Discover Hills of Chiang Mai - Chiang Mai
One of the best ways to learn about the fascinating culture of any country is by immersing yourself with the locals. By simply hearing them speak in their native language, wear their daily garments, and prepare their exotic cuisine, you will begin to realize that the world is a much bigger place.
If you find yourself in Thailand and want to mingle with more than just the city’s locals, Trip Guru suggests that you visit the hill tribes located in the north of the city of Chiang Mai, but you must be cautious when you are doing so. Although there are a lot of traveling and touring agencies that offer an “authentic” meet-and-greet with the locals, most of the time they are not. Sadly, because of the Thai hill tribe’s fascinating way of life, they have become commercialized, making it almost difficult to find a trustworthy touring source. That is why we, would like to remind backpackers and travelers to stray away from the crowd, and take the road less traveled instead. There are two ways you can experience the real Thai hill tribe. If you are the type of traveler who is familiar with Thailand’s terrain or want to mingle with the tribes at your own pace, rent a motorbike in the city of Chang Mai, and ride towards the northern direction. However, if you want to learn with a group and be guided by a knowledgeable local, then we recommend joining one of our tours with an extended stay.
Thailand is blessed with numerous hill tribes. These are the Karen, the largest in population. The Hmong, who are known for their intricate embroidery, the Lahu, who are made up of five-subcategories, the Akha, who resist assimilation to mainstream Thai culture, the Mien, the smallest in number, the Lisu, whose women can be distinguished by their brightly colored tunics, and the Paduang, where the long-necked women can be found.
Trip Guru would like to remind travelers that what they have signed up for is rarely written in most travel guides and brochures. So, when you are visiting a hill tribe, you must be respectful – most especially with their teacher, elder, or village headman. It is unwise to come empty handed and the best way to show your gratitude is to give their children fruits, costing around 25 TBH per kilo. However, do not directly give it to the kids, but instead, give it to the ones in charge of the village, and the will distribute it. To get perfect photos, it is better to take pictures once this exchange is done. The children will resume playing and the villagers will get back to their daily routine. Always wait for the “go” signal or talk to your guide, because what may be kind to you, can be disrespectful to someone else.
What our experts tell about this experience.
It's not often now a days to be able to do the real "Hill Tours" in Thailand. But thanks to TripGuru I really experienced something new. Something different. Something that people these days aren't that interested to see. The tribes up here have their income from us tourists. And the arts and crafts that they sell aren't bad at all. The shoes and bags and scarves are all a great souvenirs for friends and family. And wow..being there and seeing them put all their effort into the making what they make.. I bought a few things, feeling very proud of their perseverance and way of life.
Here I experienced how the Thais used to live originally. Northern Thais by this mean. In a way visiting their village was quite sad. The stories that they hold. How and why they had to be relocated to here up high in the mountains. But at least they have somehow found happiness and live the same original life to this day. I consider the culture here very interesting and delicate. An experience with the original local Thai that will never be forgotten.
Loved the entire place! Though my favorite in Chiang Mai was observing the hill tribes, especially The Hmong for their beautiful embroidery skills and the Akha. Keeping their tribe's customs alive in today's modern world is a marvel. Weather was lovely, only wanted photos but got so much more in return.