Day 1: Chiang Mai – Karen Village
Meet the Elephants
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel at 0800 for your two-day “All in the Family: Hill Tribes and Elephants” tour. Your transportation will be an airconditioned minivan with safety belts. The minivan will be on standby during your trip and will transfer your luggage to the village, where you will spend the night. During the trekking, you will only have to carry your camera, raincoat, and drinking water.
Our first stop will be at a typical local Northern Thai market where your guide will do his shopping for the coming days and explain some of the local specialties for sale here. Drive to Mae Wang and then to Mae Sapok, our first destination today. This trip takes place in the Mae Wang area.
Here we will visit an elephant camp which we carefully selected. You will join a half-day elephant activity; others will join you. Your activity today includes preparing a treat for these majestic animals, and you will also feed them a self-made delicacy. Change into a typical Thai farmer’s dress over your swimming gear and join them in their favorite activity: playing in the water. Tip: put your swimming gear under your clothes before departure from Chiang Mai. There are plenty of photo opportunities. You will learn about the Asian elephant, which is, unfortunately, threatened with extinction. We will enjoy lunch at the camp.
A Gentle Trek to the Karen Village
After lunch, it is a short drive to the starting point of the trek. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. This afternoon we will walk mostly uphill. We will follow a high mountain trail along a sparkling stream with crystal clear water until we reach a camp beside a waterfall. Here we will stay for a while, enjoying a swim in the cold pool. After this, we will trek further up the mountain to the first Karen village. Here we will stop for a chat and say hello to the many pigs. Then we are set for the final stage to the Karen village, where we will spend the night.
After arrival in the Karen village where we will spend the night, your guide will introduce you to your host for tonight. You can explore the village while he prepares dinner, and you are welcome to help him with cooking. We also encourage you to practice some Karen language with your host after dinner while your guide.
Overnight will be in a local homestay. For more information on our homestays, please have a look here.
Day 2: Karen Village – Chiang Mai
Trekking and Royal Project
Rise with the roosters. Your guide will prepare a hearty breakfast. After breakfast, we will start our descent back to civilization, the second and last day of your hill tribe trekking. We will first visit the Royal Project of the village. Your guide will explain this exciting agricultural project. The late King Bhumibol initiated the Royal Projects to improve the life of the tribal people of Thailand. The kids will learn about local agriculture and get their hands dirty, helping the local people for half an hour.
Then we will descend from the mountains to the lowlands. We pass rice fields and trek through a beautiful dipterocarp forest before we reach a pretty waterfall, where we will spend some time relaxing, swimming, and enjoying nature. After a short walk, we will see our minivan parked along the road. Drive to the private house where we will have lunch.
Bamboo rafting on the Wang River
After lunch, we will drive to a small rafting camp. Our bamboo rafts will be waiting for us. Enjoy a relaxing and, at times, exciting bamboo raft trip for about 45 minutes on the Wang River. The Wang River streams into the Ping River. Rivers were a primary means of transportation when the roads were of poor quality. Local people used bamboo rafts to transfer people and goods this way. There are some small rapids in the rainy season, but nothing to be worried about. The river is not deep, and it is safe for children and a lot of fun. We will provide life jackets, so please wear them. Look here for our bamboo rafting policy.
After this, we board our van for the drive back to Chiang Mai. It is the end of your “All in the Family: Hill Tribes and Elephants” tour.