeng khae - a spicy curry consisting of vegetables.
  • Khanom Chin Nam ngiao - a traditional northern noodle dish made with chicken.
  • Khao Soi - a popular noodle dish that can be made from chicken, pork or beef. It contains coconut milk and is garnished with garlic.
  • Khao Som - cooked rice mixed with turmeric and tomato. Eaten with fried chilies and green peas.
  • Khao Lhueng - cooked rice mixed with turmeric. Made into a small ball and sprinkled with fried onion. It is usually eaten with pork balls.
  • Khaow Kan Chin - cooked rice mixed with the blood of fowls and steamed with fried onion. It is eaten with fried chilies.
  • Tua Pae Yee - a dipped fried soybean
  • Tau Pae Lau - a fried soybean with salt.
  • Souy Tamin - a dessert, made of sticky rice, coconut milk and sugarcane sugar.

Further reading[edit]

  • 'A Season in Mae Hong Son', in: Forbes, Andrew, and Henley, David, Ancient Chiang Mai Volume 3. Chiang Mai, Cognoscenti Books, 2012. ASIN: B006IN1RNW
  • Goodden, Christian. Hinterlands: Sixteen New Do-It-Yourself Jungle Treks in Thailand's Nan & Mae Hong Son Provinces. Halesworth, England: Jungle Books, 2001. ISBN 0-9527383-3-3

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 19°17′17″N 97°57′52″E / 19.28806°N 97.96444°E / 19.28806; 97.96444