Thailand Hilltribe Holidays organize private tours to Mae Hong Son, the final frontier of Northern Thailand, to live, learn and share with local tribal peoples.
What to experience ?
Travelling with your own local, English speaking guide and driver, you are not stuck in a rigid schedule. You have the freedom to go further and explore more. Make spontaneous stops in local markets and food stalls; take the time to meet and discuss with local, tribal peoples; enjoy nature rambles and insights into traditional arts and crafts, such as silversmith and weaving.
One inspiring programme visits Lawa and Karen tribal communities, nestled in the mountains of Mae La Noi district, Mae Hong Son province. THH operate small-scale tours that supplement local livelihoods as farmers. You learn how the villagers farm and live off the land, collecting seasonal fruits, vegetables and forest herbs. If you’re lucky you may even catch a village celebration.
Accommodation is with a local Lawa or Karen family in a traditional wooden stilt house. There is electricity. However, bedding is simple bamboo mats and blankets, and showers can be very refreshing with no hot water! A typical Lawa meal, shared with your host family, would consist of lots of rice, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and soy, flavoured with wild jungle herbs, chilli and spices.
THH specialize in family-friendly tours, where your kids can bond and play with village children.
How does it help ?
Thailand Hilltribe Holidays designs programmes based on the principles of cross-cultural respect and improving the welfare of host communities. Projects include youth tour guide training, assisting village schools to place volunteer English teachers, and the promotion of village handicrafts.
The company creates useful additional income for local people through homestays, providing meals and handicraft workshops where village artisans teach tourists how to make handicrafts such as silver jewellery. THH’s transparent payment policy allows visitors to purchase services directly from local people. Benefits are spread among families and poorest families are considered first. THH also provides opportunities for travellers to give back to communities after their visit. For example, after their stay, many tourists have placed orders for village handicrafts. THH has assisted villagers in processing and shipping these orders. THH also employs local guides and drivers, supporting them through training and career development.
Taking small groups and varying the trekking routes reduce environmental impacts. THH visits a Royal Agricultural Development Centre, which teaches organic farming methods to villagers, in an effort to combat growing problems caused by the heavy use of pesticides by farmers. THH’s office was refurbished using recycled wood and non-scarce resources.
Tourists are informed about culture and customs in Thailand and given guidance on appropriate behaviour in villages. THH consults with local people when planning any activities, including open discussions with figureheads in the village such as headmasters and village leaders.