Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary
This two day trip Ban Mae Sa Mai Hiking, Homestay Tour takes place very close to Chiang Mai. You will stay at a traditional H’mong village and take part in village life. A local H’mong guide will accompany us and explain about the history of these tribesmen and their interaction with their environment. You will pass former opium fields, enjoy magnificent vistas, collect seeds of trees which benefits the tree planting program of the village and participate in and learn about local life in this village.
DAY 1: CHIANG MAI -> BAN MAE SA MAI
Our guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. Drive to Suthep Mountain. Time of departure is flexible but we advise a very early departure, preferably around sunrise. First we will visit Wat Doi Suthep before the crowds arrive. Walk up the 300 steps up to the temple from where you have a majestic view over Chiang Mai. We continue to Doi Pui Village, a Hmong community, close to top of Doi Pui. Your guide will tell you about the turbulent history of this community. In the past the village was involved in opium cultivation. Nowadays the village is a major tourist attraction on Doi Suthep. We walk around the village before we meet our local H’mong guide who will accompany us on our hike to the H’mong village Ban Mae Sa Mai in the Mae Sa Valley. This hike will take about five hours including stops. We start hiking through the forest. The local Hmong guide will tell about the flora and about the history of opium cultivation on this mountain. You will also be stimulated to recognize certain plants and trees in the forest with the tree and plant leaflet we will provide you with. After a walk uphill we will arrive at an open area with fantastic views on both sides of the mountain. We will stop briefly to look at a footprint of Buddha before enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic spot. We will continue through the forest to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai. This village is the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand and gets very few visitors a marked contrast with Doi Pui Hmong Village. In the afternoon you will visit the Hmong Learning wisdom Centre and meet the local silversmith who will show you how to make beautiful silver jewelry. You will stay in a traditional Hmong family house with nice views. You can help collect vegetables for our dinner and help your hosts prepare the dinner. After dinner there is time for conversation and your hosts will introduce you to Hmong culture. Overnight in the village house.
DAY 2: BAN MAE SA MAI -> CHIANG MAI
Early rise with the roosters. You will engage in a morning activity with the villagers at sunrise. You will go out into the fields and work on planting or harvesting vegetables. Return to your house and enjoy a local breakfast. After breakfast there are several hikes possible around the village. You can either make a walk through the watershed forest of the village or hike to the FORRU reforestation plots and vegetable gardens of the village. We will also visit the Royal Project, located on the edge of the village and the small Hmong museum. We will have a last lunch in the village before we will visit Mae Sa elephant camp at 1430. This camp has three shows per day and allows elephant riding. We will do something different today. You will meet a couple of young elephants and their mothers. Your guide will give you information about the plight of the Asian elephant which is an endangered species. The camp also has a small information centre which we will visit. You can make pictures of the elephants and pose with them. We have brought some fruit with us that we will feed the elephants. The elephants will enjoy your visit. At 1530 we will continue to Elephant Poopoo Park. There are no elephants here. The Poopoopaper company produces recycled and odorless paper products from dung from elephants and other animals. You can see the whole process during a selfguided tour. They have great souvenirs here as well. Drive back to Chiang Mai. End of the program.
- Please note that we enforce a strict dress code in the village and the use of alcohol during the homestay is not allowed.
- We only will eat meals with ingredients that are available in the village. Don’t worry. You will enjoy the food.