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Thailand Minority Tour - Journey to the Colorful North Country

6 Days 5 Nights

Introduction

Discover Thailand's most progressive hill-tribe cultures and diverse regions and the rural charms of traditional Northern Thai life. Stay at eco lodges and luxury home-stay experience. Explore the region by trekking, bike riding, elephant riding and handicrafts along with first-hand experience of how tourism can play a positive role in the preservation of ancient cultures. Celebrate heritage, food and lifestyle. Gain an experiential understanding of Thai 'country' cuisine, through a special cooking class, beginning in the market, followed by a class on the essentials of 'iconic' Thai dishes and the art of fruit and vegetable carving. And so much more! Come and explore it yourself.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Chiang Mai – Lisu Lodge – Lahu Outpost (L/D)
Day 2: Lahu Outpost -  Lisu Lodge (B/L/D)
Day 3: Lisu Lodge – Akha Outpost (B/L/D)
Day 4: Akha Outpost – Khum Lanna(B/L/D)
Day 5: Khum Lanna – Chiang Khong – Lanja Lodge (B/L/D)
Day 6: Lanjia Lodge – Chiang Khong (B/L)

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Chiang Mai – Lisu Lodge – Lahu Outpost (L/D)
On arrival in Chiang Mai, you have a transfer to Lisu Lodge. A traditional welcome drink will be served. Then, drive by local open-air truck to the area near Pha Mieng. Start walking along the jungle trails to the remote village of Hmong Pha Mieng (1h30). Meet the inhabitants of this small hill tribe village in the jungle. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. After lunch, walk to the top of the mountain (1h30) where the Red Lahu Village of Pha Daeng is located, Continue walking along a mountain ridge to the Lahu village of Kup Kap (1h00), from where you have a spectacular view overlooking the Mae Taeng district and Chiang Mai town glittering at night in the distance. Beyond the mountain peaks to the west lies Myanmar (Burma). Dinner and overnight at Lahu Outpost, modeled on a typical Lahu house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.

Total walking time: about 4 - 5 hours
Difficulty:
medium grade walking, mainly uphill
Distance:
about 12 - 15 km


Lahu Outpost is adapted from traditional Lahu style, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comfort such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are eight rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is clean and simple, with no electricity, nor any power sources and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for guests in the jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate house as is the traditional Lahu style.


Day 2: Lahu Outpost -  Lisu Lodge (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we go on a one and a half hour walk down a steep jungle path passing by the Huay Sadharn Waterfall. This brings us to the spot where we will mount the elephants and continue on a one hour ride down to the river. In a remarkable setting on the bank of the river we first enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. Afterwards we go rafting down the river for about 45 minutes. From there you return to Lisu Lodge. Upon arrival, a welcome drink will be served before you check into your room. Afterwards you will receive a briefing so you can select your activity for the following morning. Guided by a Lisu villager, walk from Ton Lung temple to visit the herbal garden. Then continue through the village with a stop for a cup of tea at the village shaman's house. Chat with the Lisu shaman and learn about his life, beliefs, curing rites and Lisu traditions. Visit the cultural center and 'museum' created by the villagers. Inside you will find a collection of typical household items and tools from the Lisu as well as well as the Akha mountain peoples. Time at leisure until Thai dinner with a traditional Lisu dance show. Overnight at Lisu Lodge.

Total walking time: about 1.30 - 2 hours
Difficulty: hard grade walking, mainly down hill
Distance: about 3 - 4 km
Lisu Lodge features traditional hilltribe pavilions with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and floor mats with the following modern comfortsSeveral spacious wood and bamboo huts are set in lush wooded gardens next to a Lisu village, whose inhabitants made and now staff the lodge. The 4 guesthouses are based on local Lisu design, but with a few tourist concessions such as windows and bathrooms!

The heart of each building is its raised central veranda and dining area, spotlessly furnished with low tables, couches and monkwan (triangular) cushions. Off this lie 6 bedrooms, with either two single mattress (stuffed with dried local fibres for authentic firmness) on a bamboo sleeping platform, or a western double bed (all mozzie netted). 24-hour mains electricity powers a weak light and a wall-mounted fan. The small ensuite bathroom has a sit-down loo, basin and a solar-heated, tiled shower. Each hut has a bar and staff available to do your laundry (for a small fee).


Day 3: Lisu Lodge – Akha Outpost (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the Lodge. In the morning you have a choice of activities: 

  • Guided bike tour around the Lisu Lodge area
  • Steam bath
  • Massage
  • Ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng – about an hour ending up back at Lisu Lodge

Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but as a free activity you are welcome to go cycling by yourself and we will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.

Leave Lisu Lodge and head to a Palong village in Chiang Dao. A tasty picnic lunch will be provided en route. Walk uphill about 3 hours to Akha Outpost. Check-in at Akha Outpost, set in an isolated area with spectacular views: looking north down into the valley far below or to the west, the mountain peaks stretching into Burma; and finally in the east: the Lao PDR. For dinner, help your guide whip up a tasty, wholesome mountain meal. Dinner and overnight at Akha Outpost, modeled on a typical Akha house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.

Total walking time: about 3 - 4 hours
Difficulty: medium grade walking, mainly up hill
Distance: about 10 - 12 km
Akha Outpost sits on a hill at 1,000 meters above sea level at Ban Jom Hod, Phrao district. Akha Outpost is adapted from a traditional Akha house, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comfort for guests such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are six rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is simple and neat, with no electricity, nor any power sources and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for clients in the jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate house as is the traditional Akha style.


Day 4: Akha Outpost – Khum Lanna (B/L/D)
Breakfast at Akha Outpost. Start walking downhill passing by the waterfall to another Akha village. Then take the short drive to Khum Lanna.

Arrive at Khum Lanna and be greeted by local Lanna people. A tasty welcome drink (herbal tea or fruit juice from the garden) will be served prior to the briefing and orientation when you will choose your afternoon activity. Khum Lanna will provide Thai farmer shirts for guest use during their stay .

10h00 Enjoy preparation for Lanna country-style BBQ lunch with a garden tour around the compound; collect different seasonal herbs, vegetables, and fruits for cooking.

11h00: Get your free sample of our "Khum Lanna Thai Recipe Book" before the first Thai cooking class begins. Share an informal Lanna country-style BBQ lunch that you have prepared with your host. Get an introduction to Thai language (which will prepare you for your market shopping the next day).

Enjoy a satisfying Thai Lunch at Khum Lanna.

In the afternoon, we provide you with a choice of one-hour activities:

  • Guided biking tour around Khum Lanna
  • Fruit (or vegetable) carving
  • Local style personal herbal steam bath
  • Hot-pressed herbal massage (consisting of 8 kinds of herbs: ginger, zingiber, lemongrass, plantain, tamarind leaves, soap pod, camphor and Aom Kiew)

Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but as a free activity you are welcome to go cycling by yourself. We will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.

Late afternoon at leisure until the Thai cooking class begins 16h30. Enjoy the fruits of your labors with a full 4-course sit-down Thai dinner with your host and friends. Watch a million stars beside a campfire in the garden. At leisure until the scrumptious dinner which you prepared already in the afternoon. Overnight at Khum Lanna.

Total walking time: about 2 - 2.30 hours
Difficulty:
easy grade walking, mainly down hill
Distance:
about 7 - 8 km

Khum Lanna or Lanna Farm is a beautiful, secluded teak house set amidst rice fields near the town of Phrao. It's idyllic countryside, with hills ringing the horizon, and lanes winding through villages untouched by tourism. Gentle cycle rides into the Thai hinterland and to local markets are a highlight.
The farm, in typical Lanna style, sits on stilts to avoid flooding, and has an eating area downstairs as well as a spacious sheltered veranda and dining area upstairs. There are 4 double bedrooms, all faced in the smooth, dark teak of the rest of the building. The careful furnishings and lighting give the lodge a very relaxed and restful ambiance.
Each bedroom has a modern bathroom, with toilet and hot shower. The beds are spacious doubles and the feel of the room is that of a high-end hotel. There is one larger honeymoon suite from which a sliding partition opens onto the dining area.


Day 5: Khum Lanna – Chiang Khong – Lanja Lodge (B/L/D)
05h30: Coffee/tea will be brought to your room for your wake-up call before the sunrise biking trip along the rural country road via San Kwang village to Phrao to visit an early morning local market where local coffee is available. With the help of your guide you may buy local cookies and flower garlands for the temple offering on the way back.

Then you visit a farmer's rice and traditional tools shop, chat with the owner, and learn more about the rice legends and differences & properties of the varieties of rice. Your local escort will translate. Bike back to Khum Lanna with a stop to visit Wat Pa Gee. Pay respect to the Buddha image under the sacred tree. Continue biking to Khum Lanna along the local canal through the rice fields and get more information about the rice-growing process and the important place that rice occupies in Thai life. Upon return, refreshment or shower before a local Lanna-style breakfast at 09h00 set up on the riverside. Then, enjoy some light biking to the rural village down the road. See the incredible accumulation of beehives on the sacred tree at Ban Nam Phrae and get information about the need for bees and the reasons for local conservation.Continue biking to Wiang Phrao Wung Hin (the ancient city 30 years older than Chiang Mai) to visit a temple and Phra Chao Lan Tong, the most significant Buddha Image in the Phrao district. Here, King Mengrai (1259-1317) assembled the villagers and trained them as soldiers to defend the city. Continue to Wat Tham Dork Kum and visit different Buddha stucco figures and the huge reclining Buddha. Picnic lunch will be provided on the orchard hill, which has a fantastic overview of the entire Phrao valley. Return to Khum Lanna. Refreshment and check-out.

In the afternoon, you travel to Chiang Khong (Chiang Rai Province), a small border town on the Mekong river. Laos is on the other side of the river! From Chiang Khong, you continue to Lanja Lodge. Arrive at Lanjia Lodge. Herbal local juice will be served during the check-in. Dinner and watch traditional Hmong performances
Overnight at Lanjia Lodge

Lanjia Lodge built in traditional Hmong style with Western comforts, meaning 'peaceful' in the Hmong language, is an eco-friendly, community-based lodge nestled on a hill overlooking the Mekong River and Laos. It is set in harmony with a lush green environment inside a Hmong and Lahu village in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

Day 6: Lanjia Lodge – Chiang Khong (B/L)
09h40: After breakfast, watch a presentation about the Hmong and Lahu tribes, the Golden triangle area and the giant catfish (locally known as Pla Buek) - the world's biggest fresh water fish found in the Mekong River. Learn about activities that affect the Mekong River and people whose lives depend on the river.

10h10: Tour the Hmong and Lahu hill tribe village, including a visit at the shaman house of the Hmong. Drink tea with the shaman and discover why the fireplace is important to the Hmongs and why they bury the placenta and umbilical cord of their newborn babies.

Lunch will be provided on the charming terrace that looks to the Mekong River and Laos.

14h10: Get firsthand experience on how to make Hmong batik handkerchief with Hmong ladies (about 45 minutes). Alternatively, you can learn how to make and set animal traps. Then you will help villagers to plant trees at the Herbal Plant Nursery Project. The project is dedicated to His Majesty the King to commemorate his 84th birthday on December 5, 2011. The main objective of the project is to improve the quality of life of local people by educating them on how to grow vegetables and the importance of the eco-system in their village.

You then have a transfer to Chiang Khong for your departure to Laos  or Chiang Rai for a departure flight to the next destination

Our trip includes

  • Accommodation on join-in basis in twin or double
  • Meal plan as mentioned in the tour program.
  • Drinking water when touring
  • Private tours as indicated in private transportation
  • English speaking guide service
  • Admission fee at visiting points as mentioned in the program.

Our trip excludes

  • Other services not mentioned in package.
  • Other drinks and meals not mentioned in package.
  • Other personal expenses.

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