Far from the busy northern hub of Chiang Mai, at the end of a rather uncomfortable (but spectacular) bus journey, Mae Hong Son is a smallish town in the far west of Thailand. Although the centre itself is nice enough – it has a cute market and some nice temples, particularly when seen at night from across the small lake – most people come here to see the surrounding area, not the town itself. Joining a boat trip into Tham Lod cave is probably the most popular attraction in the area, and it’s worth doing. There’s also some nice hikes in the nearby mountains, but the tracks aren’t usually clear, so use a guide. You won’t see much in the way of large wildlife though: poaching is unfortunately very common here. The various hill tribe villages are popular trekking destinations, but there are several Karen “long-neck” villages nearby that are easily reached by motorbike – decide for yourself whether you’re comfortable visiting one of these, as they are generally seen to be a bit controversial. Further into the mountains, the picturesque Chinese village of Rak Thai near the border to Myanmar is colourful and lively, although there isn’t much to do here. On your way back you can also visit the mud spa at Phu Kion, which local Thais seem to love – and okay, it was pretty fun!