THAILAND – Chiang Mai – Hiking in the Footsteps of the Hmong

Chiang Mai is rich in cultural as well as natural beauty. This hike combines the best of both worlds by combining a visit to the city’s most famous temples with a scenic hike in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.

Theme

Art & Culture, Classic, Sustainable

Country - City

Thailand - Chiang Mai

Market segment

Thematic Leisure

Price Level

$$$$

Level of difficulties

LEVEL 1

Max pax

10

Seasonality

Possible from 16 May until 15 March

Arrival city

Chiang Mai

Departure city

Chiang Mai

Description

The day starts with a visit to the magnificent Wat Prathat Doi Suthep Temple, located on a hillside overlooking the city. Visiting in the early morning ensures avoiding the crowds. The next stop is a Hmong village that used to be famous for its opium cultivation. Nowadays it is very known and touristy, but it serves as the starting point of a hike along a trail that Hmong people have been using for generations. The trail follows the mountain ridge along a small stream and lush vegetation, with spectacular views along the way. Throughout the hike, a local Hmong guide teaches about the history, culture and way of life in the mountains. The hike takes about 5 to 6 hours and the end point is another village, home to Northern Thailand’s biggest Hmong community. At the end of the afternoon, after briefly exploring the village, it is time to return to the city.

Distance and duration: 11,4 kilometers, approximately 3 hours 30 minutes – 4 hours hiking
Level: 1
Different in elevation: 400 meters elevation gain, 500 meters descent
Terrain: dirt track roads and forest trails, some parts on stairs passing rocky terrain
Transportation: by minivan

Selling points

  • To offer an interesting full-day hike, along a trail in a National Park that sees few tourists
  • Time efficient as it combines hiking with a visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a highlight that should not be missed
  • To get close to the city but still offers the opportunity for amazing views and local villages
  • Good for nature lovers and people interested in local culture
  • Community based, helps to sustain the local Hmong communities

Level Of The Excursion

High – This activity strongly supports local communities and/or helps preserve the culture and environment

The Impact Of This Excursion

Social/cultural Impact

Cultural Conservation

Empowerment and education

Involving minorities

Environment Impact

Transportation

National parks

Economic Impact

Local individual benefits

Community benefits

Additional Information

Positive impacts

The activity takes places in an area inhabited by minorities and is organized by members of the local community. It creates the opportunity for them to show their traditional way of life and share it with guests, bringing income to the hosts. Moreover, the activity takes place in a National Park and the entrance fee contributes to the conservation and management of the natural resources. The visit is done by hiking, under the supervision of a local guide who educates the guests.

Negative impacts

No negative.

Sensitive character

The activity involves ethnic minorities who are vulnerable to exploitation and whose culture is at risk of disappearing. The activity is always organized with a local member of the community to make sure the community benefits from the activity and cultural traditions are respected.

 

Time And Transportation

From  To   Km By  Duration   Road condition  
Chiang Mai City
Doi Suthep temple
15  Car 40 minutes  Good but mountainous
Doi Suthep Temple Starting point of the hike
10 Car
20 minutes  Narrow and mountainous
End point of the hike
 Chiang Mai City
40 Car 1hr 15min Good but crowded

Duration

  • Approximately 8 hours, not including transfers (08:00 – 16:00, from Doi Suthep Temple to end point of the hike)

Min pax

1

Max pax

10

How to sell it

  • For people looking to do a one day hike on a less touristic route
  • To give the opportunity to combine one of the classic highlights (Wat Prathat Doi Suthep) with a more active day trip
  • To show the local culture of the Hmong during a community based hike
  • For people who enjoy hiking with the opportunity to see beautiful sights

Why this activity

  • Operate our own one-day hiking program
  • Expand our Active product Database
  • Build experience with Active products and Active guide database
  • Be more competitive than suppliers who offer this excursion

Good to combine with

  • Regular dinner in the city
  • Watch Muay Thai fights at the stadium

Do not combine with

  • Any evening activities that start early (Chiang Mai’s food treats by e-tuktuk, evening cooking classes, …)

Market suggestion

AUSTRALIA

CANADA

FRANCE

UNITED KINGDOM

ITALY

SPAIN

PORTUGAL

BENELUX

SCANDINAVIA

CEE

US

GERMANY

UK

BEST FOR FIT

Competitor comparison

  • This activity is also organized by Green Trails, a supplier for trekkings

Pros

  • We can be more competitive than using a supplier
  • Gain experience with Active guides, and offering Active products
  • Operate our own one-day hiking product, which we have relatively many requests for
  • Offer a time efficient product as it includes hiking as well as a classic visit to Doi Suthep Temple

Cons

  • The price is relatively high
  • It is not a Signature product, Green Trails also operates it
  • Level of comfort during the hike is limited, so may not be suitable for everyone
  • Can only be guaranteed with ESG

Information

Program:

  • 07:30 – Pick up at city hotel, depart to Doi Suthep Temple
  • 08:15 – Arrive at Doi Suthep Temple
  • 09:15 – Leave Doi Suthep Temple
  • 09:30 – Arrive at Doi Pui Hmong Village, meet local guide
  • 09:45 – Start hiking from Doi Pui Village (approximately 4-5 hours, picnic lunch on the way)
  • 15:00 – Arrive at Mae Sa Mai Village, relax and visit the local knowledge center
  • 15:45 – Leave Mae Sai Mai to return to the hotel
  • Google map for the product: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1DprOYt-7LK7HNLXxei469Mb8XmtB7Eiy&usp=sharing (access needs to be requested)

Alerts

  • Not possible with KL or big bus, only minivan can be used for this product.
  • There is no infrastructure along the hiking route, only nature. This means no toilets, and no shelter in case of rain.
  • Due to the Active nature of this activity, we can only confirm it with ESG.
  • The communities have strict rules to follow for safety and conservation of the nature:
    • No plastic or other waste can be left along the trail
    • Smoking and drinking alcohol is not allowed on the trail. In case there is a smoker, everyone has to stop and wait for that person to finish the cigarette and make sure it is not thrown away
    • Licensed Easia guide needs to translate what the Hmong guide explains
    • The Hmong guide walks in front, neither the clients nor the Easia guide can pass them
  • In case clients have difficulties with the hike, there is a spot close to the half-way point that is reachable by 4×4. If clients need to be picked up there in case of emergency, the cost for this is 2,000 THB.
  • During some periods of the year the trail could be closed, however, this is usually during the hot season and we won’t offer it during this period.
  • The lunch is simple but good: fried rice with pork or chicken. In case of special dietary needs there may be surcharges as food needs to be bought/prepared from the city.

Important information

  • The trail is not officially closed from mid-March to mid-May, but the hike is not encouraged due to the smoke. There may also be days that the trail is closed due to fire danger. Therefore, we don’t operate it during this period.
  • The program is always operated on a private basis. If there are multiple groups on a day, they will leave about 30 minutes apart from each other. The maximum of 10 pax is for one group, bigger groups can be split up if it is really needed.
  • What to bring:
    • Good hiking shoes, no flipflops
    • Polite clothes for the visit of Doi Suthep (shoulders and knees covered)
    • suncreen
    • Mosquito spray
    • A cap or hat

Price range

$$$$

Quotation guideline

  • ERP – Activities –> Easia Travel – Hiking in the footsteps of the Hmong, per pax

Inclusion

  • Visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
  • Local guides from the Hmong community during the hike
  • Local lunch
  • Drinking water
  • Contribution to the village’s Hmong knowledge center

Exclusion

  • Transportation
  • Easia guide

Remark

  • The activity is possible everyday, but during festive seasons or important Buddhist holidays the program may need to be adjusted slightly due to traffic on the way to Doi Suthep Temple

Important notes

  • Try to always arrange a briefing with the clients and the guide. If not possible, make sure the guide calls the clients before to brief them
  • Make sure to provide a proper briefing to the guide
  • Provide a First Aid Kit to the guide when they pick up job documents
  • Remind the local community to use metal spoons for lunch, not plastic ones

Special Guide notes

  • Make sure to cooperate and coordinate with the local guides
  • If the local guide does not explain a lot, make sure to ask questions and create interaction

Different Choice

  • By supplier Green Trails: https://www.green-trails.com/tours/day-tours/doi-suthep-trekking/
  • Different choice for hiking on Doi Suthep mountain with a visit to the temple, but in a different area:
    • Udomporn Tours: Trek 14 – One Day Trek Doi Suthep & White Hmong Hill Tribe Village
    • Chiang Mai Vacations: CNX – FD06. Doi Suthep otherwise

Contact

  • Ban Mae Sa Mai community: Mr. Win: 081-3877471

English

In the early morning you will make your way up to Doi Suthep mountain. You will start the day with a visit of the magnificent Doi Suthep Temple, one of Chiang Mai’s most famous highlights. Arriving early you have the chance to visit the temple complex without the crowds. Then you will continue to Doi Pui Village, a Hmong village that has become a major tourist attraction throughout the years.

The village is very developed and rather commercial, but after meeting your guide you soon leave the souvenir shops behind and start hiking into the surrounding nature. You will follow a trail that takes you to another Hmong village on the other side of the mountain. Along the way your local Hmong guide will tell you about life on the mountain and the importance of the historical trail. There are some excellent viewpoints along the way, which with clear weather offer priceless views.

After arriving at your destination you will have time to relax and take in the scenery of one of Thailand’s largest Hmong settlements, before returning to your hotel.

Distance and duration: 11,4 kilometers, approximately 3 hours 30 minutes – 4 hours hiking
Level: 1
Different in elevation: 400 meters elevation gain, 500 meters descent
Terrain: dirt track roads and forest trails, some parts on stairs passing rocky terrain
Transportation: by minivan

French

Randonnée sur les traces des Hmong

En début de matinée vous prendrez la direction de la montagne Doi Suthep et commencerez par la visite de son magnifique temple, l’un des plus célèbres monuments de Chiang Mai. Vous arriverez assez tôt pour avoir la possibilité de visiter le complexe du temple sans la foule. Vous continuerez ensuite vers le village de Doi Pui, un village Hmong qui est devenu au fil des ans une grande attraction touristique.

Le village est très développé et assez tourné vers le commerce, mais après avoir rencontré votre guide vous quitterez les boutiques de souvenirs pour commencer votre randonnée dans la nature. Vous suivrez ainsi le chemin qui vous conduira vers un autre village Hmong de l’autre côté de la montagne. En chemin, votre guide local issu de la minorité Hmong vous parlera de la vie dans la montagne et de l’importance de ce chemin historique. Pendant votre marche, vous trouverez de superbes panoramas qui s’avèreront encore plus impressionnants par temps clair.

Une fois arrivés à destination vous aurez le temps de vous détendre et d’observer l’une des plus grandes communautés Hmong de Thaïlande avant de retourner à votre hôtel.

Distance et durée : 11,4 kilomètres, 3 heures 30 minutes à 4 heures de marche
Niveau: 1
Différence de dénivelé: 400 mètres de dénivelé positif, 500 mètres de descente
Type de terrain: chemin de terre et sentiers à travers la forêt, quelques escaliers sur du chemin rocailleux
Transport: par minivan

Spanish

Siguiendo las huellas de los Hmong
A primera hora de la mañana se dirigirá a la cima de la montaña Doi Suthep. Comenzará el día con una visita al magnífico templo de Doi Suthep, uno de los puntos destacados más famosos de Chiang Mai. Al llegar a primera hora, tendrá la oportunidad de visitar el complejo del templo sin masificaciones. Posteriormente, continuará hasta el pueblo de Doi Pui, un pueblo Hmong que se ha convertido en una atracción turística con los años.
Este poblado está muy desarrollado y tiene su lado comercial, pero después de reunirse con su guía, pronto dejará atrás las tiendas de recuerdos y comenzará a caminar por la naturaleza cercana. Seguirá caminos que le llevarán hasta otro pueblo Hmong al otro lado de la montaña. Por el camino, su guía Hmong local le contará historias sobre la vida en la montaña y la importancia del camino histórico. Por el camino hay varios miradores excelentes que, si el tiempo lo permite, ofrecen unas vistas inmejorables.
Después de llegar a su destino, tendrá tiempo para relajarse y disfrutar del paisaje de uno de los asentamientos Hmong más grandes de Tailandia antes de regresar al hotel.

Distancia y duración: 11,4 kilómetros; aproximadamente 3 horas y 30 minutos/4 horas de excursión.
Nivel: 1.
Altitud total: 400 metros de altitud; 500 metros de descenso.
Terreno: carreteras de tierra y caminos por el bosque; algunas partes por escalones, pasando por terreno rocoso.
Transporte: en furgoneta.

Italian

Escursione sulle orme dei Hmong
Al mattino presto salirete sulla montagna di Doi Suthep. Inizierete la giornata con una visita al magnifico tempio di Doi Suthep, uno dei punti salienti più famosi di Chiang Mai. Arrivando presto avrete la possibilità di visitare il complesso del tempio senza la folla attorno. Quindi continuerete con il villaggio Hmong di Doi Pui, che è diventato una grande attrazione turistica nel corso degli anni.
Il villaggio è molto sviluppato e piuttosto commerciale, ma dopo aver incontrato la vostra guida lascerete presto i negozi di souvenir per iniziare a fare escursioni nella natura circostante. Seguirete un sentiero che vi porterà in un altro villaggio di Hmong, dall’altro lato della montagna. Lungo la strada la guida Hmong locale vi parlerà della vita in montagna e dell’importanza del percorso storico. Ci sono alcuni punti di vista eccellenti lungo il cammino, che con il bel tempo offrono panorami inestimabili.
Una volta arrivati a destinazione, avrete il tempo di rilassarvi e ammirare lo scenario di uno dei più grandi insediamenti Hmong della Thailandia, prima di tornare al vostro hotel.

Distanza e durata: 11,4 chilometri, circa 3 ore e 30 minuti – 4 ore di cammino
Livello 1
Dislivello: 400 metri di dislivello, 500 metri di discesa
Terreno: strade sterrate e sentieri forestali, alcune parti su scale che attraversano terreni rocciosi
Trasporti: in minivan

German

Wanderung in den Fußspuren der Hmong
Am frühen Morgen machen Sie sich auf zum Berg Doi Suthep und beginnen den Tag mit dem Besuch des herrlichen Doi-Suthep-Tempels, eine der berühmtesten Sehenswürdigkeiten in Chiang Mai. Erreichen Sie den Tempel sehr früh, haben Sie die Chance, den Tempelkomplex ohne den bevorstehenden Besucheransturm zu besichtigen. Anschließend geht es weiter zum Dorf Doi Pui, eine Hmong-Gemeinde, die über die Jahre zu einer Haupttouristenattraktion geworden ist.
Das Dorf ist weit entwickelt und eher kommerziell, doch nachdem Sie Ihren Reiseleiter getroffen haben, werden Sie die Souvenirläden alsbald hinter sich lassen und mit der Wanderung durch die Natur in der Umgebung beginnen. Zunächst folgen Sie einem Pfad, der Sie zu einem weiteren Hmong-Dorf auf der anderen Seite des Berges bringen wird. Unterwegs wird Ihnen Ihr lokaler Hmong-Reiseleiter etwas über das Leben auf dem Berg und die Bedeutung des historischen Pfades erzählen. Während der Wanderung werden Sie an einigen ausgezeichneten Aussichtspunkten vorbeikommen, die bei schönem Wetter wundervolle Ausblicke bieten.
Sobald Sie Ihr Ziel erreicht haben, haben Sie Zeit, sich zu erholen und den Anblick von einer der größten Hmong-Ansiedlungen Thailands zu genießen. Danach kehren Sie zu Ihrem Hotel zurück.

Länge und Dauer: 11,4 Kilometer, rund 3,5 bis 4 Stunden Wanderung
Level: 1
Höhenunterschied: 400 Meter Höhengewinn, 500 Meter Abstieg
Terrain: unbefestigte Straßen und Waldwege, einige Treppenabschnitte vorbei an felsigem Gelände
Beförderung: mit dem Minivan