Monday, 25 April 2016

mae hong son side trip: reflections at mae aw / ban rak thai

Mae Aw, also known as Ban Rak Thai, which literally means "Love Thai village" or "Thai-loving village".

We were purchasing drinks in a convenience store in Mae Hong Son town - I think a 7-Eleven - when, to our surprise and delight, we bumped into another couple that we recognised from our stay in our previous destination, Soppong, when we happened to have dinner at the same restaurant. Don't you just love cute coincidences like this?

We got to chatting, and they asked us if we'd been to Mae Aw, otherwise known as Ban Rak Thai. I said not yet, but that we were considering it. They gushed over how beautiful it is, and highly recommended that we check it out. So, we did!

The lakeside scenery at Mae Aw / Ban Rak Thai.

The trip from Mae Hong Son to Mae Aw took over an hour on a scooter, and by the time we got there, we were ready to find a place to eat. There weren't that many choices around, so we quickly decided on a restaurant near the central lake area. Mae Aw has a similar history to Mae Salong - the Chinese influence here is palpable, thanks to the settlement of Kuomintang soldier refugees from Yunnan back in the day. Therefore, the Chinese tea setting on our restaurant table came as no surprise.

Chinese tea on offer at a restaurant in Mae Aw / Ban Rak Thai.

I also had a refreshing mulberry drink.

Mulberry juice drink by a company called Paiberries.

We kept our lunch simple - a whole deep-fried fish, and rice to go with it.

Lunch at a restaurant in Mae Aw / Ban Rak Thai.

After our meal, we took a stroll by the lake. I think we got lucky with the weather that day - it was fairly calm, cloudy yet not gloomy, and the village reflections upon the lake were just so pretty.

Beautiful reflections at the Ban Rak Thai lake.

I think this is some kind of rustic, manually operated Ferris wheel. Now that I look at my pictures, I sort of wish that I had sat on it and asked Simon to push it into motion, and I don't know why I didn't think of it then. Speaking of which, does travel insurance cover for makeshift Ferris wheel escapades gone wrong?

A small wooden Ferris wheel at Mae Aw / Ban Rak Thai.

We also took a ride around the village area on our scooter. We went far enough that we reached the Thailand-Myanmar border, where there were guards hanging around the periphery of the forest. It was a little bit intimidating, but they seemed friendly - we nodded and smiled at each other, and all was fine. There wasn't really much to see, but it was kind of cool to peer over and know that we were right at the edge of the two countries.

Mae Aw village - so much green!

We briefly entertained the idea of staying at one of the guesthouses in Mae Aw, but we decided that we were satisfied with just a day trip. So once we had enough of the exploring and sightseeing, we headed back to Mae Hong Son town.

On our way back, we stopped at a rustic petrol station to fuel up our scooter.

A petrol station of the rustic variety that one might find while travelling in Thailand.

We also stopped by Pha Sua waterfall, since it was somewhat along the way. It was quite lovely.

Pha Sua waterfall.

If you're into quiet places with attractive scenery, and you have a spare morning or afternoon to hang out at Mae Aw, this serene little village is worth a visit. If you've already been to Mae Aw, and especially if you stayed the night, feel free to let me know what you thought of it!


  1. I love meeting people when travelling. I always believe 'coincidences' are meant to be and I think this one is obvious!

    1. It was a delightful coincidence indeed! I agree, it's always fun to meet people on the road and share experiences and have a good chat. :)


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