Mae Sariang is the name of the Mae Hong Son district located at the southwesternmost point of northern Thailand’s scenic Mae Hong Son Loop. Even though Mae Sariang is sometimes a forgotten stop on Route 108, some people may still enjoy walking around this unspoiled trading centre’s teak shophouses and Shan-style temples or simply sitting by the relaxing Yuam River.
Mae Sariang’s history dates back approximately five centuries. For many years, Shan leaders on the Salween River’s west bank fought against the Lanna people on the Salween River’s east bank. The Salween River eventually became the boundary between Lanna and Shan territories during the early 19th century.
The 19th century is also when Mae Sariang became part of three Golden Road trade routes between the southwest Chinese province of Yunnan and other parts of Southeast Asia. Mae Sariang was briefly Mae Hong Son’s administrative centre between 1903 and 1910, but remained difficult to reach from southern Thailand until the Japanese began building the present-day Mae Hong Son Loop during WWII. Today, Shan people form the majority of Mae Sariang’s population of just over 50,000.
Mae Sariang is situated on the Yuam River’s east bank where the Mae Hong Son Loop meets another important road in northern Thailand, Route 108. The riverside remains relatively undeveloped, while Mae Sariang’s surrounding scenery consists of rice paddies and forested hills. Salween National Park is situated in the southwest corner of the district of Mae Sariang.
Mae Sariang’s weather is relatively warm throughout the year, but average daily temperatures can soar up to nearly 38°C during the hottest month of April. Average daily temperatures during Mae Sariang’s coldest months, December and January, hover slightly above 20°C. The vast majority of Mae Sariang’s rain falls between May and September, while rain is rarely seen between December and February.