Mae Hong Son: We risked Malaria for this!?

We didn’t throw up on the bus to Mae Hong Son!

Soooo. We’ve been following this route called the Banana Pancake Route. It’s the route that most backpackers take through SE Asia. Well, Aspen and I decided that we wanted to go off the beaten path for two days and headed up to a small town called Mae Hong Son. Mae Hong Son is almost at the border to Myanmar (Burma) and so the culture is supposed to be Thai mixed with Burmese. First things first, just getting there is an adventure. It’s a 6+ hour bus ride through the windiest road ever created. It’s so windy, it really makes no sense — you turn one way to immediately turn 180 degrees back the way you just came. The whole ride was like this. So naturally it, and the road to Pai, is notorious for making people sick – Thai and foreigns alike. Our Thai Grandma told us not to eat anything before we left, take medicine for motion sickness and bring a barf bag. Our bus driver actually handed out barf bags when we got onto the bus.

Thanks to my motion sickness medicine I spent most of the time sleeping. The turns were crazy, but our driver was pretty mellow compared to most so if I kept my eyes closed I could just sway along. One little kid did get sick though 😿.

After 6+ hours we get to Mae Hong Son and SURPRISE! Everything is outside of the town and we can’t do anything without a scooter. As I’ve said before, the whole scooter thing is really very annoying. So the low down on the scooters is, a lot of people ride them. Really most backpackers rent a scooter for the day and head off to see different sights. I’m sure you’re thinking “wow! That’s so crazy that everyone knows how to ride a scooter!”. They don’t. They crash a lot, we’ve seen lots of backpacker covered in bandages, but they rent them (and tell everyone to rent them, they’re easy) anyways. Apart from not knowing how to drive a scooter, Thailand driving on the other side of the road, and people driving like maniacs, it’s technically illegal for a foreigner to drive a scooter without a international license which again, no one has. So they get pulled over and tickets, but the real issue is, it being illegal, if there is an accident it’s not covered by insurance. YIKES. So yeah, Aspen and I are stirring clear. It really is annoying, but mostly do able.


Seriously could go nowhere. So we spent two days trying to learn how to just do nothing. We learned a lot of card games, planned some of our trip, hung out in a cafe, ate 7/11 dinners (sounds gross but 7/11 is the best) and watched really bad Thai tv. There was also a point where our electricity kept going out because of a storm.

Omg the Thai tv was so bad and hysterical. Everything was green-screened and the acting was atrocious. Their mouths didn’t even line up with the words.

Eating ice cream because we didn’t have anything else to do

We also visited temples (there are two in Mae Hong Son) and hiked to the temple on the hill to watch the sunset. One great thing about being in a small town, in the middle of nowhere, is that no one is at the temples!

After two days we were so very ready to go to Pai.

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  1. Sounds like you got some good down time. If I was there I’d ride you around on my scooter. You and Aspen and the grandma all on one scooter! And me driving of course

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