I live in Mae Hong Son some of the time, and the rest in Chiang Mai. In Mae Hong Son (city) I stay with Thai friends and I know a lot of their neighbours and relations, so an agreeable life. But not sure how easily a new farang would fit in. Depends on the farang, I suppose. Not many farang residents. Advantages: peace and quiet - no traffic jams to speak of. Nice scenery - lots of mountains. Maybe a bit cooler than Chiang Mai. Cheaper for food. Some interesting places in the province: Bang Mapha - caves; Khun Yuam; buatong flower fields in season; Ban Ruk Thai - Chinese village on Burmese border, en route there's a royal palace and a big waterfall; Pai - very popular with tourists. Quite a lot of mountain people villages. Quite a lot of refugees from Burma including long-necked ladies. Disadvantages: not a lot of night life; no exotic restaurants; limited medical facilities - there is a hospital but locals often opt to go to Chiang Mai for treatment. No international school. There are flights every day to Chiang Mai (1500-2000 baht/30 minutes) (and maybe some to Bangkok - not sure). Buses to Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Frequent minibus services (250 baht/6 hours to Chiang Mai via Pai; via Mae Sariang also available).