Meet the Hmong People of Doi Suthep
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 for your Hmong trekking to Ban Mae Sa Mai. Drive to Suthep Mountain. Time of departure is flexible but we advise a very early departure, preferably around sunrise. First we will visit Wat 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. We continue to 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 cultivation. Nowadays the village is a major tourist attraction on Doi Suthep. We walk around the village before we meet our local Hmong guide who will accompany us on our hike to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai in the Mae Sa Valley.
The Hike to Ban Mae Sa Mai
This hike will take about five hours including stops. It is definitely one of the most beautiful day hikes you can do in the vicinity of Chiang Mai. We start hiking through the forest. The local Hmong guide will tell about the flora and about the history of opium cultivation on this mountain. After a walk uphill we will arrive at an open area with fantastic views on both sides of the mountain. 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. This village is the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand and gets very few visitors a marked contrast with Doi Pui Hmong Village.
Meet the Hmong of Ban Mae Sa Mai
In the afternoon you will visit the Hmong Learning wisdom Centre and meet the local silversmith who will show you how to make beautiful silver jewellery. You will stay in a traditional Hmong family house with nice views. You can help collect vegetables for our dinner and help your hosts prepare the dinner. After dinner there is time for conversation and your hosts will introduce you to Hmong culture. Overnight in the village house.
Day 2: Ban Mae Sa Mai – Chiang Mai
Morning hike and Royal Project
Early rise with the roosters. It is the second day of your Hmong trekking to Ban Mae Sa Mai. You will engage in a morning activity with the villagers at sunrise. You will go out into the fields and work on planting or harvesting vegetables. Return to your house and enjoy a local breakfast. After breakfast there are several hikes possible around the village. You can either make a walk through the watershed forest of the village or hike to the FORRU reforestation plots and vegetable gardens of the village. We will also visit the Royal Project, located on the edge of the village.
Mon Chaem viewpoint and Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park
We will have a last lunch in the village before we will drive up to Mon Cham, a fantastic viewpoint. At 1530 we will continue to Elephant Poopoo Park. There are no elephants here. The Poopoopaper company produces recycled and odorless paper products from dung from elephants and other animals. You can see the whole process during a selfguided tour. They have great souvenirs here as well.
Drive back to Chiang Mai where your Hmong trekking to Ban Mae Sa Mai program ends.