This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Responsible tourism: Hilltribes honeymoon in Thailand
Thailand... the land of smiles... really does have something to offer everyone.
Almost certainly boasting some of the best beaches in the world - from 5-star luxury to barefoot simplicity on isolated, Robinson Crusoe-style islands - there is also so much more to see and experience, especially if you take a few steps away from the beaten tourist tracks and this unusual itinerary will certainly give you the opportunity to do that.
Traveling from Bangkok to the green hills of northern Thailand, you can fly if you’re really pressed for time, but you’ll be even “greener” if you take the overnight train, as well as being able to enjoy a unique adventure, meeting the local people and watching the scenery go by as you head into the misty north.
Our small, tailor-made group sizes allow us to take advantage of local methods of transport and, having paused to explore the temples and markets in the charming northern capital of Chiang Mai, you’ll have the opportunity to take a long-tail riverboat along the river to Chiang Rai. Watch the life along the river as you also support the local boatmen as they ply their centuries-old trade.
Spending two days in a hill tribe village, you’ll learn more about the fascinating customs of a people who, even to this day, lead a primarily hunter gatherer way of life. As you trek through the lush green hills, your local guides will teach you about the flora and fauna you encounter along the way and how they make use of nature's abundance around them - for food and medicinal purposes but also for more leisurely pursuits such as making musical instruments.
The luxury resort where you’ll spend the last few days of your stay is not only stunning in its own right but has also created its very own elephant sanctuary, rescuing elephants from all over Thailand to come and live in the peaceful surrounding countryside and to graze along the river.
For many, the hill tribe visit is one of the highlights of this itinerary and we go to great lengths to ensure that this is a mutually rewarding experience both for you and the villagers who will welcome you into their homes. Unlike some operators who pay only a pittance for board and lodgings (expecting the villagers to supplement their income by selling their wares to those who visit them), we ensure that we pay a fair wage to our hosts, as well as contributing a donation to the village as a whole, which makes for a far more relaxed and equal experience between locals and guests. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy some of the local handicrafts should you so wish to… indeed, having watched the way the women do their weaving to make bags and beautiful traditional clothing and maybe even tried your own hand at their looms, you’ll almost certainly want to bring home a few souvenirs of you own…
Many of the villages we visit are home to minority tribes people who have long been ostracised from Thai society with little or no schooling nor social acceptance. Your visit therefore, will not only help to support them financially, but your interest in their culture will also help to encourage their pride in their traditional ways and consequently, help to preserve them for generations to come.
Our independent local guide in this area is a charming and courteous man from a very poor background (he’s also a single father and if grandmother isn’t around to take care of the kids, he may occasionally bring them along for the trip)! Having managed to gain some education in the city, he now takes great delight in making his living by showing visitors around his beloved green hills, is almost as knowledgeable about the flora and fauna as the hill tribe people themselves, speaks many of their dialects and consequently is always warmly welcomed when he returns to a village bringing you, his guests, who will be received with equal warmth.