Akha Hill Tribe Chiang Rai
Visiting Akha Hill Tribe is one of the must-try experiences for tourists during their vacation in Thailand, as it will bring you things that have never been found before.
Located on Doi Mae Salong Mountain of Chiang Rai Province, Akha Hill Tribe is one of the most famous hill tribes in Thailand, which has for years attracted many tourists from around the world with its primitive beauty and local lifestyle.
Akha Hill Tribe
Far from being so magnificent or stunning, Akha Hill Tribe possesses highly distinctive landscapes that seem to have taken place here for thousands of years with old stilt houses, rough path-ways, surrounding high mountains, and thick forests. All of them create primitive beauty, thus giving anyone coming here an unforgettable experience. On visiting Akha Hill Tribe, you will have a chance to explore the local lifestyle, as well as take part in many activities that could never occur elsewhere.
History of Akha Hill Tribe
Featuring an old landscape, Akha Hill Tribe must have a long-standing history that is extremely interesting for you to know.
Generally, "hill tribe" is a modern-day term used to indicate ethnic groups that have for ages lived on the mountainous regions in Northern Thai, and both sides of the border areas between Thailand and Laos, or Thailand and Burma. These groups mostly earn their living by farming, cultivating, etc. Among them, the Akha hill Tribe originated in Yunnan, Southern China. For several centuries, they have migrated Southward from their original home to Thailand, thus creating a community here. In Thailand, there are three subgroups of Akha Hill Tribe: Akha Loi Mi, Akha Phami, and Akha U Lo, which could be told apart by their traditional clothes. However, all three speak the same language that is not their traditional but one in the Lolo/Yi branch of the Tibeto-Burman language group.
Now, though having undergone many changes, Akha Hill Tribe remains its feature as a living place of an ethnic group from the language to the local's lifestyle. Therefore, on coming here, you can certainly give yourself a new experience during your vacation.
Things to do in Akha Hill Tribe
Once entering through the so-called "Protection Gate" of Akha Hill Tribe, you will go into a very different world and take part in many fascinating things.
- Join in the local life
On visiting Akha Hill Tribe, you will stand a chance to explore the indigenous culture. As the tribe has existed for thousands of years, they may possess a lot of attractive features in their long-standing culture. One of the best ways to learn about the cultureis staying in a house of theirs and taking part in their daily work. Most of the Akha live in stilt houses, which is quite a unique feature in their culture. Usually, these houses are built with wood and in a specific way to ensure the tribe's safety against floods or the attack of wild animals. During a day in Akha Hill Tribe, it is normal for you to see people drying beans, or cultivating, etc. Though today some of the young in Akha Hill Tribe choose to work in factories or companies, the tribe's traditional works remain. Then, you can ask to take part in their work and maybe chat with them about Akha's culture, as the people here are very hospitable.
You can join the locals in their daily works
- Take part in the Akha's festivals
If you come during the peak of the rainy season (from the end of August to the beginning of September), you should take part in the swing festival, as it is the most important festival of Akha Hill Tribe. Here, you can have many interesting experiences and also stand a chance to explore more about the local culture. Besides, in case you miss the swing festivals, there are several tribal festivals in which the Akha participate such as ones in November and early December. All of them will give you the best experiences during your vacation.
Swing festival in Akha Hill Tribe
- Try on Akha traditional dresses
Trying on the tribe's traditional dress is also one of the great ways to learn about their culture. During your stay in Akha Hill Tribe, you can ask to borrow some dresses from the host, wear them, and take a walk around the village. Generally, like other tribes', the traditional dress is made of typical material and decorated with many unique patterns plus accessories; therefore, it will give you a new experience when trying them on. You can also learn more about the textiles used to make Akha Hill Tribe traditional dresses.
Traditional dress of Akha Hill Tribe
- Enjoy the Akha Hill Tribe's cuisine
Not only does Akha Hill Tribe feature many delicious foods, but it also has these foods cooked impressively. On coming to the Akha Hill tribe, it is recommended that you watch the locals make food and enjoy it there. Usually, the food is cooked in the traditional but fascinating way by the Akha. Therefore, you will have the chance to explore more about the tribe's authentic cuisine. Alternatively, you can choose to take part in the meal of an Akha family, as it is more familiar and gives you an insight into the local family culture.
You can take part in a meal with a Akha family
Best time to visit Akha Hill Tribe
Akha Hill Tribe can be visited all year round. However, it is in the rainy season (from June to October) that you should not come to the tribe, as the wet weather can prevent you from enjoying your vacation.
The best time to visit Akha Hill Tribe is from November to March because this is the cold season in Thailand that features quite favorable weather perfect to come and explore the tribe culture.
How to get to Akha Hill Tribe
As the Akha Hill Tribe lies in the mountainous region of Chiang Rai, there are a few ways to get to it.
From your place, you can choose to travel to the city of Chiang Rai by bus, train, or car with the price that depends on where you want to start your trip. Upon reaching Chiang Rai, trekking Northward is suggested. To take a long trek up the mountains, you will have to prepare properly before your trip, as it may be a bit adventurous.
If you are going to Thailand and especially the pretty province of Chiang Rai, visiting Akha Hill Tribe should be on your must-do list.