Thailand Anthropology & Tribes
Trek on foot and by elephant through the mountains and forests to meet some of Thailand's fascinating and colorful ethnic minority hilltribe people. Stay at unique homestay guesthouses, built in traditional styles, and help to preserve a valuable but threatened way of life.
There is so much we can learn from tribal people, who are so often much more closely connected to the environment than our modern world. Amongst those tribes are the Akha, Hmong, Lisu and Lahu tribes of Northern Thailand, and this is an opportunity to participate in a community-based tourism project which helps to support and strengthen their local traditions and lifestyles in the face of global pressure to assimilate.
By bringing you into close contact with villagers of these tribes, you can learn from them directly about their traditions, heritage, customs and beliefs. Visit a Shaman’s house and chat about spiritual beliefs, or learn from a Hmong woman of the hundred years' old tradition of batik and cross-stitching. We are happy to offer you a variety of meaningful experiences while you, by visiting them, will support tribal communities in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.
5D/4N Lisu & Lanna Trekking
Day One: LISU LODGE – LAHU OUTPOST
You will arrive at Lisu Lodge around 9 a.m. After discussing the itinerary, you will be driven in a pick-up truck to the starting point near Pha Mieng. You will hike (90 minutes) along a jungle trail and stop at the remote village of Hmong Pha Mieng (90 minutes) to visit the inhabitants of this small hill-tribe village.
There you will be able to enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. Then, you will make your way to the top of the mountain (90 minutes) where the Red Lahu Village of Pha Daeng is located. You will continue walking along the mountain ridge to the Lahu village of Kup Kap (60 minutes). From that high vantage point, you will have a spectacular view of the Mae Taeng district and Chiang Mai city. Beyond the mountain peaks to the west lies Myanmar (Burma).
You will have dinner and stay overnight at Lahu Outpost, which is modelled on a traditional Lahu house. Basic facilities and amenities such as Western-style toilets and a communal shower, mattresses, pillows, bed linen, blankets, towels and mosquito nets are provided.
Day Two: LAHU OUTPOST - LISU LODGE
After an early breakfast, you will hike down a steep jungle path (90 minutes) passing the Huay Sadharn waterfall. This brings you to the point where you will take an elephant ride and wend your way back downstream. A picnic lunch will be served on the bank of the river before an an exhilarating raft adventure down the river for 45 minutes.
Following this exciting ride in an inflatable raft, you will be driven to Lisu Lodge. Upon arrival, you will be met by your host, a Lisu villager, who will take you to a herbal garden at Ton Lung temple. You will continue touring the village on foot and stop for a cup of tea at the home of the village shaman to chat with this spiritual doctor who is eager to share his knowledge about traditional medicines and the Lisu faith.
After lunch, visit the village cultural centre where you will find a collection of typical household items and tools used by the Lisu and Akha mountain tribes. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
At dinner, you can enjoy a variety of delicious Thai and local dishes, followed by folk dancing by Lisu villagers. Stay overnight at Lisu Lodge
Day Three: LISU LODGE – AKHA OUTPOST
Today, after breakfast, you are free to choose an activity that suits your interest, including
- A guided cycling tour around the Lisu village
- A steam bath
- A traditional massage
- An ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng
Note: A second additional one-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but you are welcome to go cycling by yourself. We will give you a road map with recommended routes.
Thereafter you will depart from Lisu Lodge for Palong village in Chiang Dao. A tasty picnic lunch will be provided en route. From the village, you will hike up the mountains (3 hours) to Akha Outpost. Set on a mountain top, this Akha village offers a stunning view of the valley and the cascading mountains, stretching into Myanmar (Burma) and Laos.
Dinner will be provided at Akha Outpost, where you will stay overnight Basic facilities and amenities such as Western-style toilets and a communal shower, mattresses, pillows, bed linen, blankets, towels, and mosquito nets are provided.
Day Four: AKHA OUTPOST – KHUM LANNA
Today you will hike down the mountain. You will stop at another Akha village, where a driver will pick you up for the short drive to Khum Lanna. Upon arrival, your local Lanna staff will greet you with a refreshing welcoming drink (herbal tea or fruit juice from our garden). To blend in with the surroundings, you will be provided with traditional Thai farmer’s shirts to wear during your stay.
In the late morning, you will have the opportunity to exercise your cooking skills by making steamed sticky rice. Afterwards, you will be invited to take a casual walk around Khum Lanna’s organic garden where a variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown. The house chef will show you how to collect the ingredients for your cooking class in the late afternoon.
Your lunch will include a Lanna country-style barbeque, steamed sticky rice that you prepared earlier and other scrumptious Thai dishes. In the afternoon, you have a variety of fun and relaxing activities to choose such as:
- A guided cycling tour around the beautiful countryside of Khum Lanna
- A class of creative fruit (or vegetable) carving
- A local herbal steam bath to rejuvenate your body
- A therapeutic hot-pressed herbal massage
Note: A second additional one-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but you are welcome to go cycling by yourself.
In the late afternoon, you will be introduced to the secret of Thai cooking with an experienced Thai chef who will teach you how to cook simple authentic Thai dishes. Additionally, your host will teach you simple Thai words that you may use when shopping at a local market the following day.
In the evening you will certainly enjoy the fruits of your labours with a full four- course Thai dinner with your host and friends. After that, from a campfire in the garden, you will be able to look up at a million stars in the night sky. Stay overnight at Khum Lanna
Day Five: KHUM LANNA
Your coffee/tea will be brought to your room as your wake-up call in the early morning. You will start the day with a sunrise cycling trip along a rural country road to visit a village market. With the help of your guide you may buy local biscuits and garlands to offer to the monks during a visit to a temple. Then you take a short walk to a local hardware shop that sells farm tools, supplies and rice seed. Chat with the owner (also a farmer) and learn more about the history of Thai rice and different species and properties of rice.
On the way back, pay a visit to a Buddhist temple where a respected Buddha image is enshrined under a sacred tree. Continue cycling along a scenic route of canals and rice fields.
Upon your return, a Lanna-style breakfast will await you at the riverside. After that you can cycle around the village. After stopping to see the fascinating accumulation of beehives on the sacred tree at the Ban Nam Phrae community, you will find out why there is a need for bees and the reasons for their conservation. Continue cycling to the ancient town of Wiang Phrao Wung Hin, where you can visit a temple to see Phra Chao Lan Tong, the most significant Buddha image in the Phrao district. Another stop will be at the temple of Tham Dork Kum, where you will have the opportunity to admire various Buddha stucco figures and a large reclining Buddha.
A picnic lunch will be provided on an orchard hill overlooking the entire Phrao valley and Khum Lanna. Thereafter,l return to Khum Lanna for refreshments.
Home of Artisans
Lanna was the name of a prosperous self-ruling kingdom that occupied the whole of Northern Thailand and parts of present day Myanmar and Laos. Founded in the 13th century, the name means 'Land of a million rice fields'.
The rich culture and history owe much to the influence of Burma and, to a certain extent Laos. As a result, Lanna is quite different from other regions of Thailand, particularly in cuisine, culture and custom. It is generally agreed throughout Thailand, that the Northern women are the most beautiful and people the friendliest and most polite in the country. The charm and gentleness of the Northerners seldom fail to impress even the most demanding of visitors.
At Khum Lanna, discover the rural charms of traditional Northern Thai life and bathe your senses in this enchanting Lanna experience. Set in a small valley surrounded by mountains, the property is located in the serene village of Phrao, an hour and a half drive from Chiang Mai. With emerald-green rice fields and lush orchards, Khum Lanna gives you a luxury home-stay experience - a celebration of heritage, food and lifestyle.
Take a leisurely bike ride around the village and visit the quiet temple and huge reclining Buddha in a part set amidst the forest. 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.
Lisu Lodge was designed to blend in with the houses of the ethnic Lisu village in which it resides, and the surrounding landscape. However, the Lisu design was adapted to meet the needs of Western guests ... with modest expectations! The other houses in the village do not have windows, for example, whilst LL does. The roof is thatched; the frame is wood and all the walls are woven bamboo.
Floors are made of rattan. All decorations are either made by the village or within the local area.There are 4 bungalows with six rooms each. Each room is 16 feet by 14 feet. Comfortable mattresses (two per room, with a third one available) are on a hilltribe-style bamboo "sleeping platform", enclosed at night in a large mosquito net. Provided with a fan - the area is cool at night throughout the year - a table and storage space. Each room has a private bathroom with hot shower and western-style flush toilets and wash basin.
The bedrooms surround a large living area, which also serves as an eating area, meals served on low Thai-style 'khan toke' tables, with a choice of either traditional 'Mon Kwan'- triangular padded cushions - or more conventional tables and chairs on the covered verandah. These areas look out over fields to the mountains beyond.
The lodge is located on the edge of a Lisu village 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the city of Chiang Mai. The village of Dton Loong has a population of 750, including 20 families of another ethnic group, the Akha.
The lodge leases the land from the village, and is very much part of the village, employing staff from the village and joining in with their celebrations.
At Lisu New Year, typically in early February, guests are strongly urged by the village to drink the Lisu whisky and to become, like the rest of the village, blind drunk (optional!). All are invited to the dance, and a great spirit of camaraderie develops over the course of days in the village, all inviting all to re-affirm their ancient traditions and celebrate the general dance of life.
Whether it's elephants you wish to ride, trekking you want to experience, or simply the wonderful experience of enjoying a few days in the company of very hospitable cultures, there will always be something there to offer you, from the first-time traveller to the most seasoned explorer.
- Name : Lisu Lodge
- Destination : Thailand
- Location : Located in an ethnic Lisu village, one hour drive north of Chiang Mai on the Mae Teng River
- Seasons : year round
- Capacity (max no. guests) : 48 max
- Room Types : 24 double bedrooms equipped with electricity, fans, mosquito nets and comfortable bedding.
- Showers & toilets : en suite, some rooms
- A/C : no, only fan
- Hot Water : yes
- Electricity : 220V, 2 pin (flat)
- Fire warning system : N/A
- Fire extinguishers : Yes
- Fire escapes : N/A
- Entertainment : Elephant riding, trekking, white water rafting, mountain biking, culutral shows, more...