Northern Thailand is home to a variety of tribal groups. These people migrated over a long period of time. Some arrived more than 100 years ago like the Hmong. Others migrated to Thailand more recently, like the Palong people of Chiang Dao. The major tribes are Akha, Hmong, Lisu, Lahu, Yao and Karen. There are smaller groups such as the Kachin and Palong. Most of these groups are Sino-Tibetan and originally from Tibet and Yunnan (South China). The Lawa have probably been in Thailand for many centuries and are considered indigenous people. There are many other groups such as the Tai Ya, Tai Lü (or Tai Lue), Tai Khun and Tai Yai (Shan). These groups are part of the Tai-Kadai language group and related to Thai people. The tribal groups have always been an integral part of the trekking experience in North Thailand. Trekking is not only about nature but also about the people living in the mountains.

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