In Mae La Na, you can explore Shan lifestyle, history and Buddhist culture and trek into the forest to visit stunning caves. Tired? Relax with traditional massage and a herbal sauna!
What can you experience?
Mae La Na community lies in a beautiful valley, framed by paddy fields and the rugged mountains of Mae Hong Son province. Crafted from golden teak, Mae La Na temple is the serene heart of the village. Thai Yai (Shan) heritage and devout Buddhist beliefs are seen in every aspect of daily life.
The people of Mae La Na have revived an ancient Shan performance art, known as “Jaad Tai.” It is genuinely breathtaking to watch local dancers, dressed in colourful costumes, smoothly blend vibrant dance with the natural movements of wild animals, such as deer or peacock.
Several caves can be visited within 2-3 hours on foot, ranging from 300 meters to 12 kilometers long. Local guides lead you to explore underground rivers and waterfalls where you can admire rare species of fish, stalactites and stalagmites, stunning curtain and pearl-shaped limestone formations, and huge subterranean basalt columns.
After a forest trek, you can enjoy a herbal sauna, infused with the fragrant aromas of traditional medicinal herbs and a Thai massage to help you reinvigorate.
Homestay accommodation and food are available with members of Mae La Na CBT Club.
In mid April, visitors have the chance to experience the joyous “Poy Saang Long” ritual, where young men are carried by their relatives to the temple to ordain as novice monks.
How does it help?
In 1999, villagers in Mae La Na decided to form a community based tourism (CBT) group, with the goals of sharing village life with guests, raising funds to conserve natural resources and creating some extra income for local families. A local NGO, the Project for Recovery of Life and Culture (PRLC), coached the community to prepare homestays, guide visitors and manage tourism.
CBT has successfully supported a revival of Thai Yai culture among local youth, as Jaad Tai dance had been forgotten for several decades. In 2000, the art was revived by a local teacher. It gained interest and support from tourists. Mae La Na’s youth performers have now become experts, regularly invited to perform around the country.
Ten per cent of income from homestay services, CBT activities, and local guide services goes directly to support Community development; the local school and clinic, replanting and replenishing the community forest, restoration of the local Buddhist temple, and supporting regular community and cultural events.
Community members manage local natural resources using a forest zoning system. Villagers have established rules for forest management, ranging from conservation to careful utilization of forest products. The CBT club helps to enforce this system. CBT group members participate in reforestation, cave and watershed conservation, building fire breaks and aquatic conservation. All visitors are requested to use the services of a local community tour guide.
- Thailand Tourism Award for community based tourism in 2010
- Thai homestay standard Awards from 1997 to 1999 and from 1999 to 2001
- Tourism Management Award from Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in 1997
To organise your stay there you need to contact the CBT Network coordination centre in Chiang Mai which helps communities to communicate in English, at least 10 days prior to arrival.
CBT-Network Coordination Center (English and Thai Language)
Thiratee Chaijaree, CBT-N Coordinator
3rd Faculty of Agro-Industry, Chiangmai University,
Muang, Chiangmai 50100. Thailand
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel.+66-53 948286-7 | Fax : +66 5380 7001
Mobile : +668 1111 4871
Skype : thiratee
Mae La Na Community Based Tourism
Mr. Jamroon Wongjan (Coordinator),
15 Moo 1, Tambon Pang Ma Pha,
Amphor Pang Ma Pha, Mae Hong Son Province 58150
Ville de Mae Hong Son