Mae La-Na Travel Guide

The tiny Shan village of Mae La-Na lies in between Mae Hong Son and Pai. It’s an ideal stopover if you want to experience the nearby Red and Black Lahu villages or go caving.

Some of the most beautiful scenery in this corner of northern Thailand is found around Mae La-Na. This peaceful town has a smattering of modest eateries, a school and a few homes. But it’s the Burmese Shan influence that makes it an interesting destination.

Most people come to Mae La-Na to trek deeper towards the Burmese border, where authentic Red and Black Lahu ethnic groups still live in their traditional way. It’s a remote, rugged and adventurous part of Thailand, but those seeking something way off the tourist trail should check it out.

Besides trekking, there are some excellent caves to explore in the area. Tham Mae La-Na is the largest and most famous of the local caves. A river runs 12kms through the cave, which is filled with dripping limestone formations. Other noteworthy caves include Coral Cave, Diamond Cave, Pearl Cave, and Broken Rice Cave, all of which are worth investigating.

Getting There & Away

Mae La-Na is in between Mae Hong Son and Pai, both of which have small airports that handle weekly flights. The only other way here is by road. Public buses from Chiang Mai are a slow but unique experience. Renting a car in Chiang Mai and driving the route yourself may be a more enjoyable time.

Things to Do

Mae La-na Attractions

Red and Black Lahu villages

Within easy walking distance from town are some traditional lahu villages that welcome visitors.

Tham Mae La-Na

This cave is the largest of the many limestone cave systems in the area and well worth the walk to get there.