Day 1: Chiang Mai – Karen village
Mae Malai local market
This is a private tour. Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 0800. We will drive to the area where we will start our Huay Nam Dang trekking. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai.
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 in this fascinating market. He will explain the different ingredients he will be using for dinner. There are some unusual things for sale at this market.
The lovely Mork Fah Waterfall
After Mae Malai, we continue to the beautiful Mork Fah waterfall, where you can swim and relax. This waterfall is part of the Doi Suthep Doi Pui National Park. After our wet waterfall experience, we will enjoy a simple but delicious lunch at a roadside restaurant. After lunch, we will continue to the Pong Deuad Hot Springs, where we will start trekking. These hot springs are already in Huay Nam Dang National Park, where our trekking takes place. We will hike for about four hours through the lush forest at a leisurely pace, and there is time to rest and take pictures.
Pine forests and majestic views in Huay Nam Dang National Park
The trail goes up and down until we reach a plateau covered with giant pine trees. These are the Pinus Kesiya, one of the pine tree species native to North Thailand. We take our time to enjoy the fantastic views. With good weather we can look as far as Doi Luang Chiang Dao, the third highest mountain of Thailand. After this, we walk down to the Karen village, where we will spend the night.
Overnight in the Karen village
After arrival in the village, you can relax, explore, or learn Thai cooking by helping your guide prepare dinner. He can explain the herbs and ingredients he uses. Learn to cook on a woodfire in a wok. It is not easy, but great fun! After dinner, your guide will take you to one of the village houses to meet some villagers. We will try to teach you some words in the Karen language. An elementary word to remember is Tablu, a greeting that means “thanks.”
Overnight will be in the Karen village.
Day 2: Karen Village – Chiang Mai
Breakfast and trekking through the lush forests
Wake up on the second day of your Huay Nam Dang trekking. Your guide will cook breakfast. After breakfast, we will start trekking into the forest for two to three hours, visiting the rice and vegetable fields of the villages along the way and learning about the villagers’ traditional cultivation methods. Living in a national park restricts the villagers in their agriculture: slash and burn is out of the question. Enjoy the lovely natural beauty. We have all the time in the world for our trekking so stop whenever you want to rest or to take pictures.
Afternoon trekking through the national park
After lunch, you will continue trekking for about two hours to the Karen village of Baan Mae Ma Nai, where we will spend the night. You will also have the chance to fish at Mae Tang River using local tools and learn how to construct a bamboo raft. The evening is free of planned activities to explore or relax. You can join your guide again in the kitchen, and cooking on a wood fire is an art. Walk around the village and chat with the locals. “tablu” is the greeting you have learned already.
Day 3: Karen village – rafting – Chiang Mai
The best bamboo rafting in North Thailand
Breakfast at the community. After breakfast, we will trek to the Taeng River (Mae Taeng) for about one hour. Our bamboo rafts* are waiting for us, and we will provide life jackets, and please wear them and read our bamboo raft policy.
Enjoy a wonderful bamboo raft trip to a Black Lahu village along the Mae Tang River. Here we will stop for a while, and your guide will explain the Black Lahu people. We will raft to a Shan village where we will have lunch. Drive back to Chiang Mai by truck, where your Huay Nam Dang trekking ends. We will drop you at your hotel at around 1600.
We also offer a two days program at Huay Nam Dang National Park.
*Please note that we might have to cancel the bamboo rafting trip due to the water level in the river in the rainy season (May until October), which happened a couple of times in August and September. In that case, we will offer bamboo rafting on the Ping River or another activity.