By Vipasai Niyamabha
Could you please suggest an itinerary? I'm more into laid back activities than adventure, but don't mind trying something adventurous if it's interesting. Thanks a lot, Kimmie
The northern province of Mae Hong Son is in a mountainous valley and bordered by Myanmar. It has many districts, each with their own attractions. The most popular is probably Pai, which has a real laid back atmosphere. The district has long drawn western backpackers, and today it’s also very popular among Thai visitors. If you travel from Chiang Mai, Pai will be your first stop along highway 1095. The district town is quite compact and easy to get around on foot or bicycle. The Pai River runs through the town, several temples are located in the centre and visitors can enjoy Pai Canyon, hot spring and rafting along the river. It’s easy to spend time in Pai doing nothing except eat, drink and being happy. It also has a colourful shopping scene in the walking street every night. You could easily spend three nights here before going to Soppong.
Located in Pang Mapha district, the village of Soppong is 45 kms from Pai on the road to Mae Hong Son town. It’s a quiet place and is ideal for those who love rafting, hiking, caving and just being at one with Mother Nature. Accommodation is limited and most people visit on a day trip from Pai. If you don't like adventure, I’d suggest spending one night there just to experience the town, and maybe take a bamboo raft into a cave. From there you head to Mae Hong Son, maybe for two to three nights. This is a pleasant town with ethnic Tai Yai culture in every corner. You can either choose to fly back to Chiang Mai or do the complete Mae Hong Son loop by travelling via Khun Yuam and Mae Sa Riang district towards Chiang Mai. Bon voyage!
Can I buy a SIM card and Internet package for my phone for a month while travelling in Thailand? What kind of documents do I have to present other than a passport? Thank you in advance for your reply, Jing
Yes, you can. Actually you can get a free SIM card at the airport and then purchases an Internet package from one of the three mobile operators in Suvarnabhumi Airport’s Arrival Hall. The three are AIS, DTAC and TrueMove.
You just have to make sure your phone is unlocked and able to accept a Thai SIM. If you don't get a SIM card from the airport, it's still very easy to buy a pre-paid SIM from any 7-Eleven convenience store all over the country. You don't have to present any documents to get a SIM. If you go to one of the operator’s shops, you may be asked for your passport, but not at 7-Eleven stores.
Many phone carriers today offer time-based Internet packages that allow you to use 3G/EDGE in Thailand. You will be asked how long you are staying and then the service provider will offer a package that’s suitable for your stay. Don't feel you have to take a package on the spot: you can take a free SIM card and top-up for a data plan as you go. Hope this helps!