Learning with the Dara-ang people of Chiang Dao

This is short but packed program during which the student will learn about and interact with the Dara-Ang people who migrated to Thailand in the 1980s. For an overview of our educational tours please have a look here.

Corn field with mountain in the background Chiang Dao
Doi Luang Chiang Dao with corn

Meet the Dara-ang people of Chiang Dao

Introductory lecture before the tour

This trip is a two-day/one-night program that starts with a short introductory lecture of one and a half hours about the migration, recent history, and current situation of the Dara-ang or Palong people in the Chiang Dao district. A couple of weeks before the trip, we will send you a list of books and articles about the history and culture of these people.

There are four villages in this area, of which we will visit three: Pang Daeng Nai, Mae Chon, and Huay Pong. The lecture will take about one hour, after which there is time for questions. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. The lecture can take place in the hotel or guesthouse where the group is staying. You can also find a lot of information about the Palong and other tribes in the Chiang Dao area in our hilltribe section.

Day 1: Chiang Mai – Pang Daeng Nai – Mae Chon

The Royal Project 

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 drive to the Dara-ang village Pang Daeng Nai. Here we will start our hike through the community forest of the Sri Lanna National Park. This village has a royal project office that we will visit.

Hike to Mae Chon village

The walk to Mae Chon takes about an hour. We will have lunch along the way in the forest. After our arrival, there are several activities such as traditional weaving, helping to prepare dinner, and pounding rice. In 2019 we installed a traditional rice pounder at the house of Lung Bun because the village didn’t have one.

The village shaman welcomes us with a traditional ceremony. After dinner, there will be language lessons with local children, fun games, and cultural exchange with young people from the village.

Students with tribal children
Students helping to prepare dinner at Palong village

Day 2: Mae Chon – Huay Pong – Chiang Mai

We will go into the fields!

After breakfast, we will meet with local people in a question-and-answer session. The people in this village migrated from Myanmar in the mid-1980s. They were caught in the crossfire between government forces and insurgents in Shan State, so they decided to leave. They will speak about their experiences. Students will have the opportunity to ask questions.  Next, we will go into the field, working for an hour. The agricultural activity depends on the season, but it could be tree planting, corn planting, or harvesting.

Walking to Huay Pong village

After this, we will visit the local church and the Buddhist temple. Then we will walk for an hour to Huay Pong, a village where Dara-ang and Red Lahu people are living together. At the house of our friend Lung Keng, we have lunch, after which we will take half an hour to evaluate the trip. We funded part of the homestay of Lung Keng. Finally, we will visit a blacksmith workshop and a very interesting Lahu spirit temple. Then it is time to drive back to Chiang Mai.

This trip we have done for USAC students, in combination with the trip to the Hmong village Baan Mae Sa Mai. On this page, you can find sources of information on ethnic minorities in North Thailand.

Two young women in corn field
Harvesting corn


What is included?

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

What is not included?

Other drinks except for water
Personal expenses


Day 1
08.00 – Departure from 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, traditional weaving, helping to prepare dinner, and pounding rice
18.00 – Dinner at the village
18.30 – Welcome ceremony by the village shaman
19.00 – Free time and join activities with the local children

Day 2
08.00 – Breakfast
09.00 – Working on village field for an hour
10.00 – Visit the local church and the Buddhist temple
10.30 – Start hiking to Huay Pong
12.00 – Arrive at the village and have lunch at the village
13.00 – Visit the silversmith and Lahu spirit temple
14.30 – Drive back to Chiang Mai
16.30 – Drop off at the hotel

What to bring

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