Travelling by bus from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son is the best way as compared to other options. Most people would first come to Chiang Mai as a transit point before going to Mae Hong Son even though some direct bus services are available like Bangkok to Mae Hong Son.
The reason is because the direct service from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son is simply taking too long at 17 hours. Besides that, Chiang Mai is also an attraction which is worthwhile to spend a few days before exploring the foggy, charming and tranquil Mae Hong Son.
Mae Hong Son is a small town lying amidst mountains with about 285km (via Pai) away from Chiang Mai. With the steep and curving mountain road, bus usually takes 5 to 5.5 hours to pass through the zigzag mountain road. Buses normally have stopover midway to Mae Hong Son, allowing passengers to stretch their body and take a break from the winding road.
The bus fare for bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai costs about 500 baht. Prem Pracha is one of the bus operators offering the bus from Chiang Mai's New Arcade Bus Terminal to Mae Hong Son. Their departure time is at 9:00pm night.
Besides the bus, air-conditioning van is one of the popular options to get to Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai. However, the van may not be suitable to bigger size passengers because it would be cramp when the van is full. With the winding mountain road ahead, bigger size passengers are not recommended to take van especially for those having motion sickness.
While there are many buses from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son, ticket may not be available last minute. Hence travellers are advised to book your ticket online in advance with www.busonlineticket.co.th to secure your transport from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son.