Doi Pui Chiang Mai Day Trek is the best and most interesting day trek you can make out of Chiang Mai. Not much driving is involved and the forest and the views are beautiful. You will meet the Hmong, who are originally from Southern China. Today you will visit their villages and learn about their history, their customs and traditions and about their current way of life. Cultivation of opium was very much part of the Hmong way of life. In 1969 King Bhumibol Adulyadej visited Doi Pui. He was concerned that the slash and burn practice of opium production was, apart from being illegal, destroying watershed areas. He initiated a Royal Project, persuading several Hmong communities to move from the high mountain to lower elevations where cash crops such as tomatoes, cucumber and strawberries would flourish. You will see the remains of the old settlements and taste the strawberries as we walk past the fields. We will drive to the Hmong village of Doi Pui with a stop at the Doi Suthep temple. Start a beautiful four hour trek on a nature trail on the slopes of Doi Suthep to Ban Mae Sa Mai, the largest Hmong community in Northern Thailand. We will pass huge wild banana trees and witness a natural water source. Now and then we will enjoy the magnificent views through the thick foliage. The trek will be done at a leisurely pace. There will be enough time for making photographs and enjoying the natural environment. We will visit the small Hmong museum before return back to Chiang Mai.
Our guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. Drive to Suthep Mountain. First we will visit Wat Doi Suthep, arguably the most famous temple of Chiang Mai, 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 (Doi means mountain in Northern Thai language).
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 Hmong guide who will accompany us on our hike to the Hmong village Ban Mae Sa Mai in the Mae Sa Valley. This hike will take about six hours including many stops to take pictures and enjoy the forest and views. Our Hmong guide will share his knowledge of the forest with us and will tell stories of the past. 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. You will learn about a very interesting project of FORRU, the forest restoration unit of Chiang Mai University. We will visit the small Hmong museum and the FORRU tree nursery.
Return to Chiang Mai.