Pang Ung Lake

Beautiful morning at Pang Ung lake, Mae Hong Son Thailand

Pang Ung, the dancing of mist beyond the water – encounter “Switzerland of Thailand.”

Renowned the “Switzerland of Thailand”, perhaps it’s not overclaimed to this heart-stopping land. “Pang Ung” in Mae Hong Son appears the fresh cold air and peaceful circumstance perfect for rejuvenating from the busy urban life. Time for one to take a deep breath and witness the sunrise and reflects its gentle aurora light on the water surface in the early morning. No one would deny the picturesque scene when the first light of the day shines through the rows of the pine trees, the ethereal mist is souring over the gorgeous lake. Undoubtedly, Pang Ung is one of the premier destinations that many travelers drop in the bucking list to see the dreaming land in the north of Thailand.

Knowing “Pang Ung”

“Pang Ung” or official called “The Royal Initiative Project Pang Tong 2 – Pang Ung” located at Ruam Thai Village in Mae Hong Son. In the past, over the land here known hazardous region as it is next to the boundary of Thailand and Myanmar. The place was a serious smuggle of drug plantation and distribution, plus deforestation. So that King Bhumibol the Great (Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit was attentive for the living of ethnic minority who resided there.

Hence, the king initiated and planned to develop and promote the standard of living and occupation for those of people. As well as ordered to construct a reservoir to restore natural resources in this property, too. Intentionally, the king aims to build up stability over the borderline region together with improve local subsistence and rehabilitate natural resources to be abundant sustainably.

Remark: The Royal Initiative Project Pang Tong 2 – Pang Ung in Mae Hong Son is a different one to the Royal Development Project Pang Ung in Chiang Mai that the latter is under the administration of the Royal Project. Anyhow, both are the royal initiative project of King Bhumibol the Great.

Experience the mist over the lake at dawn at Pang Ung

People paddle a raft in the lake at Pang Ung

Pang Ung, actually is the massive reservoir nestled in the high mountain, around the lake is rows of a lash pine tree that complete the look of the area entirely. Unsurprisingly, many may not understand the meaning of Pang Ung, the word “Pang” that literally means “tied cottage in the wood”. While “Ung” is a northern word that means “lowland” since the area is a vast and slimy basin. Therefore, Pang Ung refers to the cottage next to the reservoir.

The stunning picture of vapor floating beyond the lake and chilling climate in the morn make Pang Ung be another top-ranked romantic destination in Mae Hong Son and in the country, resulting in it is named “Switzerland of Thailand.” Especially, at the daybreak, when the sunlight shines and reflects through lines of the pine tree and gentle mist is such a larger than life moment to witness unforgettable and heart-taking vista. The perfect composition of things here, whether the expanding lake, lush pine tree forest, and delicate sea of mist.

Charming of Pang Ung

The chiffon-like mist that forms over the water surface as though magnificent painting perfectly created by nature. Also, the cheerful atmosphere and joyful face of happiness of tourists seeing this beautiful scenery, perhaps the highlight of the journey. To catch the impressive moment should be at the sunrise, and the visitor can easily check for daybreak time from the application on your smart devices ^^.

Well, a must-not-miss thing to do at Pang Ung for everyone to check-in is the edge of the reservoir at a camping ground in front of the venue. Unbelievable, it is the best photogenic spot for everyone to take the best shot in Pang Ung. And when one enters inside the property will meet a small dock that is another point to snap some pictures, as well. And last but not least, the pine tree forest that is a so-called signature spot which makes Pang Ung has its nickname “Switzerland of Thailand,” that you should not miss as if your trip to Pang Ung has not completed, yet.

Bamboo Rafting in the Reservoir

Bamboo raft on Pang Ung reservoir lake

What to do apart from enjoying the view here? Pang Ung also offers the visitors with “rafting tour” to see around the property, the tour takes about 25 minutes, and the price is THB150 for 2 passengers. Providing different views from the land, pictures to see during the rafting tour is even more breath-taking! Floating in the water and cuddled by mild fog and gentle light of the sunlight is a hugely impressive moment, plus you would say no to see 360 degrees view of Pang Ung. Notably, if carefully notice, there are the couples of white swans and black swans at Pang Ung. Just so you know, those of grandeur creatures were bestowed by Queen Sirikit.

Camping and tent under the pine forest

Camping and tent under the pine forest in sunset

As predominant spot in Pang Ung, the pine tree forest is a landmark for the tourist who plans for camping at the site. The area provides a perfect camping ground next to the lake that you would not disappoint since you can witness the sunrise and fabulous scenery of the place in the morning just from your tent!

Royal Project at Pang Ung

strawberry plantation at royal project in Mae Hong Son

Another pride of Pang Ung is Pang Ung Park adjoins the royal project office. It created in order to grow kinds of trees that harmony to highland geography. Those plants replace the abandoned opium farm, which is originally occupied the land. Many different types of new plant benefit in term of Thai traditional medicine and food, as well as creating environmental harmony. For example, avocado, persimmon, Chinese pear, Chinese plum.

Also, a lovely garden with winter flowers and ornamental plants, such as roses, hydrangea, orange trumpet, etc. Additionally, the official has worked to bring back native species of plant of Pang Ung – Dendrobium scabrilingue Lindi and orchid species and animals, such as Wild Mountain Frog.

Tea Plantation and Hut in Ban Rak Thai

Tea Plantation and hut in Ban Rak Thai. Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Finally, before leaving Pang Ung, you should not miss visiting a lovely local community, “Rak Thai Village.” A small mountain village that most of the residents are Yunnan. “Lee Wine Rak Thai,” landmark of the community, is a significant clay building in the middle of tea plantation ascends the mountain line and a coffee shop that accepted one of the must-visit cafés in Mae Hong Son. Although it’s just a little café, it provides the customers with a brilliant atmosphere for one to chillax with a cup of aromatic coffee and take a deep breath. So, that is to say, Rak Thai Village is a real rustic and charming community that travelers can enjoy the simple life, indeed.

Tourist Information

Rules and Regulations of the Royal Initiative Project Pang Tong 2 – Pang Ung.

For those who stay the night at the venue.

  • Required registration via Mae Hong Son Royal Handicraft Center, so that you can access your vehicle the venue. Contact number at call +6653-611-244, mobile +6685-618-3303, Fax +6653-611-649, +6653-611-690.
  • Reservation for accommodation, please provide a contact name and phone number to the office. The capacity is 500 pax/day).
  • For those visitors with an accommodation badge, the venue allows all vehicles between 9.00 am – 6.00 pm only. 

For general visitors

  • The visitor with no accommodation badge must park your vehicle at Ban Na Pa Paek School or at Wat Na Pa Paek.
  • The local pick-up truck service to access Pang Ung services between 4.00 am – 6.00 pm daily. It charges THB50 per person and can use it for the round trip (as same as Airport Link Express Line).
  • The car departs from the terminal every 20 minutes. For charter service (with 6 passengers maximum) charges at minimum THB30.

The vehicles to be allowed to access Pang Ung

  • Local public bus.
  • Local residents’ cars.
  • Government official vehicle within the project property.
  • Government official vehicle with the passing badge from the provincial administrative office. 
  • Tourist vehicle with accommodation badge and can access between 9.00 am – 6.00 pm.

Other information:

  • The accommodation at Pang Ung operates electricity by power generator from 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm. This is another reason to prohibit visitors’ vehicle access after 6.00 pm for the sake of safety. So, the visitor should bring a torch and spared battery to use during your stay at the venue.

Accommodation at Pang Ung

homestay resort and hut in Pang Ung Mae Hong Son

1. Ruam Thai Guest House

provides the housing next to the lake (call +6653-611244) in 4 types;

  • 2  x Large cottage: for 4 guests with en-suite bathroom is THB600 per night.
  • 3 x Medium cottage: for 2 guests with en-suite bathroom is THB450 per night.
  • 4 x Tribal style cottage: for 2 guests with en-suite bathroom is THB450 per night.
  • 4 x Small cottage: for 2 guests with en-suite bathroom is THB350 per night.

2. Affiliated accommodation in the community

  • 69 x housing: for 2 guests with en-suite bathroom is THB400 per night.
  • for the extra guests, extra charge is THB100 per person. 

3. For Tent Camping Accommodation

  • No pre-booking for tent facility. For those who would like to get the service, please contact Mae Hong Son Royal Handicraft Center in person by noon.
  • The camping space is limited to about 100 spots per day, and those who book the area must arrive at Pang Ung by 6.00 pm. 
  • The space for one who brings a tent facility is 70 spots with THB100 of fee per unit.
  • The space for one who rents tent facility at the venue is 30 spots with THB300 of cost per unit.

***raft service to tour around the area and watch the swans is THB150.

***Since it is crowded during the high season and holidays, so it is recommended that the tourist should make a reservation at least 1 month prior.

Terms of Accommodation Reservation

  • Ruam Thai Village under the Royal Initiative Project Pang Tong 2 – Pang Ung, will keep the reservation information for 7 days. 
  • Without payment within 7 days, it will be automatically cancellation, and the right will transfer to the next waiting list immediately.
  • After process payment, please send the reference via fax number +6653-611-649 or +6653-611-690, together with the name of booking person and guest and date of stay.
  • The official reserves the right for any refund of completed payment, however, the visitor can change the time of rest as if the accommodation is available at the preferring period.
  • The guest, please bring actual pay-in-slip for accommodation upon the check-in date. 
  • The official operates for reservation only on working day and time (Monday – Friday between 8.30 am – 4.00 pm)
  • The guest can pick up accommodation badge every day during office time (Monday – Sunday between 8.30 am – 4.00 pm) 

How to get to Pang Ung

pang ung , reflection of pine tree and swan in a lake

Traveling to Mae Hong Son province needs to pass the complex mountainous road. Most of the travelers go by 2 major options, which are

  1. Public Transportation / Charter Service / Personal Car
  2. Airplane and rent a car driving to Mae Hong Son / Rent a car with a local driver.


 Currently, there are 2 flight operators provide the flight to Mae Hong Son, including;

  • Bangkok Airways: Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi International Airport: BKK) – Chiang Mai International Airport: CNX – Mae Hong Son Airport: HGN.
  • Nok Air: Bangkok (Don Mueng International Airport: DMK) – Mae Hong Son Airport: HGN.

So, the choice of airline is preferable because both operators depart from different airports as well as flight schedules. However, for one who prefers to take the morning flight shall take Bangkok Airways, whereas Nok Air operates the afternoon flight.

Rent a car driving to Mae Hong Son

Another option that is also popular among the tourists is taking the flight to Chiang Mai and rent a car or get a van service to go to Pang Ung. One good thing is a chance to take a tour in Chiang Mai that is not a bad idea for any traveler who has plenty of time for the trip.

Well, for one who takes the choice to rent a car and drive by yourself. You can find a car rental provider from Google; however, there’s limited choice compares to the significant provinces like Chiang Mai. And the rental service is not a big company and mostly is the local operator. Thence, we recommend you to spare the proper time in advance finding rental car service. And for anyone who cannot make it, do not worry since at Mae Hong Son Airport is a car rental service counter for the tourist, too.

The journey from Mae Hong Son Airport to Pang Ung is only about an hour or so. Nonetheless, it needs a skillful driver because it’s curvy and slope path all through the journey, especially low gear skill is preferred for driving to Pang Ung.

Frankly speaking, the toughest part of the journey to Pang Ung is the last 4 km before reaching Ruam Thai Village, a sharp curve, slope way, and narrow road are all you will meet here. Anyway, unless you drive carelessly, it will be fine and arrive at the destination safe and sound. So, be prepared and be conscious!


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