Local Living Thailand—Hilltribe Experience
Day 1 Chiang Mai
Arrive at any time. There will be a welcome meeting in the evening; look for a welcome note in hotel reception upon arrival for exact time. If you arrive early in the day, chose from a large range of optional activities or stroll the city independently. Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai is the cultural center of Thailand. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and over 300 temples. Many visitors come here to attend cooking courses, massage classes or yoga lessons. It is also a mecca of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. A trip out to the countryside is available for those interested in riding elephants or cruising down a stream on a bamboo raft. The fun does not end when the sun goes down, as the night bazaaar opens. The bazaar is a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand.
Day 2 Ban Jabo (1B,1L,1D)
Transfer into the jungle highlands of northwest Thailand to the village of Ban Jabo. Along the way, stop for buffet lunch at a restaurant in Pai with scenic views. Continue onto your home for the next three nights with the Black Lahu, a local ethnic minority. Meet your local hosts and lend a hand to dinner using regional products and traditional cooking methods. Tonight's dinner will be a communal meal as a group, but most other meals will be with each individual host family. The group will be split into small groups of 2 or 3 people to stay with the different families. Bedding will be provided along with mosquito nets. Generally, our travellers will sleep in a separate part of the house from the family. Lahu homes are typically made of bamboo and built on high stilts with thatched roofs. We will be staying in a Black Lahu community. The Lahu are an ethnic minority group spread out across China, Vietnam and Thailand primarily. The Black Lahu are a subgroup known for the prominence of the colour black in their traditional dress. The women are known for both their clothes and basket weaving. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 260 km
Day 3 Ban Jabo (1B,1L,1D)
Walk to the fields surrounding the village to learn about (or even opt to help out with!) local farming practices before visiting a prehistoric wooden coffin cave. Dine on a typical jungle lunch. In the afternoon, learn about the local education system with a visit to a school. Learn about the Lahu culture and traditional activities. Try bamboo weaving, make a Lahu bag and learn how to play a Lahu instrument. Free time in the afternoon to assist your local family with daily activities or volunteer to work on various projects in the community. Opt to help out with dinner preparation.
Day 4 Ban Jabo (1B,1L,1D)
Walk to a nearby hilltribe community to learn about the Shan people, the local masters of irrigation and wet rice farming. Enjoy the views along the way and take in a new way of life at community before walking back to Ban Jabo. It is always an option to spend all day in the Ban Jabo community, skipping the walk. Approximate distance walked: 7 km Difficulty level: Moderate
Day 5 Chiang Mai (1B,1L)
Say goodbye to your local hosts and buy any last minute hand-crafted goods before transferring back to Chiang Mai. Enjoy a final evening with the group.
Day 6 Chiang Mai (1B)
Depart at any time. There are many places of interest in and around Chiang Mai. If you would like to book additional nights here, please speak to your sales agent.