Mae Sariang (pop 5000) is sleepy provincial small town 100 kms from Hot via Highway 108 from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. Mae Sariang has many lovely old wooden shophouses and several delightful temples. Two of these local temples are well worth visiting due to their Burmese-style architecture. Wat Utthayarom, which dates from 1896, has three chedis, one of which has nine spires. The nearby Wat Boonruang is much more elaborately decorated, with the monk’s quarters being in a longhouse raised on stilts.
Highway 105 is an asphalt road that leads south from Mae Sariang, skirting the Burmese border all the way to Mae Sot. The option is to continue on to Tak and return via Sukhotai, making an interesting loop. The route is sometimes used by Chiang Mai expats seeking a more challenging border to cross for their visa runs. After the Mae Ngao National Park entrance, the road narrows and is quite rough in places, but still easily negotiated by a car even in Wet Season. On the descent out of the mountain ranges into the Moei valley, the road runs beside the Moei River for a long section – the river being the border between Thailand and Myanmar.
Highway 108 leads north to Mae Hong Son, the provincial capital, approx 170 kms away.
To the west, the border with Myanmar is the mighty Salween River, accessible via a 49km drive via Highway 1194. The small village of Ban Mae Sam Laeb perches on a ledge above the Salween. Long-tailed boat trips are available on the Salween, upstream some 150+ kms, and downstream to the Moei River confluence.
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