Visiting a Chiang Mai Hill Tribe Village

by Aug 6, 2019

Looks like I cut my foot?

Here, chew on this leaf and then rub it onto your wound…

Chiang Mai Hill Tribe Village tl;dr

  • Indigenous Hill Tribe Village
  • Local Crafts and Textiles
  • Surrounded by Beneficial Vegetation

If you never stop to smell the roses, you’ll miss a world of details that’s staring you in the face. Driving through the Thai countryside outside Chiang Mai, Nadia and I were brought to a local village that we saw from the road in the distance. As we drove up the dirt road path up to the village, our guide explained that people have been migrating to these hills generations ago from neighboring countries bringing with them a piece of their culture in the form of food, weaving and traditions.

JM at Hill Village Applying Medicinal Plant Chiang Mai Thailand 2019


Having gotten their and realizing that I had cut my foot bleeding somewhat profusely, our guide helped me out, I think. He walked me over to what I would have passed off as another weed but directed me to do the following (no pictures because I was too busy actually doing this and was preparing to die from doing something so foreign, but I didn’t):

  • Get specific plant leaves (I honestly couldn’t tell this green leaf from a weed)
  • Put it in your mouth and chew on it
  • Spit the chewed up mixture out into your hand
  • Rub it onto your wound

(Fast forward to now, my foot hasn’t fallen off and I haven’t lost my sense of taste.)

Surprise Surprise

Surprisingly we ran into our old friends that we met on the river excursion. As we didn’t get a lot of time to reconnect due to each of our previous engagements, anytime to hangout was a welcome break from all the foreign everything.

Our old friends and Nadia, went shopping look at local textiles while I was chewing more leaves for my gash. The resident weaver offered Nadia a crash course in cloth creation. Nadia was a quick study and created several rows of intricately layered scarf with a little hand holding. Afterwards Nadia bought a couple of the offered scarves from the charming weaver; win-win!

What is It

This was one of many local indigenous Hill Tribe villages. I wish I could honestly tell you which one it was but I had assumed it was a Karen Tribe but I don’t recall. If anyone recognizes the place, please let me know.

What I can tell you is that the Hill Tribes came in one of the many migrations from Central Asia:

  • Hmong Tribe | Went to this Village on another day with another group
  • Karen Long Neck Tribe | Based on location and description, I think we may have either gone to this one or…
  • Lahu Tribe | I think we could have gone to this one
  • Lisu Tribe
  • Palong Tribe
  • Akha Tribe

Where is It

This village is in the Chiang Mai’s countryside, situated somewhere between Mae Wang Waterfall and Chai Lai Orchid. I should have paid more attention but at that point, I was exhausted from the hike back up from the base of Mae Wang Waterfall.

What to Do There

Hang out, grab a bite, walk around, chew on some weeds and talk to the villagers. They have so much to share with any visitors willing to come to their homes. Apparently you can even go so far as to learning how to weave a little bit. Enjoy their hospitality and buy something as a token of your appreciation.

Hill Village

  • Chiang Mai


Do you like visiting indigenous economies?

You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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