Mae Hong Son Loop
Mae Hong Son Loop
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

194 reviews
Very good

Dewi B
12 contributions
Dec 2022 • Solo
Currently on my last leg in Pai doing the MHS clockwise. I'm a novice on the scooter and although some of the bends can be dangerous, I found the loop to be pretty easy, this was my biggest concern before setting off.
If you're in Chiang Mai, I highly recommend doing the loop; the scenery, the stops, the ride, it's breathtaking!

I spent one night in Doi Inthanon at KowitFarmStay - 10/10. If nature is your thing and you want something special, head over here! Absolute bliss.

I spent 2 nights in Mae Hong Son City, the journey was 4 hours long but it was incredible.

I spent 2 nights in Pai, a little hippy town mostly consisting of Europeans. It's a quirky little place, nice to relax and chill.
I stayed at The Nest House - 10/10 again! Absolutely lovely place, you can chill on the balcony in the hammock or head into town which is a 5min walk.

Back down to Chiang Mai.
Written December 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pattaya, Thailand656 contributions
Nov 2021
I had heard about this amazing drive in Northern Thailand some time ago and had added it to my bucket list. With the easing of travel restrictions November seemed an ideal time to go with excellent weather and very few people travelling.

The Mae Hong Son Loop is a route that starts and ends in Chiang Mai. It travels through a total of 1,864 curves along it’s 650 km length. Lauded as one of the best motorbiking routes almost all the information that I researched was for bike fans and I even started to wonder if it was also possible to travel by car! In fact these are normal, open roads that are open to any road user!

We started in mid November 2021 from Chiang Mai. The main road north, the 107 was actually quite busy but one we turned left onto the 1095 we left the weekend traffic behind. After a short ride through the valley floor, the road starts to climb and twist and this became the driving experience for the next 5 days. Narrow roads, lots of very tight corners, first climbing and then descending as we passed through numbers mountain ranges.

The first day is a good introduction as the corners become continuous but the road is of reasonable size and is in, generally, good condition. There are few viewpoints on this first section to take in the views and after approx. After 150 kms and 762 curves we arrived in Pai.

Pai is an amazing little town, located in a valley and surrounded by mountains. There are many places here for scenic photos and it is highly recommended to drive up to the Yun Lai Viewpoint twice! Its quite a steep drive through an interesting Chinese hill-town. Once at the top there is a large café where you can either come to take in the splendour of he valley or return in the early morning for the sunrise. Entrance charge is THB.20 and the view is spectacular.

Down-town Pai is a lively place with quite a choice of very well priced restaurants. On the day that we were there, the night market had just opened with some interesting hand craft. We stayed at the rather lovely Pai Iyara resort which offers bungalows with wonderful views over the rice fields. The bungalow was well equipped, comfortable and quiet. An excellent breakfast was included. LINK

The second day is when the amazing scenery really becomes apparent as one drives toward Mae Hong Song and there are many opportunities for some spectacular shots. We decided to leave the ‘main’ road and deviated to visit the Tham Nam Lod or the Nam Lot Cave. This is found down a small but beautiful road through rural settlements and lush forest. At our time of visit (Nov 21), only one of the 3 caves (total 1,666 meters) could be visited due to high water levels. The cave that we could visit was spectacular and hard to appreciate the size, splendour and the centuries that it had taken for the Stalagmites and Stalactites to form. On the most famous of the caves you take a bamboo raft through the cave.

Having returned to the main road another deviation was taken up the narrow and winding road to the Pang Mapha viewpoint and the un-forgettable Dekdoi Coffee at Ban Jabo. Located high on a ridge this wooden café offers the most amazing panoramas of the surrounding mountains. There are no seats, just a shelf for your coffee and your legs dangle above the trees way below you. They do serve food and their coffee is an excellent local Jabo blend.

Again returning to the main road we continued to Mae Hong Song(total about 150 kms) where we stayed at the lovely Jeerang Countryside resort.

Mae Hong Song located at 1,200 metres above sea level is a little disappointing after the atmosphere of Pai and did not really have much atmosphere. However in the morning we did visit the Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu temple above the city to see the two unique chedis of the temple and the Burmese style lion statues. It is an inspiring spot and the views over the city and it’s airport are spectacular. The Temple is also a revered place for motor cyclists from around the world. No driver whether it be by bike or car can leave Mae Hong Son without visiting the local Chamber of Commerce to collect your personal ‘Certificate of Conquest’ which commemorates to achievement of having conquered the 1,864 road curves

Leaving Mae Hong Song our first call was to the enchanting Su Thong Pae Bamboo Bridge. The bridge is entirely made of wood with a laced bamboo pathway. It crosses the rice fields to the Tham Poo Sa Ma temple. It is an idyllic place, we met just 2 other people here and the rice harvest was in full swing below us. Crossing the bridge we were blessed by 3 monks in their saffron robes crossing towards us. An incredible photo opportunity. The Temple is lovely to visit, relatively simple and sull of some interesting characters. There is a small café there and enjoying an espresso which bathing in the view is another wonderful experience.

Our voyage continued up the 4001 we climbed more hills and started driving though mountain plateaus. Again the rice harvest was in full swing adding small figures in the scenic rice fields. Our destination was Ban Rak Thai, an enchanted Chinese Village nestled around a lake at an elevation of 1,800 meters. It is very remote so few travellers make the journey, however if you don’t have a reservation you are unlikely to find accommodation as with so few rooms it sells out fast. We were extremely lucky to have secured a room due to a cancellation. There are two main hotels that dominate the village. Cottages are built in Chinese style up the hill and surrounded by tea plantations. It is a wonderful place to stay 1 night and the lake is an enjoyable stroll.

Returning from Ban Rak Thai we deviated into the Pang Tong High Land Royal Development Centre. Built to promote agriculture in the highlands it is a vast complex high in the jungle. There is no information available in English but it appears that you are free to drive everywhere which is how we did end up at the end of a road next to the past Kings mountain home(Pang Tong Palace) and walked across the helicopter landing pad. You may notice many wild looking Coffee plants here. These have a rather unique method of being harvested as the area is conservation area for the Asian Palm Civet. This breed picks and eats the ripest coffee beans which are then partially digested before being secreted. These are then collected, washed, and dried before they are roasted. To my great disappointment there was no opportunity to either taste or purchase this unique coffee!

Departing Mae Hong Song we again started our climb into the mountains. It’s a good road with some Viewpoints to stop and take photos. Our primary destination was the Tung Bua Tong Sunflower fields. You can read my full article here (LINK).

After a wonderful few hours amongst the Sunflowers, it was about a 3 hour drive to Mae Sairing for an overnight stay at the Mitaree Hotel.

Mae Sairing probably deserves a return visit. It is an interesting river side town with minimal tourist influence. Featuring many old teak dwellings. We were unlucky with our choice of breakfast cafés as all were either closed, being renovated or not serving food. So on with the journey.

Our plan for the final day on the Mae Hong Son loop was one final mountain road to Ban Mae Sam Laeb which is located on the Salween River. However the condition of the road was deteriorating fast and at just 17 kms short of our destination we decided that the road was not good and were forced to retreat our steps. However one is rewarded with a beautiful view of the River Yuam Valley as one descends.

To complete the Loop one has to continue through mountain roads as one continues to the interestingly name town of Hot! By this time we were quite exhausted with mountain travel and decided to leave Doi Intanon for another day and head back to Chiang Mai.

The Mae Hong Son loop is a fascinating journey and one that will leave lasting impressions and I would like to add some practical points. I have seen that very small motorbikes are offered for this drive. These are serious mountain roads with little facilities between the towns. Small motorbikes may sound fun but I would personally, not recommend. I am not a biker but I can see that this must be an amazing trip for enthustiasts. We made the loop by car, it was comfortable as we could transport all our luggage and rest when we wanted. If you are renting a car don’t rent the smallest, whilst it will probably make it up and down these curves it will be a struggle. Take a mid range car and automatic. An SUV is not really necessary.

Whilst there are regular filling stations on the towns that you visit, there is little in between. We used every opportunity to fill the tank and have the re-assurance that we could keep going.

Make some research before to start and highlight the main sights that you want to see. There are many deviations available and as all our mountain roads these will take time.

Finally coffee! I am a coffee fanatic and knowing that Chiang Rai is a major producer of high quality coffee I was excited to be able to sample good coffees on the road. Unfortunately, whilst there are many coffee shops, the majority are just paying ‘lip-sevice’ to high quality coffee. Whilst most of the coffee is local there is little knowledge of the blend or when it was roasted resulting in some very flat and stale espresso. Imagine my shock when one lovely coffee shop with a superb view was actually using cheap wholesale coffee from one of the major super market chains. The cake was excellent, the view superb but the coffee was awful!

Enjoy the Mae Hong Son loop, it is an amazing part of Thailand!
Written December 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sally Webb
1 contribution
Nov 2020 • Solo
Unless you want to waste an entire day trying to get Ban Rak Thai on the yellow songteaws don't bother. I have been sitting since 10am in front of the Van Rak Thai songteaw . First they said midday. There's no station just concrete bench on the road. Midday comes nothing 1pm nothing. 2 pm at last then they made 10 Stops around Mae Hong son before we even left the town. So it's now 3pm. Just get out of town oh no let's stop at the 7/1. I got and screamed into my bag. Absolutely no concept of time. I only have 2 days there and now I've just wasted one full day stuffing around. I'm furious and don't recommend taking these. Anything I'll hitchhike rather next time.
Written November 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Preston, UK46 contributions
May 2019 • Couples
We stayed in Mae Hong Song for a couple of nights when we was doing thees Mae Hong Song loop , beautiful town long neck Village nearby lovely temples 😁
Written April 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lerwick, UK32 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
I rode this route with Big Bike Tours based in Chiang Mai in 2017 and again February this year.
The roads are almost perfect but with a little resurfacing works going on after Mae Sariang. Amazing sections on the 108 & 1095 to Pai
This is one of the top ten riding roads in the world with bend (curve) after bend after bend, over 1800 in fact.
I loved it so much I just had to return and do it again.
The riadscare great, the scenery is to die for and loads of places to visit along the route. Waterfalls, temples, museums, etc.
Not for a total novice rider anyone who just rides straight roads all the time (most Americans....sorry)
Push the bike hard and power through the corners and you'll have the chicken strips melted away in no time!
All in all a fantastic ride and I'll do it again one day!
Stop dreaming and start riding the roads you always wanted 🙂
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eugene, OR86 contributions
Dec 2019
We hired a guide and a driver for our 5 day tour. So glad we did. We saw amazing villages, parks, geysers, waterfalls, caves, temples and more. The roads are windy and hilly. Signs are in Thai. I’m glad we didn’t try it on our own. The four of us loved the loop tour.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Singapore, Singapore44 contributions
Nov 2019
An excellent introduction to serious unsupported cycle touring in the mountains. The 10days 9 nites cycle route includes 8 days of back-to-back hard rides of between 70-130km of riding per day with between 1400-2200m of vertical climbing on some of the most beautiful mountain roads in the part of North Thailand. Starting and ending in Chiangmai, the 660km loop has a good range of great value for money accomodation (in Mae Cheam, Wat Kiew Lo, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Song, Soppong and Pai) and excellent asian Thai food along the entire way. Highly recommended.
Written December 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Our Cheap Travels
The Netherlands213 contributions
Jul 2019 • Couples
We started in Chiang Mai, then went to Pai, Mae Hong Son, Khun Yuam, Mae Chaem and finally back to Chiang Mai.

The scenery is insanely beautiful, especially Khun Yuan to Mae Chaem. Not a lot of hotel options here, so prepare yourself with

With our scooters (and backpacks) we drove around 560KM in 7 days. This includes three relaxing days in Pai. It takes quite a lot of time to get from A to B. Mostly double Google Maps said.

Do not rush the route. Take your time and appreciate the nature!
Written July 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Abhishek D
76 contributions
Mar 2019 • Solo
This is a very good route to cover in North Thailand. Excellent views and cities on the way, superb hosts
Written April 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chorley, United Kingdom95 contributions
Apr 2019 • Couples
You don't have to go on a tour if you are an experienced rider with the confidence to sort your own travel arrangements. The road signs are excellent, rented a Honda 500, bought a roadmap and used the phone (pillion with phone) to confirm our location, had a wonderful 3 day trip - wish we had 4 but it was a last minute squeeze and really too hot being April so short days for comfort. Also the burning season so we'll plan better next trip.
Some of the bends could catch you out if you aren't concentrating as you come around a blind bend with a 1 in 4 gradient, so much fun. If you have ever ridden "The Stelvio" or Alpine passes in Italy, this is similar but a two lane road (vehicles may come over to your lane on some bends so leave a margin for hazard avoidance). Road surface is excellent.
Day One - Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, there are plenty of coffee stops all the way to Pai which is a chilled out town we would have liked to stop in but had lunch and carried on past numerous view points (with toilets), caves and waterfalls signposted off the main road. In Mae Hong Son we stayed at Boondee House which had secure parking in a "backpacker" environment (ensuite aircon room for us) in a lovely town with restaurants and temples to visit.
Day Two - Mae Cheam, southbound to Khun Yuam with it's excellent Japanese Friendship Museum and turn for Hwy 1263 (signpost mentions Mae Suren Waterfall). This road's surface isn't as pristine as previous roads and a little extra caution for gravel and potholes is required but the bends just keep coming. Not as many facilities, best to fuel up in Khun Yuam. Our destination is "Hot Coffee B&B" just north of Mae Cheam on Hwy 1088, an ultimate chill-out forest location with cabins (no aircon available, have fans) on stilts looking out over the river with a lovely restaurant/terrace area. It cooled off at night so comfortable but bring mosquito coils and spray (beds have mosquito nets so sleeping is fine). Profits go to the Children's Home next door, bike was in a secure parking area.
Day 3 - Chiang Mai via Dol Inthanon - Hwy 1192 was definitely the most challenging due to slippery debris from overhanging trees on a slightly narrower road so lots of concentration and fingers crossed for good behaviour from on-coming traffic. For some reason we didn't have to pay the 300thb entrance fee to the Park as we joined after the entrance gate, the road up to the summit is great - fortunately it is the same route down and it was 16C at the top (lovely). Didn't bother with the twin pagodas but they do look rather wonderful. Back to Chiang Mai in the increasing heat, quite uncomfortable (definitely January next time as 40C is too hot).
Bike rental was 1400 thb per day, accommodation was 600 thb per night, mileage was only 350 (560 km) about right for us considering bends, surfaces and heat. We brought our tyre puncture kit just in case - why take a tour and be led about, just go and enjoy.
Written April 10, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 149

Mae Hong Son Loop - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go