Day 1: Chiang Mai- Palong village
Bamboo rafting and local market
This is a private tour. Your guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel at 0800 for your Palong hilltribe trekking. You will drive north into the mountains near Chiang Dao for your two-day Palong Hilltribe trekking. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. First, we will stop at a local market. Your guide will do some shopping in the coming days. He will take you along and will explain the different ingredients he will be using for dinner.
Then, continue to a riverside camp on the Taeng River, where you will experience rafting on a traditional bamboo raft. After this, we will have lunch in a local restaurant in Chiang Dao. After filling our stomachs, we will continue to Chiang Dao, the Palong village, where we will start trekking. We pass through an area with beautiful, extensive rice fields where we will stop to take a picture.
Trekking and village overnight
The trail has a few steep hills, but most of it is relatively easy. We will walk for about two hours through the forest. We will invite you to recognize wild ginger, rattan, and the pitcher plant in the woods, and your guide will tell you all about bamboo and its many uses. Before we arrive in the village, we will pass through the agricultural fields of the community.
Late in the afternoon, we will reach our final destination today, the Palong village Mae Chon. There are only nine Palong villages in Northern Thailand. The women wear a distinctive costume mostly in red, with rattan hoops and a silver belt worn around the waist. They migrated from Myanmar to Thailand in the mid-1980s.
Cooking the “Palong way”
After arrival in the village, you will meet your host and enjoy a cup of local tea. Then we will start with a cooking experience. Your host will teach you to cook a delicious dinner in a wok on a wood fire. Your guide will explain the typical herbs and ingredients. We will also teach you a couple of words in the Palong or Dara-ang language. This ethnic group speaks a language that is very different from the Thai language. “Hai moo dtuh” means “thank you.”
After dinner, you will meet some of the villagers, and you will learn about the turbulent history of this village. You can practice your Palong language.
Tonight we will stay in a bamboo house next to a village house. You will sleep on a mattress with a mosquito net. We will provide a sleeping bag or sheet bag.
Day 2: Palong Village – Chiang Mai
Textiles and agriculture
The second day of your Palong hill tribe trekking starts. After the sounds of nature and the locals wake you up, your guide will prepare breakfast. After breakfast, your guide will show you around the village. He will explain the village shrine and the ‘huja rawl,’ the ‘village heart.’ We will teach you the basic skills of weaving! We will visit an exciting textile weaving project where local women produce beautiful sarongs and shoulder bags.
Next, we will visit the garden of Sukhum, where lots of different fruits and vegetables grow. We will get into the fields and help the villagers with their work for about one hour. You will learn how daily life in a remote mountain is. After this, we will say goodbye to the villagers and start trekking for about one hour to a Lahu village. Here we will visit a fascinating spirit temple and a blacksmith. After this, we will continue hiking for one to one and a half hour to a Karen village where our vehicle will be waiting for us.
Explore the Chiang Dao Cave Temple
Drive to the foot of Doi Luang Chiang Dao. It is the third highest mountain in Thailand and dominates the landscape. At the entrance of the cave, we will enjoy a late lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, we will visit the famous Chiang Dao Cave. We will spend some time in this beautiful limestone cave, which has been a sacred place for the local people. We will also take a look at the three remaining Buddhist shrines behind the assembly hall, built by followers of the “engineer monk” Kruba Srivichai. In 2021 we hired a couple of people to clear the vegetation so these shrines became visible again.
Return to Chiang Mai, where your Palong Hilltribe trekking ends. We will drop you off at the hotel between 1600 and 1700. Thanks for traveling with us!