Our Code of Conduct for Village Visits

Villages visits are essential experiences on our trips

Most of our tours include visits and/or overnights in villages of ethnic communities. They are essential experiences on our trips and are often the highlights. With most of these communities, we have long-standing and close relations. We highly value these contacts and do our best to leave good memories with the local people of our trips. We want to make the experience enjoyable for all concerned, guests and villagers. Therefore we made a list of things we would like you to know and hope you will consider.

Village house in the mountains
Hilltribe house

Follow the advice of our guides

Our guides know the people in the hilltribe villages we visit, and we stay overnight. Please follow their instructions and ask them anything you want to know about the village and the people. They are great sources of local knowledge and can translate when you want to talk to the local people. Many of our trekking guides are Karen, the biggest tribal group in Thailand.

Please be mindful of local customs. Please follow the advice of your guide regarding appropriate behavior in the village and the house where we are staying. If you are uncertain of anything, ask your guide. Wear conservative clothes while in the village. You better wear a bit too much than too little. If you go swimming in a river, remember that wearing a bikini or bathing suit may offend villagers. Shorts and a t-shirt are more appropriate. Wearing shorts is fine, but they should reach the knee. Always take off your shoes before entering a house. 

Three hikers posing Code of conduct village visits
Three happy trekkers

Cultural sensitivities

Each ethnic group has its traditions passed down through many generations. These are sometimes quite different from those of Thai people. Please respect their rules, values, and beliefs. If you have any doubts, please ask your guide. To foster cultural pride, please express interest in local customs, beliefs, languages, traditional clothing, etc.

Please buy local goods and handicrafts to supplement the community’s income. Local people highly appreciate this gesture. Do not display affection to members of the opposite or the same sex, like hugging, kissing, or holding hands.

Palong village Shopping for souvenirs family trekking code of conduct village visits
Shopping for souvenirs family trekking

Taking photographs of tribal people

All tribal groups in Thailand have their specific beautiful traditional dress. If you want to photograph people in traditional dress, please use restraint. Respect their privacy by asking permission. If you buy a small souvenir from them, this will break the ice. On our Hilltribe photography tour, we made an arrangement with the people we visit so you can take pictures of traditional dress. Your guide can help with this. People love receiving the photos you take of them, and we can deliver them to villagers later.

Lisu hill tribe village Chiang Dao Chiang Mai Tribal Photography Hill Tribes Thailand
Chiang Dao Lisu village

No alcohol and noise, please

We discourage consuming alcoholic drinks during our treks. In the villages, you can usually buy a can of beer, but please be modest and don’t get drunk. The villagers would appreciate it if you didn’t drink alcohol during your stay. If you want to have a party, hilltribe villages are not the place to be. You can have your party in Chiang Mai. In most villages, people go to bed early, usually not later than ten o’clock. Please be aware of that.

We are very much aware of our responsibility regarding our impact on local communities. We are doing our best to do things the right way. Please follow our advices in this Code of Conduct for village visits.

Family in a tribal house
Family in the Akha village Ban Apha