Mae Hong Son,
Mae Hong Son on the Burmese border to the west is particularly
attractive. Known as The City of the Three Mists', it can be reached
in half an hour by plane, though those with the time may find driving
round on the excellent highway a good introduction to the forest-covered
mountains surrounding it. Home to most of Thailand's colourful hill-peoples
- the Pa Dong women with their elongated ringed necks the
most spectacularly different in appearance - it offers the adventurous
and energetic hot-springs, caves and waterfalls as near or farther
destinations. Rafting on the Pai River is particularly recommended.
But the small provincial town, with its morning markets and colourful
festivals - don't miss the ordination ceremony of young Shan men
into the monk hood - is a great place to lounge around, its temple
of Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu providing the optimum viewing point
for the minimum of effort.