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People and Nature Mae Hong Son in 8 or more days (whole year)

During this trip you will communicate with people of different races: Karen, Indian, Bamar, northern Thais, Shan, etc. You will see their houses, shops, restaurants, trade, some remaining tradition and culture and crafts, and products. As well there are breath taking scenes of the Salawin (Salaween or Thanlwin) river flowing in the deep valley of steep mountains, the national parks and things that make them unique. This program is good for 2 to 6 people.

Mae Sam Leab Day 1
Leave Chiang Mai in the morning in an air-con bus to Mae Sarieng - the district in the south of Mae Hong Son province. The bus ride will take about 4 hours. If you are of 4 to 6 people and coming together it is wise to rent a private van or truck.

From Mae Sarieng (Mae Sariang) take one hour ride on a local pick up truck to a small town: Mae Sam Leab (Mae Samleab) on the Salawin river bank. Accommodation is at the Salawin national park bungalows with basic facilities: bed rooms, bathrooms, piped water. Electricity is not yet 24 hours (2006), so we will have candals and torch lights. Alternatively home stay can be arranged at a local house.

We should arrive this small town on the river about noon or early afternoon because there are things to see and talk. After the lunch we will walk around the small town and see the people life. Thai, Shan, Karen, Indian, and others live there. Some people came here from Myanmar (Burma). We will also meet our boat man and discuss about next day plan.

Day 2 After the breakfast we will get into the long tail boat and travel against the current on the Salawin river to Tha Ta Fang. On our left side is Myanmar, and Thailand is on the right side. We are surrounded by high mountains in both countries covered with still healthy forest of both hardwood and soft wood trees.

Tha Ta Fang Karen village
Tha Ta Fang Karen village
The Salawin river
Salawin river

The national park keeps bungalows at their Tha Ta Fang station which is about 4 km from the Karen village. Overnight stay will be arranged at either park's bungalows or at a village house. Today we will do nature walking and communication with the Karen villagers.

Day 3
Starting from here we give you two options to follow: plan 1 is adventure, while plan 2 is more on culture.

adventure plan
Together with a park's ranger we will walk carrying all our supply of food, clothes, and gear for the three days and two nights walk to Mae Sarieng. We will mostly walk along the streams that flow down the mountain valleys to the Salawin. We will find dead wood to make fire to cook food. We will learn forest survival, and discover ourselves. Also we will take a lot of photos of plants, insects, landscape, and everything we like. Camping is in tents.

culture plan
We will use the boat for the trip down the Salawin river to Ban Sop Moei. On the way we will pass Mae Samleab where we may buy some food stuff. Ban Sop Moei village is close to the meeting of Salawin and Moei (Thaung Yin) river. After the river intersection if you go to the south Moei river will be the border line between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma). We will stay in a small guest house in Sop Moei - another Karen village.

Day 4
adventure plan
We continue trekking through the jungle. We will boil the canal water for drinking. We will pass the streams and climb up and down the mountain ridges many times. At the end of the day we will find a good place nearby the water source for camping.

Culture plan
After the breakfast and morning sightseeing of the Karen village we will get down to the boat again to continue our journey. We will go up the Moei river which flows down the hills in Umphang district of Tak province to finally drain into the Salawin. We still see the mountains and villages on both sides. Then we will arrive at another river meeting: Moei and Yuan river. Turning left and we continue upstream on Yuan river, now we are no longer on the border; both sides of the river belong to Thailand.

About noon we should arrive at Ban Tha Rua village where we will end our boat trip. Car road is available and hence we will continue in a pick up truck. Our boat man and his boat will go back to Mae Samleab. After a simple lunch we will ride a pick up truck to Sop Moei town where we will overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 5
adventure plan
Today is the last day of our trek and we will walk to the headquarters of Salasin national park. We will have a shower in the park's headquarters and have a rest to wait for the pick up truck to take us to Mae Hong Son town. Overnight in a resort.

Culture plan
Breakfast and we will explore the small morning market of the town. Then it is 4.5 hours drive in a pick up truck to Mae Hong Son town in the north. Overnight in a resort.

Day 6
Free day in Mae Hong Son town. Overnight in a resort.

Day 7
Free day in Mae Hong Son town. Overnight in a resort.

Day 8
Depart for Chiang Mai by bus or by flight. End of the trip.

Note: Around Mae Hong Son there are Karen villages, waterfalls, caves, rivers. We can go for a bamboo rafting, elephant ride, or even trekking and village home stay in a Karen or Lisu village. During the rainy season we can do white water rafting on the Pai river. We can also stay in Mae Surin waterfall national park for one or two nights. This trip can also starts from the north, Pai or Pang Mapha, and then to Mae Hong Son town and finally to Salawin river.

References www.ourweb.info/01/photos/thailand/015/: photos and information about a trip to Salawin area. A map is included on the last page.

Featured programs / People and Nature Mae Hong Son Back to programs list

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