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Ken & Si Si went to...Thailand!

Hello! Tell us a little bit about you and where you traveled to?


Hello, Everyone! We’re Ken and Si Si a.k.a. the Travel Senseis and we’d love to share one of our many adventures to Thailand with you!


We were lucky enough to recently explore Mae Hong Son! While not as well known as its more famous cousins like Phuket, Pattaya, or Chiang Mai, this off-the-beaten-path city is one you’ll want to add to your next trip to Thailand. We were fortunate enough to explore this charming city over 2 weeks this past January.


But before we get into that we’d like to tell our story, since it’s not a typical one.

We first met in 2019 while both living and working in Thailand. On our first date, neither of us spoke the other’s native language - English and Pwo Karen, respectively. Fortunately for us, due to both living and working in Thailand at that time, we could communicate fluently in Thai.


One thing led to another, and now we’re engaged and waiting to be together full-time in the U.S. After being together for a little over 4 years now, Si Si speaks near fluent English, while Ken still struggles with the basics of Pwo - but he's getting there!


While we’ve waited on immigration to come through for Si Si (who still lives in Thailand but is moving to the U.S. soon fingers crossed), we’ve been fortunate enough to explore many Thai cities every few months.


As with all of our trips as a long-distance couple, we planned this two-week excursion over many phone calls with a 12-hour time difference between us. And boy, was it worth it!


How great was the trip?


Though we saw many places on our adventure in Mae Hong Son, our top five highlights are below:


1) Ban Rak Thai - “Love Thai Village”’ has outstanding Yunnanese cuisine, tea, and the ability to capture a little bit of ancient China in Thailand.

2) Wat Phra That Don Kong Mu - Go here for the temples and bird’s eye views from the mountain temple overlooking Mae Hong Son.

3) Wat Chong Klang, Wat Chong Kham & Mae Hong Son Night Market - We loved the romantic views of the lake and the temples while we ate. The views were incredibly picturesque at night!

4) Luang Pala Coffee - We went here primarily to visit the renowned “Uncle Pala.” Still, we'd be remiss if we didn't highlight Pala’s outstanding self-made coffee and open-air coffee shop. A hidden garden area behind his shop is also great for taking pictures.

5) Su Tong Pae Bridge - The “Bridge of Faith and Success” is reportedly the longest bridge in Thailand! Local legend claims it will grant the wishes of those who cross it. We think you’ll love it whether your wishes are granted or not - we sure did!


How did you learn and prepare for this trip?


All right, we had a great time and recommend Mae Hong Son, but here are our lessons learned!

  • Take the flight from Suvarnabhumi International (BKK) to Mae Hong Son Airport (HGN) - If you don’t mind paying a little more and are flexible with dates, flying is the fastest way to get to Mae Hong Son. You’ll save a lot of time (and headaches from screaming babies) and will be able to maximize your travel in the area.

  • Book at least a one-night stay in Ban Rak Thai - We didn’t do this but wish we did! This charming little Chinese village has fantastic food, tea, and other hidden gems. When we visited, we regretted not booking an overnight stay to see the town longer.

  • Hire a driver, Rent a Car, or else be a fan of walking - We love walking places, but the tuk-tuks and standard ride-share services like Grab weren’t as prevalent in Mae Hong Son while we were there. So if you aren’t staying at a hotel close to the downtown area near the lake, keep this in mind.

  • Take as many photos as you can! - We wish we had taken more because the Mae Hong Son has incredible mountains, forest views, and incredible Burmese-style temples that you won’t find in other more common Thai tourist hot spots.

  • Have Fun! - As couples travel experts, we always recommend ensuring each partner has a good time. It is supposed to be a vacation, after all. Enjoy it!


How did you get there?


Getting to Mae Hong Son was a journey in and of itself! First, we took a 7-hour bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.


While it was inexpensive, we joked about how it was marketed as a “VIP” bus ride. Let’s just say the screaming baby and small seats on the ride-up didn’t fully sell us.


Ultimately we couldn’t complain due to the affordable price we scored through 12go Asia. At least our bank accounts were happy!

After arriving in Chiang Mai and spending a few nights, we took a roughly 4-hour private car ride, booked through Daytrip, along winding and mountainous roads to the enchanting town of Mae Hong Son.

So for those keeping tabs on how long it took us to get to Mae Hong Son:

  • Started in Bangkok, Thailand (add in flight time if you’re not based here)

  • Boarded a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (7 hours)

  • Took a car ride from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son (4 hours)


Where did you stay?


So when we travel, our go-to is usually a Marriott brand hotel. But since we couldn't find one in the area, we booked a junior suite at the Imperial Mae Hong Son Resort.


And let us tell you, it was perfect! The food was top-notch, too - we loved the breakfast and lunch offerings. Breakfast was also included, which made it that much better.


If you don't want to walk too much, you might want to get a driver because it takes around 20-30 mins to get to the central part of town from the resort. We loved our long walks, but if those aren't up your alley, you'd be better off in one of the more budget-friendly but closer downtown accommodations.

Where and what did you eat?


For a romantic dinner with a view of the lake, we always ended our nights at one of Mae Hong Son Night Market's many restaurants. We highly recommend the Good View Restaurant, which offers fantastic views of the night market and the lake, provided you get a table on the second floor. It fills up quickly in the evenings, so get there early. If you're up for a little drive, make your way to Ban Rak Thai, where you'll find Lee Wine Ruk Thai restaurant, approximately an hour away. Here, you can enjoy some unique Yunnan-style Chinese cuisine while enjoying stunning views.


Where can we go to connect with you?

 

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Catch you next time. Happy travels!

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