The lead role which villagers play in PDA tours offer trekkers a unique opportunity to learn about tribal peoples, their cultural wealth and the challenges they face.
What to experience ?
Mountainous Chiang Rai is home to Northern Thailand’s most recognisable hill tribes. Trekkers can head into the hills, enjoy fresh air and stunning views, meet local people, learn about local livelihoods and observe the dynamic interaction between traditional and modern ways of life.
PDA Tour offers authentic, ethical 2 and 3 day treks, introducing travellers to rural villages. Moderate and strenuous treks are possible, along with simple homestays in Lahu, Lisu and Akha villages.
A highlight is Ban Lorcha, an Akha village where PDA and the villagers have established a community-based tourism project. Lorcha village used to be visited by mass-tour companies, disrupting village life without any benefits to local people.
The villagers regained control of tourism, developed an interpretative trail introducing visitors to defining aspects of local culture and livelihoods, such as traditional weaving, the sacred swing and village gate. Thai and English information boards explain the interests of each station along the trail. Local guides work with Thai guides to provide accurate information about Akha life and customs.
Shorter programmes explore Chiang Rai city, Doi Mae Salong, Doi Tung, Mae Sai, the Golden Triangle and Chiang Saen. Boat rides, elephant treks and cycling can be organised.
How does it help ?
PDA and Ban Lorcha village demonstrate that even the worst situations are reversible with a bit of will and commitment, and that a community can regain control of its tourism development for everyone’s benefit.
PDA Tour and PDA Chiang Rai worked together with the Association of Thai Travel Agents and the Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA) to establish the community-based tourism project at Ban Lorcha. At that time, Lorcha village was a typical, chaotic, mass-tourism site. To benefit from tourism, villagers harassed visitors to buy souvenirs, begged and charged for photographs.
PDA Tour is a social enterprise which donates all profits to support the development activities of The Population and Community Development Association (PDA). PDA Tour works to develop and manage tourism which maximises benefits to local people through training, improving local management, supporting community members, and establishing Village Development Banks which guarantee the broadest distribution of benefits.
PDA Tour helped villagers to establish homestay, food, massage, porter and interpretation groups, on a rotation system. Ten percent of villagers’ income is donated to the village bank. Visitors also pay an entrance fee. Local participation, improved management and the village fee, give local people a proud role representing their culture and community, along with fair compensation for their efforts. As a result, visitors are no longer harassed to buy souvenirs.
To prevent impacts on local culture, visitors are informed of certain taboos that they should not break – such as touching sacred objects at the village (e.g. the village gate or village swing).
- 2008 Kinnaree Award from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
- 2007 PDA received the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s award for its pioneering work in family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention.
- “First Innovative Tourism Product Award Contest”, from PATA presented at the 7th Mekong Tourism Forum (Read more)
PDA-Tour (All North Co. Ltd.)
620/25 Thanalai Rd.
A. Muang, Chiang Rai 57000
Tel/Fax: 053 – 740088
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com