Meet the Hmong People of Doi Suthep

Price per person in THB
2 persons3 persons4 persons5 persons6 persons7 persons8 persons
6,5005,1004,4004,0003,7003,6003,400
Difficulty
60%

This private two-day tour takes you to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai. Our purpose to visit this village is to learn about the lifestyle, history and culture of the Hmong people. By visiting the village you support the preservation of their culture and support villagers who act as a local guide. By hiking through their forest we try to raise awareness of the importance of the forest which is their watershed. We try to communicate the diversity of the natural world and the healing effect of being in nature. We appreciate their efforts to preserve this forest. To visit their village, forests and fields makes them proud of their heritage. We consider this one of our Chiang Mai jungle trekking and forest bathing tours.

Total approximate driving time:
Day 1 – one hour
Day 2 – one and a half hours

Please note that we enforce a strict dress code in the village and the use of alcohol during the homestay is not allowed We only will eat meals with ingredients that are available in the village. Don’t worry. You will enjoy the food.

From: 6,500.00 ฿

Day 1: Chiang Mai – Ban Mae Sa Mai

Wat Doi Suthep and Doi Pui Hmong Village

Our guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 0800 for your Hmong trekking to Ban Mae Sa Mai. First, we will visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep before the crowds arrive. Walk up the 300 steps up to the temple from where you have a majestic view over Chiang Mai. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most famous temple.

After this, we will continue to the village Doi Pui Village, a Hmong community close to the top of Doi Pui. Your guide will tell you about the turbulent history of this community. In the past, the village was involved in opium poppy cultivation. Nowadays, the village is a significant tourist attraction in Doi Pui-Doi Suthep National Park.

We walk around the village before we meet our local Hmong guide, who will accompany us on our hike to the Hmong community Ban Mae Sa Mai in the Mae Sa Valley. These Hmong villages were deeply involved in the Royal Project, a development program initiated by his Majesty, the late, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. During this trekking, you will learn about this project that has been so important to the Hmong villages on the mountain.

The trekking to Ban Mae Sa Mai

This hike will take about five to six hours, including stops. It is definitely one of the most beautiful day trekkings you can do in the vicinity of Chiang Mai. Here you can find more background and history of Chiang Mai Trekking. We start hiking through the forest. The local Hmong guide will tell about the flora and the history of opium poppy cultivation on this mountain. After a walk uphill, we will arrive at an open area with fantastic views on both sides.

We will stop briefly to look at a footprint of Buddha before enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic spot. We will continue through the forest to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai. Before we reach the village we will pass through their agricultural fields. This village is the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand but gets very few visitors, a marked contrast with Doi Pui Hmong Village.

View on Ban Mae Sa Mai
Ban Mae Sa Mai

Meet the Hmong people

After arrival, you will visit the Hmong Learning wisdom Centre and meet the local silversmith who will show you how to make beautiful silver jewelry. We will teach you a couple of words in the Hmong language: “Ngoh chong”, which means “good day”. Your host and your guide will also teach you to cook on a wood fire. Most of the ingredients of our dinner will come from the Royal Project fields of the village. On the menu will also be a typical Hmong dish.

After dinner, there is time for conversation, and your hosts will introduce you to Hmong culture. You will spend the night in the Hmong Learning Wisdom Centre.

Day 2: Ban Mae Sa Mai – Chiang Mai

Traditional dress and agriculture

Early rise with the roosters. It is the second day of your Hmong trekking.  Enjoy a local breakfast. After breakfast, your host will show you the beautiful traditional dress of the Hmong people. If you want you can change into their traditional dress and be a Hmong for a minute. After this, we will go to the fields around the village and help the villagers in the field for a while. This activity will depend on the season of course. You can practice your newly acquired Hmong language skills!

The Hmong people grow a variety of fruit and vegetables around the village. Most of their crops are so-called cash crops, that were introduced by people from the Royal project as substitutes for the opium poppy. Ban Mae Sa Mai has cooperated for many years with an institute named FORRU. This is the Forest Restoration Research Unit of Chiang Mai University. With the assistance of FORRU the villagers have restored the forest as much as possible to its original state.

After our activity, we return to our homestay for lunch. Most of the ingredients will again come from the fields of the village.

Mon Chaem viewpoint and Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park

After lunch, we will drive up to Mon Chaem, a fantastic viewpoint. Along the way, we will briefly stop at the FORRU tree nursery. Your guide will explain the forest restoration activities on the slopes of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.

After Mon Chaem, we will continue to our last stop: the Elephant Poo Poo Park. The Poo Poo paper company produces recycled and odorless paper products from the dung from elephants and other animals. You can see the whole process during a self-guided tour. They have great souvenirs here as well. Please note: there are no elephants here!

After the Poo Poo Park, we will drive back to Chiang Mai where your Hmong trekking program ends. We also offer a one-day trekking from Baan Doi Pui to Baan Mae Sa Mai as well as a more experiential, less demanding trip for those who have only one day to spare.

Highlights

Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple

Doi Pui Hmong village

Beautiful forest of Doi Pui-Doi Suthep National Park

Medium trekking, suitable for people with a normal fitness level

Hmong tribal culture

Hmong cooking course

Royal agricultural project

Majestic views

Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai

Interesting history of opium cultivation and substitution by cash crops

Homestay overnight

Forest restoration

In-depth village experience

Mon Chaem flower gardens and viewpoint

Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park

Please note that we enforce a strict dress code in the village and the use of alcohol during the homestay is not allowed We only will eat meals with ingredients that are available in the village. Don’t worry. You will enjoy the food.

Timeline

Day 1
08.00 – Departs from hotel
09.00 – Visit Doi Suthep temple
09.30 – Drive to Doi Pui village
09.45 – arrive and visit the village
10.00 – start hiking for 5-6 hours
12.00 – Picnic lunch on the way
12.30 – Continue hiking
15.30 – Arrive at Baan Mae Sa Mai, relax and visit the village
17.00 – Cooking diner
18.00 – dinner and relax at the village

Day 2
08.00 – Breakfast
09.00 – start second-day hiking
12.00 – Lunch at the village
13.00 – depart from the village
13.30 – visit Mon Cheam viewpoint
15.00 – visit Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park
15.00 – drive back to Chiang Mai
17.00 – drop off at the hotel

Inclusions

What is included?

Transportation by pick up truck
Accommodation in the village
One breakfast, two lunches, and one dinner
English speaking trekking guide
Limited medical insurance

What is not included?

All drinks except for drinking water during meals
Personal expenses
Tips

What to bring

Short sleeve shirts for the daytime (bring a spare one, just in case)
Long sleeves for the evening (especially in the winter Nov – Feb it can be a bit cold)
Shoes with good grip (especially in the rainy season from May-Sep)
A hat or cap
Raincoat
Sunscreen
Flip flops
Sunglasses
Your personal toiletries
Personal medication
Fully charged batteries or even an extra battery for your camera.
1500-2000 Thai Baht per person in small notes ((not bigger than 500 Thai Baht and plenty of 100 Thai Baht notes). This is for souvenirs, drinks, and tips.