Day 1 Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao
The Mae Malai Market
Your guide and driver will meet you at 0800 at your hotel for your Tribes, Rivers, and Elephants family adventure. Your tour will take place in the Chiang Dao trekking area. You will drive to the north into the mountains near Chiang Dao. Our first stop will be the Mae Malai local market. Your guide will do some shopping for the coming days, and he will take you along and explain all about the different ingredients he will use for meals during the trek. We will continue to Kaeng Keud where you will start your bamboo rafting trip on the Mae Taeng (Taeng River).
Bamboo rafting on the Mae Taeng
After the necessary instructions, you will board a traditional bamboo raft. After this exhilarating adventure, we will drive to the Chiang Dao Caves. We will explore this beautiful limestone cave before we have lunch in a local restaurant in front of the cave. After lunch, we will drive to the start of our trek. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. The trail has a few steep hills, but most of the trek is relatively easy. All together we walk about two hours with many stops along the way. Your guide will explain specific trees and plants in the forest. Of course, there will be enough time for taking pictures. Today our final destination is another Palong village.
Meeting the Palong people
After arrival in the village, the children can participate in fun activities in the village. These can vary from picking fruit, collecting vegetables for dinner, feeding the pigs, or taking part in sports with children from the village. You will visit the garden of Sukhum. It is an educational visit. Many varieties of fruit, herbs, and vegetables are growing in his backyard. It will depend on the season, but you will see bananas, jackfruit, guava, papaya, longan, and many other varieties. You will see mountain rice and bamboo, which is edible. We will pick some of the ingredients for our dinner in this garden.
Learn about Thai cooking
Then it is time for a cooking course. Your guide will teach you how to cook in a wok on a wood fire. He will explain the herbs and ingredients he uses. After dinner, your guide will take you to one of the village houses where you will meet some of the villagers. The Palong people are originally from Myanmar and fled to Thailand in 1984. This tribe is known as Palong or Palaung, but they call themselves Dara-Ang. Overnight will be in one of the village houses.
Day 2: Palong Village – Chiang Mai
Visiting a local school
The second day of your Tribes, Rivers, and Elephants Family Adventure. After the sounds of nature and the locals woke you up, your guide will prepare breakfast. Villagers will organize a small local market. If you want to can buy some souvenirs. After breakfast, your guide will show you around the village. He will explain about the village shrine and the ‘huja rawl’, the ‘village heart’. The Palong women are incredible weavers. We will introduce you to the weavers. Then we will visit the local school. The children will donate pens and paper to the school. After this, we will say goodbye to the villagers and start our short hike to a Karen village where our van is waiting for us. The Karen are another of the ethnic minority groups in Thailand. They migrated centuries ago from China. Most of the Karen live across the border in Myanmar. They have fought for autonomy against the government for decades.
A gentle Elephant experience
We sit down and drink a cup of tea before we continue to Chiang Dao to have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we will continue to Kanta Elephant Sanctuary, an animal-friendly elephant camp. Before you meet the elephants, you will get a safety briefing. You will change into traditional clothing and prepare fruits for the elephants. Then you will meet the elephants. There is an opportunity for taking as many pictures as you want. You will walk with them to the river. They love playing in the water, and you can bathe with them. Be ready to become dirty and wet! There will be the fruit of the season as well as coffee or tea. Then it’s time to say goodbye to your elephant friends. Take a shower and change back into your clothes. We will drop you at your hotel at around 1730. It is the end of your Tribes, Rivers, and Elephants Family Adventure.