Hill Tribe Immersion

Akha Village Chiang Rai and Akha Homestay - Thailand

Hill Tribe Immersion

Akha Village Chiang Rai and Akha Homestay - Thailand

Only 660€ per week!

Get immersed in the world of the Akha people, experience fun cultural activities and the natural surroundings of one of the most sublime parts of Thailand.

Enjoy one of the most charming and fascinating areas in Thailand. Our program was designed to merge together two completely different worlds: the Akha’s and yours. Through either teaching, gardening or construction work, you will help them develop their infrastructure whilst helping to preserve their lifestyle and culture.

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand





Program Description

One of our most diverse programs in one of the most stunning spots in Thailand. This visit to Thailand's northern Hill Tribe community will be hard to forget. The Akha people are a disadvantaged minority that migrated into Thailand. By living and breathing their culture you will learn about their unique and distinct lifestyle.

This program will have you immersed in the village, experiencing a range of cultural activities, as well as enjoying the surrounding fauna, wildlife and tourist attractions on the final day.

Your main activity will be to help out the local Akha people through various means such as teaching, gardening and light construction and renovation.

The idea here is not to try to alter their culture or perceptions in any way, but rather to embrace their way of life and learn from one another. This means open mindedness and a willingness to help and understand the needs of the Akha people.

The hilltop village is not far from the Northern city of Chiang Rai and is surrounded by lush jungle, which provide with natural resources that the Akhas use to survive. Plants are used for healing, bamboo helps construct their homes, hunting and farming provides them with food. The Akha people have their own unique language, religion and culture.

Aims & Objectives

  • Assist with the development of infrastructure and education of the local Akha people
  • Learn about and experience a unique way of life while broadening your knowledge of the local customs, history and culture

Schedule

Sunday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

After dinner, you will take an overnight bus to Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand)

Monday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

  • Pickup in Chiang Rai and head to the village (1 and a half hour drive)
  • Visit the local dam where you will have breakfast and get a chance to swim
  • Lunch
  • Explore Akha village and the Akha, it’s a holy place
  • Dinner

Tuesday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

  • Breakfast
  • Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from teaching at the school, construction work or agricultural activities
  • Lunch
  • Akha language lessons
  • Visit to the local evening market
  • Dinner
  • Language lessons in the evening

Wednesday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

  • Breakfast
  • Trekking into the jungle
  • Lunch
  • Learn how to make bamboo cups
  • Natural hot spa or kayaking on the lake (depending on the weather)
  • Dinner

Thursday (Akha Homestay)

  • Breakfast
  • Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from activities such as handmade handicraft, bracelets etc
  • Lunch
  • Exploring the Akha hill tribe village and learning more about the hill tribe culture
  • Dinner
  • Sleep at a local’s home in order to experience and get fully immersed in the Akha lifestyle

Friday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

  • Breakfast
  • Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from teaching at the school, construction work or agricultural activities
  • Visit a  coffee house , learn how to roast coffee make you own coffee
  • Lunch
  • Visit to a pool or canoeing
  • Cooking for the hill tribe people, who will visit us in the accommodation to try out our dishes
  • Dinner
  • Goodbye party with the locals, they will perform a ceremony typical of their culture which you will partake in

Saturday (Akha Village Chiang Rai)

  • Brunch
  • Travel to Chiang Rai
  • Stop at a waterfall to swim
  • Chiang Rai City tour with visits to the White Temple
  • Visit a mall and then head back to Singburi at evening.

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements for this program.

Additional Equipment

  • Warm clothes as the temperature can cool down a lot during the evening in this area of Thailand

Location

Close to Chiang Rai, the Akha village you will be staying at is located amidst the hills, surrounded by lush jungle. Here, you will get immersed into the lives of the Akha people in a truly authentic and unique location, far away from any travel guide!

About the Accommodation

The Akha hill tribe village is outside the city of Chiang Rai and you will be living there during your time on this program. Our center is located within the village and the style of the rooms was made in order to resemble the rest of the houses in the village. You will be sharing a dormitory style room with your fellow participants. As it is common in the village, don’t expect beds. You are likely to sleep on a mattress on the ground.

Cell phone reception is incredibly limited – you really are living in and experiencing rural Thailand at this location! But you might be able to reach some reception at higher levels.

Food Arrangements

Local dishes are provided on site – 3 meals per day, but 2 during the weekends. Please note that you will be expected to cook dinner on Fridays in order to show the Akha people the food from your home country!

Facilities

There is a small village shop but please remember this is an incredibly rural and authentic location – there are no ATMs, so please make sure you arrive to the location with some cash on you.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

You will be taken on treks as part of the program and can choose to go on self-guided hikes during your free time.

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Akha Homestay
  • All around Thailand
  • Around Thailand
  • Hua Hin
  • Kaeng Krachan
  • Kanchanaburi
  • Mae Sot
  • Singburi
  • Suphan Buri
  • Train Track Northern Thailand
  • Trunk to the South
  • Udon Thani
  • Umphang
  • Wang Nam Khiao

Location

For one night during the week long program, you have the option to fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the Akhas by having a homestay with a local family. In this way, you will learn about their morning routine, how they sleep, how they cook, what they eat, etc. This experience will provide you with opportunities to learn the true way of life of the Akha people, firsthand.

About the Accommodation

Some of you might like to choose this location for a night, to fully experience living in the village as a typical villager. If you go into this homestay, you will be sleeping on the floor on basic grass mats in wooden huts. You will be sharing space with a local family and will eat and live with them, even taking part in the completion of their daily chores.

During your stay, you will be sharing a room with other participants. Your “bed” will be a thin Thai mattress – don’t expect much luxury! We recommend that you bring your own mosquito nets with you due to your rustic lifestyle at this location.

Cell phone reception is incredibly limited – you really are living in and experiencing rural Thailand at this location! You might be able to reach some reception at higher levels.

Food Arrangements

Local dishes are provided on site. Some families might even ask you to help out with the kitchen chores, so get prepared to learn some authentic Akha recipes!

Facilities

There is a small village shop but please remember this is an incredibly rural and authentic location – there are no ATMs, so please make sure you arrive to the location with some cash on you.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

The village is incredibly secluded, there are no major attractions nearby.

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Akha Village Chiang Rai

Quick Facts

Name: Kingdom of Thailand

Population: 67 million

Capital: Bangkok

Language: Thai

Currency: Baht (THB)

Time zone: ICT (UTC +7)

Country Information

From trekking in the beautiful mountains of the north to enjoying the glorious beaches in the south and  experiencing the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok, Thailand is certainly not a country that lacks variety.

Whilst it really is at the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, its cultural identity remains very unique. As the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid European powers, the Thai are proud to refer to themselves as ‘The Land of the Free’ and many tourists might also know it as ‘The Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people.

Climate

The majority of the country is home to a tropical savanna climate which consists of wet and dry seasons of a roughly equal length. The climate can be divided into three distinct seasons:

  • Dry season: November – end of February. During this period, precipitation is at its lowest but so are the temperatures. This said, ‘low temperatures’ are of course relative and the difference is not in fact very different at all in the South. It is only if you will be visiting the northern mountains that you might need to bring some warmer clothes as temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This period is, not surprisingly, the most popular time to visit Thailand and tourism peaks around Christmas and New Year as well as Chinese New year. Flights and accommodation at this time can be more expensive.
  • Hot: March to June. During this time Thailand reaches its hottest temperatures (as high as 50°C).
  • Rainy: July – October. This is when the tropical monsoons begin to arrive, peaking in September. Although this is indeed rainy season, it doesn’t mean that it rains non-stop. Storms can clear up very quickly, but when it does rain, heavy flooding is not rare.

Culture

A significant feature of Thai culture is its primary religion: Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism is supported by the government and practiced by an estimated 95% of its population. Thailand not only boasts tens of thousands of beautiful temples, but you will notice that a lot of Thai people have miniature Spirit Houses on their front yards because they believe that the household spirits live in them and they make offerings to them to keep the spirits happy.

Another feature of Thai culture is the wai greeting, which is essentially a slight bow with palms pressed together in a prayer-like manner to show respect. This can be compared to the Indian namasté. Things to know about this:

  • The higher the hands in relation to the face and the deeper the bow, the more respect is shown.
  • It is made before formally entering/leaving a house
  • It can also be made as a sign of gratitude or apology
  • You do not make the greeting to those who are younger than you unless you are returning the wai.
  • The gesture is normally accompanied with the phrase “sawadee (krap/ka)” (“krap” if you are  male and “ka” if you are female)
  • A corporate wai (made by cashiers etc) can be returned with a smile or a nod

The major festival in Thailand is Thai New Year, known as Songkran. It is celebrated on the 13th-14th April of every year. It is a festival that concludes the dry season and involves a lot of water throwing!

Gastronomy

Thai cuisine is very nutritious and alongside its plentiful use of rice, it generally contains fresh vegetables and white meats like chicken and fish. Thai people love spicy food but do not fear if you do not, just say ‘mai pet’ when you order. However, the flavors are not only about the spice, as many people believe. Thai food can be slightly salty, sour and/or sweet, so there really is something to suit everyone’s palate.

Transportation

Transport in Thailand is very varied and there isn’t one ‘main way’ to travel. Buses dominate long distance journeys. Travel in thailand is cheap and even domestic flights are a worthwhile consideration for long distance journeys, especially with the expansion of low-cost airlines.

Taxis, tuk-tuks and vans are also common modes of transport, but tourists must be wary about being overcharged. If in doubt, always ask that the taximeter be switched on to avoid overcharging.

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