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Mae Hong Son Travel Blog

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I remember discussing my forthcoming trip with some of my internet buddies on the Lonely Planet forum. They're a well-travelled lot on there, as you might expect; most of them (it seemed to me at the time) could zip round south-east Asia three times before breakfast. I remember one of them reckoned he could 'do' my route in three weeks; what on earth would I be doing with my time? "Do it slower," I said.

This is how slowly I travelled in south-east Asia. Day one: arrived on a bus that took me across beautiful forested mountains. Spent the journey reading Dracula, of all things. Mae Hong Son was a peaceful little town with a lake as its centrepiece, and I got a room with a mattress on the floor in a guesthouse by the lake, on my first attempt. Strolled around the night market, had a couple of beers, had a pizza. Went to a bar that the LP reckoned was a good place to drink and socialise after ten o'clock; there were five people at the bar, and four around a table twenty yards away. Stood at the bar, watched Tottenham play Pompey and talked to a guy from the south of England. The most cultural thing I did all evening was have ice in my Beer Chang.

Day two. Got up late, went online, had lunch overlooking the lake, talked to the southerner from yesterday. He told me he'd just been out to the airport to see about flights to Chiang Mai, that it was interesting and that I should do it. So I walked out to the airport, a tiny little place about the size of Digbeth coach station. He was right, it was interesting. Sat on the grass outside, watched a plane come in. Spent the evening at the same bar as yesterday.

Day three, got up early. The LP recommends a trip up the hill to the wat overlooking the town. A hot and sweaty climb got me to the top from which I watched the Mae Hong Son emerge from the morning fog. Back in town, the southerner - I never did get his name - informed me that I'd gone up the boring way. Took the road, should have taken the steps. So, after asking about a trek at a couple of LP-recomended agencies - nothing doing - I went back up the hill, taking the steps this time. Watched a plane come into the airport from a viewpoint half-way up. I'm a sucker for watching planes. Spent the evening in the same bar as the last two nights.

Day four, move on.
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Mae Hong Son
photo by: Stevie_Wes