Mae Sariang is a town in Mae Hong Son Province, Northern Thailand. Located near the Myanmar border, the town is slowly becoming popular with those wanting to trek away from the crowds of Pai and Chiang Mai.
Regardless of its location at a traveller's crossroads, Mae Sariang remains a very sleepy untouristed affair. It sits on the eastern bank of the Yuam River and does more business as a small trading outpost than as a trekking centre (despite the desires of some resident entrepreneurs who dream of it as being Thailand's next Chiang Mai).
Smuggling aside, Mae Sariang has a fair degree of charm in its own right -- there's lots of wooden buildings, a handful of Burmese-influenced wats, an interesting market, and, well a great glimpse of untouristed Thailand.
There are Lawa and Karen hilltribe villages where you can stay overnight at a homestay. From Mae Sariang it is a very scenic drive along winding roads up to the mountains which are 1,200m above sea level. With stunning vistas along the way and views of rolling mountains and paddy fields. These villages are not well known about so it is an authentic experience of Karen and Lawa hilltribe culture. The homestay is with hilltribe families in their traditional wooden/bamboo stilt houses, conditions are basic but it offers a genuine insight into how they live.
There's more to do than trekking. Head out to Mae Sam Laep and do a rafting trip on the river and pick up some cheap Burmese prayer beads while you're at it, hang out on your guesthouse veranda watching the river slide by.
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