Thailand Hilltribe Trek

enquire now 5 Days From NZD $690 pp twinshare
Small group
Terms & Conditions apply

Experience Chiang Mai and village life on this trek through northern Thailand

Pull on your walking boots, stretch those leg muscles and take to the hills on a classic Intrepid trek through Thailand’s hilltribe country. Walk along winding jungle tracks and through green fields, observing what life is really like for villagers in this remote area, and sleep in traditional bamboo huts at night. Make friends with welcoming tribespeople as you hike through this remote region where each tribe has its own distinct language, style of dress and religion and learn the secrets to jungle survival from those who know best. Stay on a few extra days to explore ancient temples in Chiang Mai – there are over 300! If you’re after a short city escape and the chance to experience the real Thailand away from the tourist crowds, then this trip is just the ticket.

Why you’ll love this trip

  • Discover real Thai countryside and its people with a 3-day trek into the hills of Northern Thailand
  • Local guides deepen the learning and appreciation of different villages, each with their own language, clothing style and belief systems
  • Meet and chat with friendly villagers and discover more about their unique cultures
  • Stay in atmospheric wooden houses in different hilltribe villages each night
  • Explore remote villages, help prepare evening meals, and feast on traditional hilltribe cuisine
  • Start and finish in the temple-studded city of Chiang Mai, making this short break adventure an easy add-on to a Northern Thailand journey


Day 1: Chiang Mai

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. Today is an arrival day and you can arrive at any time before the welcome meeting tonight at 6.30pm. An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your arrival details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel to organise this. There are so many things to do here – spectacular temples, delicious food, an enormous night market, a picturesque river-front and fantastic shopping, so perhaps arrive a few days early. Chiang Mai is a great place to hire a bicycle, sign up for a Thai cooking class, or loosen those muscles with some traditional Thai massage. After the welcome meeting your evening is free to explore the city as you please. Your local guide will meet you again tomorrow morning.

Notes: The trekking route is not fixed and may change due to weather and local conditions. Please bear this is mind.

Day 2: Hilltribe Trek

Check into day rooms this morning to gear up for your trek into the remote surrounding regions. Your first destination is the Karen village of Ban Pong Noi, with a lunch stop at the magnificent Mok Fah Waterfall. On the way, take a detour to Mae Malai local market to pick up fresh food for your trip. After a 1-hour drive, enjoy a relaxing lunch break by the waters of Mok Fah Waterfall, and take a refreshing swim if you desire. The starting point of the 2.8 km, 2-hour trek is Baan Mae Sae, which you’ll reach after your break. The trek to Ban Pong Noi is relatively simple, and you’ll arrive in the village in the late afternoon. This homestay experience will give you unique insight into life in this rural part of Thailand.

Day 3: Hilltribe Trek

Rise early this morning to take a tour of the village before sitting down to breakfast. Once you’ve fueled up, begin today’s trek and follow a trail through jungle, rice paddies, rotation dry farms, streams, rivers and waterfalls, passing by more Karen villages as you go. The first leg of the trek is steep up and downhill through bamboo forest, with a total walking time of around 3 hours. Make a stop to rest your legs and enjoy a picnic lunch, then carry on for another 2-3 hours until you arrive at a Lahu village, your base for the night. Today’s total walking distance is approximately 11 kilometres.

Day 4: Hilltribe Trek / Chiang Mai

Start the day with breakfast then take a walk around the village to see the locals going about their morning routines. You’ll have the chance to buy some local handicrafts – spending your money on community enterprises directly can help support community development. Begin today’s trek through a picturesque landscape of farmland and jungle (approximately 3-4 hours) to a Thai village for lunch, where you’ll link up with your transport. From here you’ll return to Chiang Mai (approximately 2 hours). This afternoon you may like to treat yourself to a well-deserved Thai massage. This evening, perhaps head down to the buzzing Chiang Mai Night Bazaar – we suggest getting your hands on some kao soy, yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth, traditionally served with chicken or beef.

Day 5: Chiang Mai

This adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. A transfer to the airport for your departure flight from Chiang Mai is included.



Images Courtesy of Intrepid Group