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Mae Hong Son Culture :

Mae Hong Son Culture 

Shan Hilltribes

The misty stillness of Mae Hong Son's hillsides can only be described as a true retreat after reaching one of the most northern points of Thailand and also some of the home territories to the Shan hilltribes.


Remote Long Neck Karen hilltribe

Depart from Chiang Mai by air to Mae Hong Son and transfer to the Imperial Mae Hong Son for an overnight stay. Over two days visit Fish Cave and Burmese style temples-Wat Hua Wiang and Wat Chong Kam that hold Burmese artifacts brought over 100 years ago. Wat Phra Non is also a must, with a huge reclining Buddha and impressive large stone lion guardians. A 4WD adventure over scenic hills to visit the remote Long Neck Karen hilltribe, combined with a fulfilling trip along the Pai River is a fantastic way to end the trip.

Poi Sang Long Procession
This is in fact the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai Yai tribe people hold to be a highly meritorous occasion. Traditionally, the candidate-novice, his head cleanly shaven and wrapped with head-cloth in the Burmese style, will don a prince-like garment and put on valuable jewels and gems, and ride a horse or be carried over the shoulders of a man to the city shrine. Then he will visit abbots of various wets to beg for forgiveness. On the ordination eve, a procession of offerings and other necessary personal belongings will be paraded through the town streets and then placed at the monastery where the ordination will take place the next day. It is usually held during March-May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period. Today the tribesmen are encouraged to hold several processions at the same time with the result that have become a major tourist attraction.

Chong Para Procession
The Chong Para in the Thai Yai dialect means a castle made of wood, covered with colorful perforated papers and decorated with fruits, flags and lamps. It is placed in the courtyard of a house or a monastery as a gesture to welcome the Lord Buddha on his return from giving sermons to his mother in heaven, according to traditional belief. The rite is held during the postkain Retreat season from the full-moon day of the 11the Lunar month to the waxing-moon night of the same month.

Other activities to celebrate the occasion include dances where performers are dressed in animal costumes. This is based on the belief that during those long-gone days, both humans and the animal kingdom were equally joyful of the return of the Lord Buddha and therefore joined in a jubilant performance as tribute of the Enlightened One.

Bua Tong Blossom Festival
Each year in November, the hillsides of Amphoe Khun Yuam and Amphoe Mae Sariang are filled with a host of golden Bua Tong blooms. As gay as a daisy and almost as a sunflower, the Bua Tong only blossomsfor 15 days. This is enough reason for Mae Hong Son provincial to hold the Bua Tong Blossom Festival at Amphoe Khun Yuam.

At Amphoe Khun Yuam's Dot Mae U-Kho, the blossoms appear profusely. Finally, the golden blooms become part of the scene. Some specialists have classified these Bua Tong as weeds and because of this, they may be cleared to make way for cash crops. Fortunately a group of researchers have discovered the flower's insect-repellent properties. And perhaps that is why the Bua Tong, a symbol of Mae Hong Son, is still preserved on the hillsides.

Loi Krathong Festival
Loi Krathong Festival is held on the full moon night in the month of November every year. Villagers make "Krathongs" to float in rivers. At Nong Chong Kham, various entertainments and a contest of large krathongs are held near the central pond. Lamps and candles are lit all around the area. Moreover, at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is a ceremony of releasing candlelit krathongs bound with balloons to the sky (known as ''Lot Krathong Sawan
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