Experience Akha life in a simple mountaintop hut; explore a self-sufficient lifestyle; witness ancient ceremonies and support inspiring community efforts to preserve culture and forest.
What to experience ?
Guests reach Huay Kee Lek community in Wawi sub-district, Chiang Rai province, along a 3.5 km mountain road. The village slowly emerges into view, perched impressively on a mountain ridge.
A visit to Huay Kee Lek gives you a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the Akha, Northern Thailand’s most iconic hill tribe. Huay Kee Lek was established according to traditional Akha beliefs, on a bright and sunny mountain ridge. Ceremonies passed orally between generations form a living connection between ancient beliefs and daily activities.
You stay in a simple, bamboo hut, without electricity and hot water. Men and women sleep in separate rooms, according to Akha tradition. You can taste Akha dishes and admire the craftwork required to create traditional Akha dress and artefacts. Local guides accompany you to important cultural sites, the Akha Swing and village Spirit Gate. Here, you learn about the religious rites that govern and protect the Akha, including taboos, which must be observed.
Your guide will lead you along the nature trail, to learn how they grow and gather crops, and see the wild plants, fish and animals that support the villagers’ self-sufficient lives. Guides also explain the agricultural cycle and ceremonies they perform throughout the year.
In addition to exploration of the village, local people are keen to share their living traditions with guests. Visits can be scheduled to coincide with ceremonies, throughout the cycle of seasons.
How does it help ?
Income from CBT services is distributed to homestay providers, local tour guides and participating basketry, handicrafts, blacksmith and cultural groups. Each guest also makes a contribution into the Community and Environment Fund. Overall, the distribution of income is 60% for members of the tourism club, 15% to the community fund, 15% towards Akha cultural activities at school and 10% is donated to the sub-district government office. A new management committee is elected every 2 years.
Huay Kee Lek Tourism Club helps to protect 64 hectares of community conservation forest. Akha beliefs are a cornerstone of their natural resource management practices. Akha rules forbid local people from cutting down trees in sacred areas, including the watershed. In May, the mating season, it is forbidden to hunt big animals. Hunting pregnant animals is also banned.
CBT has helped to stimulate interest in Akha culture among Akha youth, and to share Akha culture with the outside world. Local people feel proud when they see that tourists are interested in their local way of life.
To limit the impacts of tourism on local traditions and the environment, guests are required to respect community regulations; do not touch any sacred artefacts, in the homestay, male and female must sleep separately, even if they are a couple.
To organize your stay there you need to contact the CBT Network coordination center in Chiang Mai which helps communities to communicate in English, at least 10 days prior to arrival.
CBT-Network Coordination Centre (English and Thai Language)
Thiratee Chaijaree, CBT-N Coordinator
3rd Faculty of Agro-Industry, Chiang Mai University,
Muang, Chiang Mai 50100. Thailand
Tel.+66-53 948286-7 | Fax: +66 5380 7001
Mobile: +668 1111 4871
Huay Kee Lek Tourism Club (Poor mobile phone coverage)
Moo 9, Tambon Wawee, Amphor Mae Suay, Chiang Rai Province 57180