Non-stop 35 minute flights from Chiang Mai are available from Kan Air. As of July 2017, Kan Air operation has been suspended. You can still fly to Mae Hong Son from Chiang Mai via Bangkok Airways.
There are two road options from Chiang Mai, both taking 5-6 hours by car. Route 1095 via Pai (280 km) or route 108 via Mae Sariang (350 km) is an easier drive.
Mae Hong Son is located 924 kilometres from Bangkok. Drive from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and then choose the following routes to Mae Hong Son: Chiang Mai, Hot, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son (Route 108) with 1864 curves, a distance of 349 kilometres. Chiang Mai, Mae Malai, Pai, Mae Hong Son (Route 1095), a distance of 245 kilometres. Mae Hong Son works well as the 3rd night stopover for a 5 day motorcycle loop from Chiang Mai.
Due to the mountainous geography and windy roads with uphill/downhill curves, it is recommended for experienced mountain drivers only.
Regular bus services connect Mae Hong Son with Chiang Mai (Arcade bus terminal) and the entire trip will take at least 7-8 hours. A better option is the minibus, also leaving from Arcade in Chiang Mai, which only take 5.5 hours but cost 250 baht. If you're going by bus, you can choose the northern (Pai) or southern (Mae Sariang) route. The northern route is a little faster. The new bus station is about a 15 minute walk from the center of town to the southwest. The bus station is set on a seemingly deserted street that runs parallel to the main road in town.
There is also an overnight bus to Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) which takes about 15 hours.
Sombat Tour, operates an air-conditioned bus which runs directly from Bangkok to Mae Hong Son every day. The bus departs from Chatuchak (Mochit 2) Bus Terminal at 3, 5 and 6 p.m. with a fare of 718 baht. Sombat Tour's site lists a bus leaving Bangkok at 7.45 p.m., but in December 2011 this bus wasn't running.
The nearest train station is at Chiang Mai.
One can travel from Bangkok to Chiang Mai by rail and then continue to Mae Hong Son by bus. Check more info Lawa Tribes
This is a small town so walking is the way to get around. There are bicycles for rent from Titan internet shop (across from the 7-11 and post office). To do anything in the surrounding areas a motorbike (at least a bicycle) is needed.
The new bus station seems like it is in the middle of nowhere and the tuk-tuk and motorbike taxi guys love that. But really it's only a 10-15 minute walk to the center of town. You should just turn left out of the bus station and walk straight until you hit the golden statue. Walking up next to the statue, the station is just a bit further towards the city center.