Chiang Mai Educational Tour

This tour highlights different aspects of Chiang Mai. Students will travel by bicycle taxi and bicycle and learn about the history of Chiang Mai. They will also learn about a unique initiative to preserve the samlor, a traditional bicycle taxi, for Chiang Mai. Forests play an important role to fight climate change. Students learn about forest restoration on Doi Suthep. Then focus will be on the ethnic minorities of North Thailand. During a two-day immersive trip, students learn about the lifestyle, traditions and language of the Dara-Ang and other tribes. For an overview of our educational tours please have a look here.

Day 1 Chiang Mai

History of Chiang Mai: start of our Chiang Mai Educational Tour

Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 0800 for your Chiang Mai Educational Tour. Transportation today will be a songtaew, which is Chiang Mai’s public vehicle. First, we will drive to Wat Loi Kroh where are our samlors are waiting. The samlor is the traditional bicycle taxi that was introduced in Chiang Mai in the 1930s. Meet your driver. Each person will have his/her samlor. After the short introductions and taking photos, we will take off on our Heritage & History Tour. We ride past the former outer city wall to our first stop: the Lanna Ancient House.

tourists in front of old house
Lanna Ancient House

Kad Luang: the Warorot and Ton Lamyai Markets

Then we cross the famous Iron Bridge to the east side of the Ping River. Next, we will pass the First Christian Church, founded in 1867 by American reverend Daniel McGilvary. We continue our ride through backstreets to Wat Ket Karaam, a temple that houses a fascinating museum. We say goodbye to our samlor drivers. After having visited the museum, we will cross the Ping River via the Chansom Anusorn Memorial Bridge.

Next, we will visit the colorful Warorot Market and Ton Lamyai markets. These are Chiang Mai’s oldest markets, known under the name Kad Luang (big market). Your guide will explain the typical Northern specialties that are for sale here. You will visit a Chinese shrine and hear the story of the Chinese settlement in Chiang Mai. Kad Luang is now the center of Chiang Mai’s Chinatown. A devastating fire destroyed Kad Luang in 1968. After this, it is time for lunch.

McKean Senior Center and Wiang Kum Kam

We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we continue to McKean Senior Center. American missionary Dr. James McKean founded this center in 1908 as a leper colony. McKean Senior Center has many historical sites and an interesting museum. Over time McKean has become a rehabilitation center for elderly and physically disabled people. After some explanation, it is time for our bicycle trip. McKean is excellent for cycling as there is almost no traffic on a compound, blessed with many 100-year old trees. After a while, we leave McKean and ride our bikes to the ruins of Wiang Kum Kam. We cycle from ruin to ruin and visit some of the Major sights before we head for the Wat Chedi Liam, a magnificent temple. Here our tour ends. We will board our songtaew that will bring you back to the hotel.

Overnight at the Eco Resort Chiang Mai

Cyclist in front of ruin Chiang Mai educational tour
Wiang Kum Kam ruins

Day 2 Chiang Mai

Learning about Forest Restoration on Doi Suthep

The second day of our Chiang Mai Educational Tour. Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 0800. We will drive to Doi Suthep, the mountain that overlooks Chiang Mai.  The first stop will be the shrine of Kruba Srivichai, the monk whose followers constructed the road leading to the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in 1935. After this, we will continue to the nursery of FORRU, the Forest Restoration Research Unit of Chiang Mai University. The nursery of FORRU in Doi Suthep – Doi Pui National Park is only a short walk from the temple.

A representative of FORRU will introduce us to their work and the Framework Tree Species Method. Then you will learn about the design and function of the nursery. After this, we will embark on an educational nature trail on Doi Suthep. The highlight of the hike is one giant fig tree.

Wat Doi Suthep

We will enjoy a delicious Thai lunch before we walk up the naga staircase of more than 300 steps leading to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple. Your guide will explain Buddhism and the importance of this temple for the Chiang Mai people. Enjoy the fantastic view of Chiang Mai before we descend to Wat Phalat, the so-called jungle temple of Chiang Mai. Then we will drive back to Chiang Mai.
Overnight at the Eco Resort Chiang Mai

Golden chedi with blue sky
Doi Suthep Temple

Day 3: Chiang Mai – Pang Daeng Nai – Mae Chon

Tribal Immersion in Chiang Dao

In the coming two days of our Chiang Mai Educational Tour, we will spend time in the countryside. You will learn about the history, language, traditions, and lifestyle of the hill tribes of North Thailand. We will depart from Chiang Mai at 0800 by local truck and drive to Chiang Dao district. We will first briefly visit the Lisu and Akha people who also live in this district. After a short explanation and demonstration of traditional dress, we will start our hike at the Dara-ang village Pang Daeng Nai. This village has a royal project office that we will visit. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, has initiated these projects in improving the lives of the tribal people.

Hike to Mae Chon village

Then we will walk from Pang Daeng Nai to another Dara-ang village, Mae Chon. This hike takes between one and one-and-a-half hours. After our arrival, you will engage in several activities such as traditional weaving, helping to prepare dinner, and pounding rice. The village shaman will welcome us with a short ceremony. After dinner, there will be language lessons, fun games, and cultural exchange with young people from the village. We will also discuss the pros and cons of hill tribe trekking.

Overnight will be in a bamboo house in the village.

Kids in traditional dress in front of a blackboard
Palong Kids with a blackboard at Mae Chon

Day 4: Mae Chon – Huay Pong – Chiang Mai

Engage in agricultural activity

After breakfast, we will meet with local people in a question-and-answer session. The people in this village are farmers. After this meeting, we will go into the field where we will work for an hour. This agricultural activity depends on the season, but it could be rice planting, corn planting, or corn harvesting. After a visit to the local church and Buddhist temple, we will walk for an hour to Huay Pong, a village where Dara-ang and Red Lahu people live together. At the house of Lung Keng, we have lunch, after which we will take half an hour to evaluate the trip.

Finally, we will visit a traditional blacksmith workshop and a fascinating Lahu spirit temple. Then it is time to drive back to Chiang Mai, where we will drop you off at the Eco Resort Chiang Mai. Last overnight at the Eco Resort.

Day 5: Chiang Mai

End of the Chiang Mai Educational Tour

Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. They will transfer you to the airport or railway station for your onward trip. We hope you learned a lot on our tour. We offer more educational tours. You can read more about our educational tours on this page.

On this page, you can find sources of information on ethnic minorities in North Thailand.

Inclusions

What is included?

English speaking guide
Transportation by AC Minibus
Lunch
Drinking water during meals
Limited medical insurance

What is not included?

Other drinks except for water
 during meals
Personal expenses
Tips

Timeline

Day 1
08.00 – Departure from the hotel
08.30 – Meet the samlor drivers at Wat Loi Kroh
09.00 – Start of the samlor ride
09.15 – Visit of the Lanna Ancient House
09.30 – Continue to the Iron bridge
09.45 – A short stop at the first Christian Church
10.15 – Visit Wat Ket Karaam and its museum
10.45 – Cross the Ping River via the Chansom Anusorn Memorial Bridge to the Warorot Market
11.00 – Visit the Warorot and Ton Lamyai markets
12.00 – Lunch at a local restaurant
13.00 – Drive to McKean Senior Center
13.30 – Start of the bike ride to Wiang Kum Kam
15.00 – End of the trip and drive back to the hotel
15.30 – Drop off at the hotel

Day 2
08.00 – Departure from the hotel
08.30 – Visit the shrine of Kruba Srivichai,
08.45 – Drive to the nursery of the FORRU project
09.30 – Learn about Forest Restoration
11.30 – Drive to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
12.00 – Lunch at a local restaurant
13.00 – Visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
14.00 – Visit Wat Pha Lat
14.30 – Drive back to the hotel
15.30 – Arrival at the hotel

Day 3
08.00 – Departure from the hotel
10.00 – Visit the Lisu and Akha people
11.00 – Visit the Dara-ang village Pang Daeng Nai and learn about the Royal Project
11.30 – Start hiking for about one hour to Mae Chon village
12.00 – Picnic lunch on the way
13.30 – Arrival at the village
14.00 – Start the activities at the village such as traditional weaving, helping to prepare dinner, or pounding rice
18.00 – Dinner at the village
18.30 – Welcome ceremony by the village shaman
19.00 – Free time or join activities with the local children

Day 4
08.00 – Breakfast
09.00 – Work on the village fields for an hour
10.00 – Visit the local church and the Buddhist temple
10.30 – Start hiking to the Lahu village Huay Pong
12.00 – Arrival at the village. Enjoy lunch
13.00 – Visit the local silversmith and Lahu spirit temple
14.30 – Drive back to Chiang Mai
16.30 – Drop off at the hotel

Day 5
TBA – Transfer to airport or train station

What to bring

T-shirt and shorts for daytime
Long sleeves/Jacket during winter time (Nov – Feb)
Hiking shoes with good grip
Flip flops
Sunscreen
Hat or cap
Insect repellent
Sunglasses
Small backpack