MAE HONG SON is nestled in a deep valley hemmed in by high mountain ranges, Mae Hong Son has long been isolated from the outside world. Virtually covered with mist throughout the year, the name refers to the fact that is terrain is highly suitable for the training of elephants.
Former governors of Chiang Mai used to organise the rounding up of wild elephants which were then trained before being sent to the capital for work. Today, Mae Hong Son is one of the dream destinations for visitors. Daily flights into its small airport bring growing numbers of tourists, attracted by the spectacular scenery, numerous hilltribe communities and soft adventure opportunities.
THAI YAI CULTURE
The Thai Yai can be seen along the northern border with Myanmar. They may at one time have been the most numerous of the ethnic Thai tribes that stretch across Southeast Asia. A large group settled in Mae Hong Son.
The Thai Yai culture has had a strong influence on the province, as can be seen in its architecture. Although a part of the Lanna region, the indigenous Thai Yai people living in Mae Hong Son are faced with very cold weather during winter and extremely hot weather in the summer, with mist or fog practically throughout the whole year. Not surprisingly they have had to adapt to the environment.
As a result, their architectural style has developed into something different from other Lanna communities. Their living quarters are usually built with tall floors and low roofs, the sizes differing according to ones social status and position. Homes of the ordinary folks are usually with one single level of roof, while those of the local aristocrats have two or more levels forming a castle-like shape. The space thus provided is believed to help air circulation. An interesting feature of the Thai Yai style is the perforated designs along the eaves which are an architectural identity of the area.
Mae Hong Son Thailand
Mae Hong Son Attractions
Mae Hong Son Art, Culture & Heritage
|Phraya Singhanatracha Memorial :
Situated at the foot of Doi Kong Mu, this monument commemorates the first governor of Mae Hong Son. Phraya Singhanatracha is a Thai Yai native from Burma (Myanmar). He was regarded by the people as the governor of Khun Yuam Town, which was to the south of Mae Hong Son. Later, he was officially installed as the governor of Mae Hong Son by the King of Lanna in 1874.
Mae Hong Son Places of Worship
|Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu :
Erected by the first governor of Mae Hong Son, this temple reflects the strong influence of the Burmese. The highlights of this attraction are the two lavishly decorated pagodas. Also, this hilltop temple affords an exceptional aerial view of the city and surrounding mountains and valleys.
|Wat Phra Non :
This temple at the foot of Doi Kong Mu houses a 12-metre long reclining Buddha image in the Thai Yai style. The image was cast in 1875 by Phranang Miah, the wife of Phraya Singhanatracha. Another main feature of the temple is the two large sculpted lions lying side by side, presumably providing the passage for those going up to pay homage to the Holy Relic on the hill.
|Wat Kam Ko :Opposite Wat Phra Non, Wat Kam Ko is a Burmese-style temple built in 1890. A special architectural feature is the cover over the passageway from the entrance arch to the chapel. It also stores text in Thai Yai script chronicling the Thai Yai history.
|Wat Chong Kham :
This is an old temple on the bank of the swamp Nong Chong Kham. It was built in 1827 by Thai Yai artisans. The pillars are gilded in golden flakes. The temple houses a large Buddha statue with a lap width of 4.85 metres cast by Burmese craftsmen. Another statue is a replica of the Buddha image in Wat Suthat in Bangkok.
|Wat Chong Klang : Next to Wat Chong Kham is Wat Chong Klang where a replica of the Phra Phuttha Sihing is installed on an altar. There are several interesting items such as wooden figurines of human and animals depicted in the Phra Vejsandon Jakata (pronounced Cha-dok which means one of odd stories of former incarnations of the Buddha) created by Burmese craftsmen and brought over in 1857, painting on glass about the Jakata and on Prince Siddhartha, as well as on the ways of life of the time. The captions are in Burmese. There are also notations that the paintings were by Thai Yai artisans from Mandalay.
|Wat To Phae :
This temple is located 7 kilometres from Khun Yuam having a large beautiful Burmese style Viharn. According to the legend, it is said that raft assembling people used to gather up in this area prior to making a teak trees raft trip to the marketing places.
|Wat Kittiwong : This temple enshrines Lord Buddhas’ relics brought from Chiang Mai. The door and window of the chapel are decorated with beautiful stucco designs.
|Wat Hua Wiang :
Another name is Wat Klang Mueang. This temple is on Sihanatbamrung Road next to the morning market. Built in 1863, the temple houses the Phra Chao Pharalakhaeng, a Buddha statue dressed in beautiful attire. It is a replica of a major statue in Mandalay, Myanmar.
|Wat Chomthong : 1 kilometres up to a hill near Mae Sariang district, this temple enshrines a huge Buddha image and overlooks the beautiful scenery of Mae Sariang.