Baan Mae Sa Mai, the Hmong village
Introductory lecture before the tour
This trip is a two-day/one-night program that starts with a short introductory lecture of one and a half hours about the Hmong people’s recent history and current situation on Doi Suthep. There are ten Hmong villages around Chiang Mai. Ban Mae Sa Mai is the largest and probably the most interesting and scenic. The lecture will take about one hour, after which there is time for questions. Here you can find more about the history and background of hill tribe trekking in Chiang Mai. The talk can take place in the hotel or guesthouse where the group is staying.
Day 1: Chiang Mai – Baan Mae Sa Mai
We will depart from Chiang Mai at 0800 by local truck and drive to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai in Doi Suthep Doi Pui National Park. Our local Hmong guide welcomes us. After a short introduction, we will embark on a walk to the fields around the village. The Hmong people have benefitted from agricultural projects initiated by His Royal Highness King Bhumibol. We learn about The Royal Project and enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. Our local Hmong guide will tell about the traditional medicine of the Hmong people.
Meeting with local students.
After lunch, we will walk back to the village. Back in the village, we will have a short language lesson which is a lot of fun. Next, a meeting with young people from the village will occur during which the students can practice. We will divide into small groups. Students will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with Hmong students. This is an essential session. Afterward, a student of each group will share their experience, after which we will have an evaluation session.
Sowmee, the silversmith of the village
You will meet the silversmith of the village as well. Sowmee made jewelry for the Royal Family of Thailand and is a highly respected craftsman. Then it is time for dinner. After dinner, we will enjoy a short cultural performance by local people. They will show you some of their traditional instruments.
Day 2: Baan Mae Sa Mai – Chiang Mai
Meeting with villagers
After breakfast, we will meet with local people in a question-and-answer session. We will visit the house of the local Shaman and learn about Hmong culture and traditions. Back in the Hmong cultural center, we will evaluate the trip, and there will be a group discussion. After this, we will have our last lunch with fresh vegetables from the fields around the village. When we have finished our lunch, we will say goodbye to our Hmong hosts. Then we drive to the nearby nursery of FORRU, the Forest Restoration Unit of Chiang Mai University. Villagers manage the nursery.
Forest restoration of the watershed area
For many years, the village has been working with FORRU to restore their watershed area that provides their fields with water. FORRU has developed the framework species method of reforestation, which has been used to restore the evergreen forest on degraded former agricultural sites, such as some poppy fields. At the nursery, FORRU staff will brief you shortly on this method of reforestation. After that, we will get our hands dirty in the nursery. Then it is time to drive back to Chiang Mai after a great educational experience with the Hmong people.
We offer several tours to the Hmong village Baan Mae Sa Mai, such as the day tour the Opium Trail and a two-day/one-night trekking. Please look here for a story on the trail from the Hmong village Baan Doi Pui to Baan Mae Sa Mai.