Mae Aw Travel Guide

Situated on a mountain peak straddling the Thai-Burma border is the quaint town of Mae Aw. The distinct Chinese flavor of Mae Aw comes from the Chinese KMT who settled here decades ago.

If you want to push the limits of adventure on your trip to Thailand, make your way to Mae Aw. It’s a frontier town with an unmistakable Chinese influence just outside of Mae Hong Son. There’s little to do in Mae Aw except marvel at the ubiquitous Chinese signs and non-Thai residents.

A number of Shan, Hmong and Karen hill tribe villages dot the area, and make interesting day excursions. Having your own wheels is crucial up here, as transport is irregular and unreliable. Pha Sua Waterfall is a nice diversion, especially if it’s hot and you want to cool off in the pools.

Tham Pla National Park is also near Mae Aw. This unusual animist cave system is full of sacred carp that grow up to three feet long. The Pang Tong Summer Palace is another interesting site in the area.

Getting There & Away

Mae Hong Son is the nearest town to Mae Aw. Songtaew taxis make the trip between the two towns, but it’s advised to rent your own vehicle in Mae Hong Son and drive yourself to all the little attractions. The nearest airport is in Mae Hong Son and it receives daily flights from Chiang Mai.

Things to Do

Mae Aw Attractions

Pha Sua Waterfall

Though it rages in the rainy season, during the winter the lovely multi-tiered waterfall is a great picnic and swimming spot.

Tham Pla

This animist cave is sacred to locals, who feed the huge carp that you can glimpse swimming in the river within the cavern.