Thailand Karen Home-Stay Trek

Walk from village to village on forested trails of northern Thailand's hill country
Overview

overview

Accompany a local guide on this village-to-village active, community-based ecotourism hiking adventure. You will trek in a little-visited, heavily-forested, mountainous area of northwest Thailand. Your local guide will invite you to learn about the traditions of the different Karen cultures and of the other indigenous people of the north. Fishing, swimming, rafting, singing, story-telling, elephants, local farming, and natural herb collecting can all be part of the experience. You will meet healers, hunters, sword makers, artists, and elephant handlers. The teak and sub-tropical deciduous forest through which you trek contains a great variety of birds including hornbills, sunbirds, owls, broadbills, parrots, ibis, and drongos. You will have a chance to meet women of the long-necked Karen tribe near the Pai River. The trip ends with a night at beautiful Fern Resort, perhaps the most beautiful sustainable-ecolodge project in Thailand. You may want to extend a night or two!

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Chiang Mai
    Orchids greet you everywhere, growing in the forests and cultivated in the villages

    On arrival in Chiang Mai, you meet your guide who will transfer you to your hotel. Most people will arrive from Bangkok, but you may have visited other areas of Thailand or Southeast Asia.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Holiday Inn or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Mae Hong Son/Karen Villages
    Visit nearby hilltribe villages

    After breakfast, you depart by 4WD vehicle through Sa Merng-Ban Wat Chan to Mae Hong Son. Along the way, enjoy beautiful mountain and alpine scenery with the chance to stop for a picnic lunch. You continue off road to Ban Huai Tong Koe, a white Karen village. By late afternoon, arrive in  Ban Huai Tong Koe and check in with your home-stay family. Huai Tong Kaw is a good place for visitors to explore the Karen culture and is easy to reach by road. However, the village still preserves their traditional knowledge and is still home to blacksmiths, herbal gurus, spiritual leaders, ritual singers, and sword dancers. The highlight of the visit is a waterfall almost 500 feet high. Enjoy dinner of local Karen food and talking with the locals.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Karen Home-stay
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Huai Pu Ling Waterfall/Ban Huai Hee
    Swim at the base of a waterfall

    Early in the morning, hike to Huai Pu Ling waterfall and then on to Ban Huai Hee. You will be hiking up and then down into the valley over very steep terrain and narrow paths, as well as through different layers of forsts, including evergreen and mixed deciduous forest which the villagers are trying to preserve. You continue hiking up the steep mountain to the top from which the scenery is spectacular (5,412 ft). Along the way, you will find a variety of wild orchids. Huai Hee village is the first Karen village to set up successful community-based tourism to promote their relationship with the surrounding ecosystem to  outsiders and supplement their income, while their livelihood remains primarily based on rotational farming on surrounding mountain slopes. With more than 200 years of settlement history, the population of the village is less than 150. Overnight with a local Karen family.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Karen Home-stay
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Ban Huai Hee/Ban Huai Kung
    Bamboo grows wild and tall

    Hike down into the valley of Mae Samad River. Along the way, there will be many river crossings over water levels of about three feet and hiking over steep terrain. You arrive at the village of Huai Hung, a small Buddhist village consisting of about ten households with no direct road access and situated near the Mae Samad river at 1,245' above sea level. They call this village "Baan Lak Nai Pa-Yai," meaning "small village situated in the ancient forest." The village limits the number of visitors. The villagers are dependent on fresh water fish in addition to hunting game, paddy rice farming, and gathering forest products. Huai Kung village is a great place for swimming, and you will also enjoy the locally cooked fish.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Karen Home-stay
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Hike to Pa Bong Village/Mae Hong Son
    Fern Resort fits naturally into the landscape

    Today, you will have a more leisurely hike down into the valley of Mae Samad River with more river crossings and steep terrain. It takes about four or five hours to hike to Pa Bong village through deciduous forests of teak, bamboo, and red wood trees. From Pa Bong village, you make a short 30-minute drive to the unique Fern  Resort in Mae Hong Son. The resort is outside of the city at the edge of a vast national park and is designed to attract wildlife and offer easy access to the forest. You will stay in comfortable deluxe air-conditioned cabins.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Fern Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Mae Hong Son/Chiang Mai
    Travel by boat on the Pai River

    After breakfast at the resort, you check out and depart for the boat landing, where you board a long tail boat for a ride along the beautiful Pai River. Along the way, stop and visit another Karen village. This is followed by an elephant ride through the jungle. After lunch at the Fern Restaurant, transfer to the Mae Hong Son Airport for the flight to Chiang Mai, where you transfer to your hotel with the rest of the day free to explore on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Holiday Inn or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Chiang Mai/Onward
    Buddhism in Thailand is vibrant. Visit Doi Suthep Temple in Chaing Mai

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to Bangkok or other Asian destinations. Ask us about extending to other areas of Thailand including Chiang Rai, Ayutthaya, or Bangkok or perhaps spend some time at one of Thailand's many nature reserves or beautiful beaches such as those on the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Weekly departures Oct-Mar
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$1,750
Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai flight add $200 (estimated)
Single Supplement:
$200
*No single room available at home-stay
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
7 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
1
Homestays to charming lodges
Group Size:
2-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
3
Moderate hiking

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes y... read more

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

Angkor Wat 3-Day Odyssey

Duration: 3 days

This excursion focuses on the amazing ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural legacy of a period of bizarre regimes, is the most famous and confusing of the ruins in southeast Asia. This makes a perfect extension to any ... read more

Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

This excursion takes you to Siem Reap where you explore the magnificent Angkor sites followed by a ride on the Tonle Sap to see the local fishing villages. Then a short flight to Phnom Penh where you visit interesting museums, including Toul Sleng, a... read more

Bangkok Exploration

Duration: 1 days

Accompanied by your personal guide you will meet exotic, ancient, enigmatic Bangkok head-on. After completing this multi-transport, mobile cultural immersion seminar, you should be able to go anywhere in Bangkok by train, ferry, sky-train, taxi or tu... read more

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

Sukhothai, Thailand's Early Kingdom

Duration: 3 days

Consider adding a couple of days to your Thailand odyssey to explore Sukhothai and other towns and ruins of Thailand's ancient kingdom.

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