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Thailand behind tourism?

Take a couple days off from your holiday in Chiang Mai and head North. Mae Taeng district is famous for its elephant camps, rivers with white water rafting, forests and green hills. In our village Tung Lakorn, only one hour from Chiang Mai, you get to experience rural Thailand at its best – without other tourists around. Start picking your ingredients form the vegetable garden back yard or from a local farmers' market and learn to prepare a delicious Thai meal with the help of your hosts.

If you want to experience Karen hill tribe culture, Duara has two villages for you:

Pha Mon is located in Doi Inthanon national park with evergreen cloud forests and the highest mountain peak in all of Thailand. The village itself is hidden in the rainforest with magnificent mountain views. Join Karen people to their work in the rice fields, try traditional weaving, go hiking or just enjoy the sunset in this pittoresque village.

Pong Num Ron in Lampang province offers you an unforgettable nature experience. Bathe in a hot spring, climb your way to the hidden waterfall in the jungle or hike in the forest along the river. You will be one of the first foreigners ever entering these spots.

 
 You can escape the selfie-taking crowds to our peaceful Karen village hidden Pha Mon in a small valley in the middle of the mountains at Doi Inthanon national park.

You can escape the selfie-taking crowds to our peaceful Karen village hidden Pha Mon in a small valley in the middle of the mountains at Doi Inthanon national park.


How to get there?

our villages are off the beaten path but not impossible to reach

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  • Tung Lakorn is just a bit more than an hour away from Chiang Mai and can be easily reached with a bus going to Fang. From here you can also continue to the famous Pai town, which is in the same direction.

  • For Pha Mon and Pong Nam Ron you need to be prepared to pay some extra for the pick up (if you are not travelling with your own vehicle) as there is no public transportation available all the way to the village.

  • For Pha Mon, take a local bus to Chom Thong and continue with a yellow truck to Doi Inthanon. You can enjoy the view and the nice garden on the top while waiting for someone from the village to come and pick you up. You can also try to negotiate with tourist coaches going from Chiang Mai to Doi Inthanon to drop you off at Doi Inthanon hospital, where one of the villagers can pick you up.

  • Pong Num Ron in Lampang is the last village before the wilderness at the end of the public road. You can take a public truck to Soem Ngam where someone from the village will pick you up. If you are coming all the way from Chiang Mai with your own car or motorbike, stop at the famous Wat Phra That Lampang Luang temple on the way here.


Good to know about Thailand

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FESTIVALS

In January you can experience Thai sakura, the cherry blossom in Doi Inthanon national park, where our village Pha Mon is located. Hop off the yellow truck near the hospital to catch the best view and make sure to have your camera with you.

Songkran, the water festival in April, is an important event in Northern Thailand. It's a big celebration in our villages Pong Nam Ron and Thung Lakorn.

Loy Krathong festival is celebrated on the full moon night of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, usually in November. It is one of the most romantic celebrations when people send small decorated flower baskets with candles to float in rivers at dark. 

Just before Loy Krathong, another famous festival is held specifically in Chiang Mai. It is called Yee Peng lantern festival and it must be the most photographed event in Thailand with hundreds of lanterns rising to the sky as local people make merit and a wish for good fortune in the new year.

Karen village culture

RAINy SEASONS

When thinking about the best time for your trip to Northern Thailand, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are two very different seasons.

  • Winter in the North is the dry season. The temperatures are quite low especially at night. If you are going to our villages between December and February, bring warm clothes with you. In Pha Mon the temperature might drop even close to zero degrees at night and mornings are cold. Remember that houses do not necessarily have window glasses so it's equally cold inside and outside. Luckily warm blankets are available.

  • Dry season means that the land is also dry. This is not the best season for cultivation so don't expect to see rice fields in green.

  • March is not optimal for travelling to Pong Num Ron as it is so dry that there are lots of forest fires and black smoke in the air.

  • Summertime is hotter,  and May and June are more humid and rainy. From June to October is the best time to enjoy beautiful rice fields in all our villages.

karen village culture

cultural tips

Tung Lakorn is a Thai village, while Pha Mon and Pong Nam Ron are populated with Karen hill tribe. Karens are a bit more strict in following cultural rules in Thailand which include for example:

  • Head and hair is considered as the highest part of the body so don't touch them. Feet are the lowest so it is highly impolite to point or touch anyone with your feet or put them on the table. 

  • Always take off your shoes when entering a house (and sometimes even a shop or a restaurant). Locals use even separate sandals for toilets.

  • Greet by putting your hand palms together under your cheek and bowing slightly.

  • Thais usually have western type of toilets but hand showers instead of  toilet paper. If you bring your own paper, make sure to dispose it into a plastic bag, not into the toilet. 

  • Villagers usually have bed sheet only on top of the matress but  they are not used to have one to cover the blanket.
    Bring your own sheet or sleeping bag if feel that you need it.  

  • Don't sit on a pillow, touch pigs or knock the wood.

  • Wear modest clothing in Karen villages.


Help! I still don't know which village to choose?

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Don't worry, just send us message and explain what puzzles you. Annika from Duara will be in contact with you shortly. You can also email Annika directly at annika@duaratravels.com