Chiang Dao Hilltribe Adventure
Local Market and Chiang Dao
Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 0800 for your one-day Chiang Dao Hilltribe adventure. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. Today you will meet the Palong people and learn about their daily lives.
We will drive to an area east of Chiang Dao, inhabited by Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Palong (aka Dara-ang), and Karen ethnic minorities. It is an agricultural area encircled by forested mountains. The local people here grow many crops, such as corn, cassava, and rice. There are various fruit trees, such as papaya, longan (lamyai), rose apple, and mango. The Palong people grow pineapple as well. We will let you taste the fruit of the season! Yummy!
The Fascinating market of Mae Malai
Our first stop today will be at the beautiful local market at Mae Malai. We love markets! Your guide with take you around and tell you about the herbs and vegetables used in Thai cooking. Please ask him any questions you have. At this lively and interesting market, we will buy some of the ingredients for our lunch. After this, we continue to the starting point of our trek. After having reached the town of Chiang Dao, we will leave the main road to proceed further into the countryside. Our destination is the Palong village Pang Daeng Nai. We drive through a beautiful area with extensive rice fields, where we stop to take a picture.
Trekking through the community forest
The Palong people have migrated to Thailand from Myanmar in the 1980s. They call themselves Dara-ang and are known as Palaung in Myanmar. Most of the women in the village still wear traditional dresses. There is a small but interesting Royal Project that we will visit before we start our hike today. In short, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) initiated the Royal Project to improve the lives of the hill tribe people.
We’ll hike through the protected community forest to Mae Chon, another Dara-ang village. We will pass through dipterocarp and bamboo forest and patches of evergreen forest. The trail goes up and down but is not too rugged and steep. There is plenty of time for some explanation of flora and enjoy the tranquillity of the forest.
Chiang Dao Hilltribe Adventure: Palong culture
Our destination is the Palong village Mae Chon, which borders the Sri Lanna National Park. The last part of our hike takes us through the plantations and agricultural fields of the community. After arrival, your guide will show you around the village. He will tell about the village shrine and the ‘huja rawl,’ the ‘village heart.’ The Dara-ang (Palong) people escaped from Myanmar and came to Thailand in the 1980s. The women are excellent weavers who make beautiful textiles for sale in the village for very reasonable prices. We will also show you a traditional rice pounder (in Thai “trok tam khao”) at the house of Lung Bun, our host. We installed it in the village because there wasn’t one. In the past, every home used to have a rice pounder like this. You can give it a try!
Cooking lunch on a wood fire
It is time for lunch. We will take our time for this. Your host and your guide will teach you to cook a delicious lunch on a wood fire. It is more complicated than you might think. You can help with cutting vegetables and other ingredients. You will also learn to make a typical Palong chili paste. Yes, this might turn out to be a little bit too hot for your taste, but this is the food people eat here daily. After this short cooking class or demonstration, we will have lunch together, which is always special. Over lunch, we will teach you some words in the Palong language. Please ask your host any questions you have. After lunch, it is time for relaxation and fun, so we head for the “Sticky Waterfalls,” our final destination today.
The Buatong Waterfall, aka the “Sticky Waterfall”
These small, multi-tiered limestone waterfalls are in the Sri Lanna National Park, an area with many limestone mountains. Limestone is partially soluble and therefore forms many erosional landforms. Doi Luang Chiang Dao, the third highest mountain in Thailand (2175m), is a limestone mountain. The Chiang Dao caves are limestone, and the Sticky Waterfall is also limestone. Waterfalls are often slippery, but a limestone waterfall is not, hence the nickname “Sticky Waterfall.” After a day full of activities, it is time for relaxation. We will spend an hour at these delightful falls, which you can walk up and done. Be careful, though. Enjoy the cool and clean water before we head back to Chiang Mai. We can make a stop at an orchid nursery on the way back. After this, we will drop you off at your hotel. We hope you enjoyed your Chiang Dao Hilltribe Adventure.