Trekking in Northern of Thailand. Practical information
About trekking in the Northern provinces of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong son) we are not a little concerned on the pages of our website. In this article we decided to collect and summarize all the information so you can decide for yourself whether to purchase organized trekking trips in the mountains, and exotic tribes yourself. You will learn: how much for the trekking in Northern Thailand; where you need to buy a guided tour; what you can do when visiting the hill tribes, and what not; how to prepare for a hike in the jungle and mountains.
Even considering all the disadvantages of organized trekking excursions, we strongly recommend yourself to go Hiking in the jungle or in the mountains without a guide. It's dangerous!
Trekking in Thailand is one of the most interesting city in the North of the country. We can say that if you visited the North of Thailand and not wander through the jungle or mountains, not visited remote villages and exotic tribes – you are not fully acquainted with the North of Thailand.
Go on a trekking tour, simply put, camping, independently, and as part of an organized private or group tour. We strongly recommend you to do it as part of an organised tour. Before you decide on independent trekking, you should soberly assess their strength. It is necessary to have Hiking experience, it is good to navigate and the maps have survival skills. And, in the end, you just have to have everything you need for a serious campaign. Besides, Hiking in unfamiliar terrain can just be not interested because you will not know the best places to visit, what to pay attention to. In the case of an organized tour you have to make sure only the minimum of personal belongings and appropriate clothing. All the rest will do the tour organizers.
Where and how to purchase trekking tours?
In the popular tourist towns of the North of Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong son, Chiang Dao, Thaton, Fang, Pai and many more) you can purchase trekking tours. You can book and purchase tours in advance via the Internet, you can do it on the spot. Win on price when purchasing a tour through the Internet you get. The only advantage of booking in advance online you can sitting at home quietly and read in detail information about tour program, reviews and plan everything in advance in time. Pay special attention to the planning time, since you may find that your favorite tour departs every day, and your stay in the North is limited.
The most popular and widespread point of departure for trekking tours is Chiang Mai. Slightly less popular are the city of Mae Hong son and Chiang Rai. Usually the tours of these cities are cheaper than similar tours from other cities. Especially famous for its large quantity and low cost Chiang Mai. That is due simply to the large number of proposals and a large number of traveling groups. It may well be that having arrived in Chiang Rai, which is visited by not so many tourists, you will have to pay for the tour in two times more than in Chiang Mai simply because there won't be enough number of tourists and you have to go in for a personal tour. At the same time, tours of Chiang Mai's "famous" for its low quality, but more on that below.
Tours vary greatly in terms of duration, hence the big price difference. In most cases, the price includes everything you need: meals, overnight in tents or in a special guest house in the village, transfers, elephant trekking, porters etc. are Not included in the cost of most rounds of drinks and the drinks, tipping to guides and porters, repellents, gifts for residents of the tribes, Souvenirs. Duration of tours can vary from 1 day (without overnight stay) to several days. The most popular 2-day (one night) and 3 day (two night) trips.
The cheapest group tours cost from 600 baht per day. But the minimum price for lower-quality group tour starts from 1000 baht per day, and good tours cost around 2,000 baht per day. For private tours you will have to pay a few thousand.
Quality tours, especially from Chiang Mai, can you really disappoint. This is particularly true for the cheapest tours. To get quality and interesting trekking, you should carefully examine the program of the tour (the more sites the better); to see the route on the map (the farther from the big cities it go, the usually better); find out what's included in the tour price.
Do not just hurry with the choice. Go around a few travel agencies. Most sellers tours are just intermediaries working for a Commission, so it's possible that by going next door, you find the same tour for a few hundred baht cheaper. Some guarantee of quality tours can be the presence of the guide or the Agency that organizes the tour, TAT license (Tourism Authority of Thailand). The presence of TAT makes it more likely that the tour will be interesting and eventful. Well, anyway, cheap tour can't be good and interesting. Is it worth your frustration in the journey, saved a few hundred baht?
Worth mentioning is this: among a multi-day tours there are options to stay overnight in the villages in the homes of local residents, in tents near villages or in the special guest house in the village. Romance is romance, but the reality is that in these villages, everything is real, including dirt and unsanitary conditions (by our standards). Should be ready to lack of minimum facilities, including shower and toilet, unpleasant odors from the locals, dirty dishes and poverty. You are going to stick with the suggestions to buy something that may occupied the whole village. If you still want to experience the pleasure, it is best to choose an overnight stay in a separate house, made especially for tourists. The conditions were better and the locals go there without an invitation is not frequented.
Here are some travel agencies that offer trekking in the North:
And now, actually, about the exotic tribes in the province. It is what many tourists come to the North.
In order to visit the tribes and take some pictures, actually don't even need to go to a trekking tour. The easiest way to visit the villages of the tribes in the composition of the guided tours. But easily accessible by car or even a tour bus of the village, sometimes with a short walk from the Parking place, are, by and large, a tourist attraction. Thus people, especially the tribes of the "long-necked" Karen, make it to the show, like a bear on a chain. Sometimes even the role of "long-necked" play the most common actors for urban residents, and actually they are not long-necked, just ring creates the effect of "linoleate".
Of course, such a venture make great photos, which you can then brag to friends, but the real fun and excitement you can get. The most easily accessible villages, and, according to some tourists, are all tribal village, developed with local businessmen in a profitable business - a kind of "human zoos", for access to which you must pay money. In doing so, the villagers get money from tourists all the crumbs. Even in remote villages access paid. Price in different villages and different starts from 80 baht to remote and obscure villages, up to 500 baht for the "fashionable" and close to Chiang Mai, village of "long-necked" Karen. Tours the price of admission in most cases is included.
You should make a small clarification about the "long-necked" because it's kind of the highlight and many go into tracking for that. Not all the Northern tribes of Thailand, long-necked. Everywhere you can find mention of that long-necked tribes is the Karen tribe. But, not all the Karen long necks. There is a separate kind of tribe red Karen Caiano. (Kayan), also known as Padaung (Padaung). So, if you want to see the "long-necked", refer to the description of the tour, what tribe you visit. "Long-necked" written in English "long-necked".
When you visit the tribal villages should follow the General rules:
- With respect to the housing and to the whole tribe village. No littering in the village even if the village is dirty on the street.
- Always ask permission from the locals before to photograph them.
- Don't encourage begging. The maximum that you can afford gifts to the locals (what, you prompt the guide). But money is not let anyone.
- Always smile at the locals; do not be angry and do not show aggression in front of them.
- Don't get drunk with the locals.
- Do not enter without permission in the home, and if you are invited, take it to the verge of shoes.
Additional rules of behavior in a particular country, you will be instructed by the guide.
What to bring on trekking, preparation
Below we will talk about the need to take with you on the tracking in the case of acquisition of the tour. For independent treks, you should prepare much more seriously, but that's a topic for another article, if not even a website.
As a rule, the price includes almost everything you may need during trekking. You don't have to look for the tent, transportation, pots, etc. equipment. You just have to mentally get ready, to wear and bring suitable clothing and shoes, photos, video and something else on the little things. Here's our list of what you should pay attention and what to bring. Of course, the collection should take into account the length and difficulty of the route, because one day tours you most of the list don't need:
- Backpack. Do not try to go to the mountains with bags and suitcases (don't laugh, it happens). If not with a backpack, it's no problem to buy on the spot.
- Warm clothing and rainwear. Warm clothing is absolutely necessary (in the mountains and at night very cold), waterproof very desirable. Bring a jacket or windbreaker, and high-quality plastic raincoats. Need a dense, completely covering leg pants (perfect jeans). All this, again, can be purchased here. Be sure to take warm socks.
- Hiking shoes. Depending on the complexity of the route you may need shoes with thick soles (for Hiking), or simple lightweight running shoes (for easy walking routes).
- Insect repellent and insects. It is best to buy local products as we can not to act. Look in local stores. English remedy for insect repellent.
- A first aid kit. Please bring the necessary minimum of medicines.
- Knife, Cutlery (plastic is better, they are easier).
- A map and compass in case you get lost.
- Towel, toiletries, bathing suit.
- Photos, video with spare batteries (or at least, charged to the eyeballs).
Don't forget when you build the backpack pekhotinskiy old wisdom: "In the campaign each gram is a kilogram". Porters, if they are with you on the tracking, will carry tents, food and other equipment, and all your belongings you have to drag yourself. So try not to take anything extra.
Good luck Hiking in the mountains and forests of Northern Thailand!
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