The further north you travel in Thailand, the more you’ll feel your shoulders relax and your smile widen. That's certainly the case if you're heading to some of the country's mountainous rural regions, where morning mist hangs over tea plantations and spirals of campfire smoke rise from the jungle, signalling the communities who live there. Trekking tourism in Fang works for hill tribes just as much as trekkers, and peaceful pockets, like Pai, provide ample opportunities to tune in and press pause.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
There's nothing more satisfying than a cuppa after a good day's work, which is why helping with the tea harvest in the plantations around Fang is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. This lush mountainous region of rural northern Thailand is synonymous with self-sufficiency and serenity. The climate's cooler, the pace of life is slower, and the hill tribe villages work in harmony with nature as well as eager-eyed travellers. Many tribal communities living here do trekking tourism very well. Staying with a tribe and helping to pick tea, or having a go at basket weaving, are not contrived experiences at all. This is real life, warts and all, and you'll get to know villagers like one of the family, not just a passing visitor.
There's a sleepy little town called Pai in the rural northwest of Thailand that's long been a draw for backpackers and adventurous travellers. It's somewhere to tune in to a slower pace and drop out of the rat race for a while. Boho cafe culture and banana pancakes offer excuses to stroll around town and look for a nook to curl up with a book. Hiking and cycling trails lead out of town to waterfalls and natural hot springs, whilst bamboo rafts offer a slightly quicker pace, afloat. The nocturnal scene can get relatively lively, but check into a Colonial-style riverside hotel on the outskirts and you can dip in and out of Pai as many times as you wish.
A journey through northern Thailand for an eco-focussed exploration of local Lahu traditions and culture in the hills of Chiang Mai.