Rak Thai - Mae Aw - Mae Hong Son

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Rak Thai or Mae Aw is a Chinese KMT village north of Mae Hong Son & situated right on the border with Myanmar.
    At an altitude of 1,100 metres is always cool & pleasant with some stunning scenery & light for photography.

    And only 44 kms from MHS it is one side trip you should do from Mae Hong Son.

    There are 2 options or getting there
    1. The "long scenic way" via Kung Mai Sak = 44 kms
    2. The "fast highway" via R1095 & Mok Chom Pae = 43.5 kms
    The distance is the same, but the long scenic way has a nice start through the rural villages & the rice paddies

    GTR - IMG_5934B.JPG

    & then return via the "fast highway."

    Rak Thai / Mae Aw is on the GTR MHS Loop map here

    The elevation profile the long scenic way

    The elevation profile the fast highway

    The ascent from Pha Su waterfall is one of the steepest in the north.

    Rak Thai is nestled in a tight valley surrounded by rugged hills that form the border with Myanmar.
    GTR-Rak Thai Map006.jpg

    The road in a a tight twisting one Up & down the hills
    GTR - IMG_5939B.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6023.JPG
    GTR - IMG_5944.JPG
    GTR - IMG_5948.JPG

    Entering Rak Thai
    GTR - IMG_6019.JPG

    There are numerous tea shops & restaurants by the lake.
    GTR - IMG_5953.JPG

    GTR - IMG_5952.JPG

    Dried goat is an interesting item on the menu.
    GTR - IMG_5951.JPG

    Across the lake
    GTR - IMG_5966.JPG
    is the ridgeline & the watershed for the border.

    With a long lens you can see a camp belonging to the Shan on the burmese side of the border.
    GTR - IMG_5958.JPG
    GTR - IMG_5965.JPG

    Then to the right on a knoll is the Thai side
    GTR - IMG_5967.JPG
    all nice & cozy watching what goes on.

    In the village on the other side of the lake are several cheap guesthouses
    GTR - IMG_5987.JPG
    BUT the one to go for is the one with the view, right by the restaurants & up on the hill

    The views are stupendous
    GTR - IMG_6000B.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6005.JPG

    Your guesthouse rooms with a view
    GTR - IMG_6013.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6017B.JPG

    The guesthouse with the view is called
    Tel: 086 118 2067 & 085 719 9399
    Rooms are 800 baht a night in low season & 1,500 baht a night from the 1st November.
    Hit it soon before the price goes up.

    Rak Thai has featured on GTR may times before

    Wet season: pottering around the Mae Hong Son Loop

    The North West End Tours of Thailand, Part 01

    North Thailand Great Views 2010

    Puppies, Pandas, and Pumpkin soup. Wet season in the North.

    Tham Ngop and a MHS loop

    GT Rider on Destination Thailand TV

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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  3. Fishenough

    Fishenough Ol'Timer

    Huge thank you for this trip done memory lane and the beautiful pictures David!

    It was only our second year living in Chiang Mai, and our first for searching for a quieter escape from Songkran, after a day in Pai than one in Mae Hong Song my son and I , with a friends, detoured for our first trip to Mae Aw. Had a good laugh even before arriving when websites had described the ride there as long, which is laughable to a Canadian. What a quiet friendly time for that time of year. We made good friends with a family from Baise, that we still keep in touch with today, and were even lucky enough to meet up again in Mae Aw when my son's boy scout troop went camping in the area a couple years later.

    Best Regards,
    Moto-Rex likes this.
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    For the steepest road on the Mae Hong Son Loop, you can compare the Rak Thai road to the Meo Microwave road.

    The Rak Thai road

    The Meo Microwave road

    More on the Meo Microwave road here
    Mae Hong Son: the steepest road.
    scotty007 likes this.
  5. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Ol'Timer

    What a great photo. Its hard to beat riding in and around Mae Hong son.

    scotty007 likes this.
  6. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    The scenery is just beautiful at this time of year. But it is starting to change now. Getting the cool season foggy mornings up in the north of the north and the farmers are burning in the fruit tree orchards.
  7. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    If you're heading up to Rak Thai for the first time, you should be aware that it is a very steep sharp twisting climb up once you are past Pha Sua waterfall
    the first steep nasty corner is 1.5 kms before Pha Sua.
    Its a one off & "unnannounced."
    A ripper of a left hander, that catches many riders out.
    GPS Waypoint: N19 29.106 E97 57.754


    Here's how it looks in google earth
    the other sharp turns are more smooth & signposted.
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Pang Ung Royal project is another super popular Bangkok Thai tourist location in the area.
    There is a turn off to the left in the Hmong village of Na Pa Paek.
    It's only 6 kms but another tight steep snaking twister of a narrow concrete road.


    GTR-Pang Ung.jpg

    You end up in a Karen village, famous for it's coffee, lake & camping .



    From Pang Ung across to Rak Thai is an amazing 15 kms roller coaster ride


    Make sure you hit the both, but Rak Thai is the place to stay for a romantic night = take some company.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    GT Rider & Rak Thai with a drone

    TQ 2 weeks 1 drone

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