One of my best memories from Mae Hong Son was to wake up before dawn and drive up to Doi Kung Muu(mountain) 1300 metres above sea level. See the early food stalls setting up for business in the morning. Monks of Thai, Burmese and Shan origin slowly stroll out from their carnival-like light up temples to collect their alms. This time I wanted to relive those memories. I managed to wake up my wife, and we drove the 15 minutes it took up to the temple and timed the sunrise just on perfect. It occurred precisely at 6 am.
Temple and morning market in Mae Hong Son
Darkness turned into light, and suddenly, clouds drifted over the valley and the airport, as well as over the small lake with Wat Chong Klang temple.
Wat Phra That Doi Kung Muu has a Shan/Tai Yai Burmese touch. With the slim pagoda, at this place, whitewashed and crowned with a golden top. This white colour comes to its right in the early morning atmosphere. It is almost like you anticipate snow here. The temple, with its two pagodas, enshrines the relics of one of the chief followers of the Lord Buddha. These relics were brought from Mawlamyine, previously Moulmein, in Myanmar.
At the same time, another stūpa next to it was built in 1872 by Phraya Singhanatracha, the first governor of Mae Hong Son. The stūpa embodies relics of Śāriputra that were carried here from the city of Mandalay.
Kung Muu means stupa in the Shan language, by the way.
We snapped our mandatory photos and appreciated the morning cool. At this time, you can also catch some of the early morning ceremonies and routines going on at the temple.
If you come here during the daytime, there are some excellent local shops selling souvenirs and t-shirts from Mae Hong Son. There are also two coffee shops. I like the one that is called sunset the most, and it is also a nice view from there at sunset.
Then we proceeded down to the bustling morning market of Mae Hong Son. My wife did the Sai Baht merit-making for the monks. We enjoyed some deep-fried dough and a short photo stop at Wat Chong Klang before returning to The Fern resort. Enjoying a small buffé that they provided and then relaxing by the pool.
In the afternoon, we would return to the park and the lake by Wat Chong Klang.