Explore the Jungles and Rivers of Huai Nam Dang
Day 1: Chiang Mai – Ban Pong Noi
Visit the fantastic Mae Malai local market
Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 0800. Drive to the area where we will start our trip Explore the Jungles and Rivers of Huai Nam Dang begins. Our first stop will be at the local market at Mae Malai. Here your guide will do his shopping for the coming days. You can join him. He will explain the different ingredients he will be using for dinner. This market is one of the most interesting local markets in North Thailand.
The towering Mork Fah Waterfall
After our market visit, we will continue to the spectacular Mork Fah waterfall where you can have a swim and relax. This waterfall is part of the Doi Suthep Doi Pui National Park. Enjoy a simple but delicious lunch at a roadside restaurant. After lunch, we will continue to the Pong Deuad Hot Springs, where we will stop briefly. These hot springs are already part of the Huai Nam Dang National Park. Here we will start trekking. We will hike for about four hours through the wonderful forest, away from the modern world. The trail goes up and down but is not too difficult. About an hour before we reach the Sgaw Karen village where we will spend the night, we pass through an area with amazing views.
Overnight in Karen village
After arrival in the village, you can relax, explore the village or learn some Thai cooking by helping your guide prepare the dinner. He can explain the herbs and ingredients he uses. You will learn to cook on a woodfire in a wok, which is not easy, but great fun! After dinner, your guide will take you to one of the village houses where you will meet some of the villagers. We will teach you some words in the Sgaw Karen language such as “tablu”, the greeting. After that, it is time to enjoy our first night in a Karen village in the Huai Nam Dang National Park.
Day 2: Ban Pong Noi – Ban Mae Ma Nai
After breakfast more trekking
Wake up on the second day of your four-day journey through one of the best national parks in North Thailand. Your guide will cook a healthy breakfast. We will give you good food, which is necessary on this intense trip through the mountains. This has been the home for the Karen people for more than a century. It is time to say goodbye to the people of Pong Noi village and thank them for their hospitality. This morning we will start trekking into the forest for a trek lasting two to three hours, on the way visiting the rice and vegetable fields of the villages and learning about the villager’s traditional methods of cultivation.
Afternoon trekking through the national park
We will enjoy lunch in the jungle. After lunch, you will continue trekking for about two hours to the Karen village of Baan Mae Ma Nai. You will also have the chance to fish at Mae Tang River using local tools and learn the technique of constructing a bamboo raft. The evening is free of planned activities for you to explore or relax at your leisure. Overnight will be in the Karen village Ban Mae Ma Nai.
Day 3: Ban Mae Ma Nai – Ban Pong Ngan
From the Karen to the Lahu people
After breakfast, trek for about three to four hours to the Black Lahu village Ban Pong Ngan. Enjoy this lovely hike through the unspoiled forest. Your guide and his assistant will treat you to a real jungle-style lunch such as the Karen people have enjoyed for centuries. We really go back to the time when people knew how to live in the forest and use plants and herbs for food and medicine.
The Lahu people, hunters of the forest
After lunch, we continue our exploration of the forests and waterfalls of Huai Nam Dang to Ban Pong Ngan, a village of the Lahu people. After arrival, you have some time to explore the village which is on the Taeng River, a very nice location. Most of the villages in the Huai Nam Dang National Park are Karen communities so we think it is very nice to finish the trip with an overnight at a Lahu village. The Lahu people were once known as the best hill tribe hunters. Of course, hunting is not allowed anymore in protected areas. Your guide will again prepare some great food for dinner and will teach you some words in the Lahu language, which is very different from the Karen language. We will spend the last night in this Lahu community.
Day 4: Ban Pong Ngan – rafting – Chiang Mai
The best bamboo rafting in North Thailand
Breakfast at the community. Our bamboo rafts are waiting for us. We will provide life jackets. Please wear them and read our bamboo raft policy. Enjoy a wonderful bamboo raft trip along the Mae Tang River to a Shan village where we will have lunch. Drive back to Chiang Mai by truck where your Huai Nam Dang trip ends. We will drop you at your hotel at around 1600. We hope you have enjoyed our trip: Explore the Jungles and Rivers of Huai Nam Dang.
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