Mae Hong Son Loop, the 7th Day: Drive To Chiang Mai & Night Market
From Pai, we’ll drive back to Chiang Mai, where we started this Mae Hong Son Loop itinerary. The last stretch of driving your motorbike is here, so enjoy it while you still can. One thing is for sure, the infamous 762 turns between Pai and Chiang Mai make for a wonderful trip. The road is about 130 km, but it is advisable to plan the entire day to drive to Chiang Mai. Some people might say this road is dangerous, but you will be fine as long as you drive mindfully. Moreover, there are some activities you might find interesting on the road to Chiang Mai, as you can see on the Mae Hong Son Loop map.
Pong Duet Geyser & Mork Fa Waterfall
Firstly, stop at the Pong Duet geyser, which is part of the Huai Nam Dang National Park. The geyser is the main attraction here. However, you can also visit a nature trail and a hot spring on the spot. Secondly, explore the Mork Fa waterfall. This waterfall is quite spectacular and can provide you with a nice swim to cool off (keep in mind that this may not be the case in the dry season).
Pro Tip ➳ In this guide, we have detailed a ton of cool places to visit, but of course, you need to do what feels good to you. Add locations to the Mae Hong Son Loop map, skip some, or even do the route visa versa, as long as you do you. See this guide as a source of inspiration❤️.
Drop Your Motorbike At The Rental
When you arrive in Chiang Mai, drop your bags at your hotel and drive to the motorbike rental to hand in your bike. Make sure you take everything out of the seat pocket (especially your international drivers’ license) before handing the bike in. At the motorbike rental, they will check the motorbike for damages, and when everything is alright, you will get your deposit and a copy of your passport back. Afterward, go to your hotel to relax and dip in the pool or walk around town.
Go For A Street Food Meal
In the evening I recommend you to go for a delicious street food meal. All over old town Chiang Mai, you will come across street food stands in the evening, all serving their own specialty. Next to Tha Phae Gate, there is a little market area filled with tables and food stands. Everyone was trying out the food, and the most delicious smells were flying around you. So fun to eat there!! And crazy cheap. Which makes the food taste even better, right?!
Explore The Night Market
When your bellies are filled with Thai food, explore the night market, and do a little shopping. The night market is a huge flea market where tons of people sell their souvenirs and little trinkets. You come across the famous elephant-print pants, fans, and wooden elephant statues. Like the food markets, the night market has a very relaxed vibe, and it is fun to see what items they sell. However, because Chiang Mai is a popular destination in Thailand, expect the night market to be crowded.
Also Read ➳ Full 3-Week Guide to Thailand
Where to stay in Chiang Mai
Because you will be tired after the many drives of the Mae Hong Son Loop, I highly recommend you to book a hotel that’s a little bit more luxurious, like El Barrio Lanna. This is a beautiful hotel in the old town of Chiang Mai and has everything your heart desires. From huge cozy rooms with a modern touch to freestanding bathtubs and room service. And it’s not even that expensive! You pay 42 euros per night for 2 people or 21 euros p.p.p.n. Spending this little extra is so worth it in our opinion because you will need a good night’s rest!
Elephant Sanctuary & Chiang Mai Temples (Last Day Of The Mae Hong Son Loop): Day 8
On the 8th and final day of this Mae Hong Son Loop itinerary, we’ll explore some of Chiang Mai’s treasures: The golden decorated temples and an elephant sanctuary. The order of these two doesn’t matter, and you can switch them up how you like, and what spots for the elephant sanctuaries are still available.
Chiang Mai is known for its elephant sanctuaries. You will find elephants all over Thailand, but in Chiang Mai, many elephants are rescued from bad situations and well cared for after their traumatic experiences. Visiting an elephant sanctuary is one of the memories which will always stay with me and make me smile every time I think about it. You get to feed the elephants little bananas, watch them play with each other and even bathe them and scrub them with mud. It is wonderful to see how much the elephants enjoy themselves and really have fun!
When visiting an elephant sanctuary, make sure to find an ethical one that truly has the animals’ best intentions. Check out this website on ethical elephant sanctuaries.
Temples In The Center Of Chiang Mai
In addition to the elephants, Chiang Mai is also known for its bling-bling temples. In the old town of Chiang Mai (a square on maps), you will find one after the other whilst wandering the streets. Each of the temples has its own style and purpose, so every time, you’ll be surprised by something new.
When you are in Chiang Mai, I recommend that you walk into the old center and visit temples Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Phantao. For the temples located outside of the old center, like Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, I’d recommend renting a motorbike or taking a Grab taxi.
Summary Of The Mae Hong Son Loop Itinerary
Time needed: 8 days.
Mae Hong Son Loop Itinerary
- Day 1: Mae Ya Waterfall & Doi Inthanon
- Day 2: Drive to Mae Hong Son & Mae Surin waterfall
- Day 3: Ban Rak Thai, Wat Chong Klang temple & Wat Phrathat Doi Kongmu temple
- Day 4: Pang Ma Pha Viewpoint, Lod Cave, Doi Kiew Lom Viewpoint & Pai
- Day 5: Hot Springs, Historical Bridge & Bamboo Bridge
- Day 6: Pai Canyon & Night Market
- Day 7: Drive to Chiang Mai & Night Market
- Day 8: Elephant Sanctuary & Chiang Mai Temples
Map Mae Hong Son Loop
In this Mae Hong Son Loop map I tried to enlist as many spots as possible. This will help you when you drive this Mae Hong Son Loop itinerary yourself.
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