As Milja and her newly-wed wife Meeri booked their honeymoon trip, they wished to go to a gay-friendly country with good food and off the beaten track possibilities for experiencing real culture, nature and people.
They wanted to get a versatile view into Thailand’s culture, and combine island hopping and city visits to a Duara village stay in Tung Lakorn, near Chiang Mai. This Thai farmer village is surrounded by lush hills and elephant sanctuaries, in Mae Taeng, just an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai.
”We were overwhelmed with Thai hospitality. We, as a gay couple, were well received and no questions or weird looks were given” tells Milja.
At first, the village visit was exciting as there was no common language, and you don’t know if you may help with dishes or should you just stay put. But quickly the first shyness wore off, and everything started to feel natural.
”Duang, the contact person was so great. He helped us get to know the village and our hosts. And he is a well-known vegetarian chef, so the food was divine!” Milja tells.
“Travelling as a vegetarian in Asia is not always easy, but Tung Lakorn makes it all up. Fresh, local and always tasty. We love spicy Thai food, but this homemade food exceeded all our expectations.”
”Life’s pace in the village is very different from the city. It felt good to wind down, just be and breath. Life is simple there. Together with our host we took hay to the cows and sheep and went to the Wednesday market to get supplies. We even got a Thai massage at our house!”
“The elephant tourism is a big and controversial thing in Chiang Mai. There are a lot of different types of elephant camps, sanctuaries and shows. Some of them are more ethical than others. Choose an elephant sanctuary wisely; there should be no riding or shows, and gentle methods for training the animals. Read reviews on TripAdvisor about ethical camps which do not ride elephants!”
Milja and Meeri would recommend a village stay to everyone who needs adventure and wants to meet real people and peek into their authentic lives. Tung Lakorn is very easy and approachable. “We would recommend it to beginners, food lovers and of course newly weds!”
INTERVIEW: IINA / DUARA, PHOTOS: MEERI & MILJA AND DUANG
PS. Duara warmly welcomes all LGBTQ couples to stay in our villages. However, if you are travelling to more conservative countries such as Sri Lanka or Tanzania, we advice you to contact Duara team so that we can make sure you don’t have any hazzle with sleeping arrangements etc.
The same goes with special diets: being a vegetarian isn’t usually a problem in homestay in Asia, but for example Maasai diet contains lot of meat so they aren’t necessarily familiar with for example vegan diet.