Hill Tribe Chiang Mai
Discover the authentic local life in the Hills of Chiang Mai
One of the best ways to learn about the fascinating culture of any country is by immersing with the locals – hearing them speak in their native language, wear their daily garments, and prepare local cuisine!
If you find yourself in Thailand and want to mingle with more than just the cityfolk, visit the hill tribes located in the north of Chiang Mai. However, do your research and be cautious when joining tours that offer ‘authentic’ meet-and-greet experiences. Sadly, many tour agencies and operators advertise this without a care for the commercialization of the hill tribes’ way of life. In order to get the authentic experience, keep reading...
We would recommend taking the road less traveled. There are two ways you can experience a real Thai hill tribe:
- If you’re the type of traveler who is familiar with Thailand’s terrain or want to mingle with the indigenous villagers at your own pace, consider renting a motorbike and finding your way to the hill tribe yourself.
- If you want to learn with a group and be guided by a knowledgeable local, then we recommend joining this tour.
About the Karen Tribe Chiang Mai
Thailand is blessed with numerous hill tribes:
- The most famous and most populous in the area are the Karen tribe, known for their ornamentation and silversmith skills. They also have sub-tribes that are known for their long necks and golden accessories women wear around them.
- The Hmong tribe are known for their intricate embroidery and can be found at Pui Mountain. This day tour combines a visit to Doi Suthep and the Hmong Village.
- The Lahu tribe are made up of five subcategories and boast a proud hunting heritage despite their current agricultural livelihood.
- The Akha tribe are known for their resistance to mainstream Thai culture, practicing a combination of animism, ancestor worship, and their relationship with the land.
- The Mien tribe – the smallest among the six tribes – are known for their distinguishable red and black clothing.
- The Lisu tribe recognized by their brightly colored tunics for women.
While the hill tribes have become more accustomed to visitors recently, we would like to remind travelers be respectful when visiting. Show deference especially to the village elder, teacher, priest, or headman, and come bearing gifts to show your gratitude.
A good gift would be a basket of fruit which you can then hand over to the leader who will distribute it to the village children. If you plan to take photos, do this after you speak to the villagers, especially after you’ve spoken to the village leader.
Chiang Rai Temples Tour: White Temple, Blue Temple & Black House
Chiang Mai, Thailand