Five ladies posing for a picture before the Loy Krathong parade
participants in the Loy Krathong parade, Chiang Mai

About Chiang Mai a la Carte

Passion, knowledge and experience

Chiang Mai a la Carte specialises in designing tailormade tours in North Thailand for individuals and groups. To create the best-customised tours, you need in-depth knowledge of your destination and lots of travel experience. We have all of that, having been in the travel industry in the north for almost 30 years. We have an enormous passion for the country and specifically for North Thailand which we consider our backyard.

Ethnic diversity

North Thailand is a mosaic of ethnic groups. Some of these groups have been in the region for centuries; others are recent arrivals. Our knowledge of the history of the area allows us to identify these different groups, their interesting history and, very often, their fascinating traditions, languages and handicrafts. Most people only know or will learn about ethnic minorities such as Akha, Lisu, Hmong and other groups that are known as “hill tribes”. They feature in trekking tours. Many different ethnic groups stand out less but are not less interesting such as Lawa, Tai Yai, Kachin, Tai Lue, Pa O and Jin Ho.

Tai Lue group of men women and children Doi Saket
Tai Lue in Ban Luang Nua, Doi Saket district

Religious diversity

Thailand is a Buddhist country. In North Thailand, people have practised Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaïsm and other religions. To the visitor, this religious diversity is not immediately apparent. In Chiang Mai, you can take a walk of half a day during which you will pass a Buddhist temple, a Sikh gurdwara, a mosque and a protestant church. Some groups are animist; some groups practice ancestor worship. We will make you aware of all these different religions and devotions.

History and heritage

The study of the history of North Thailand allows us to make sense of the current world around us. We have great respect for traditions. We want to create awareness of the importance of conservation of heritage houses, buildings and landscapes. History and culture are essential components of our tours. That doesn’t mean all our tours are historical tours though. Most important is to meet the people of North Thailand and learn about their daily life. We don’t live in the past.

Old wooden house about Chiang Mai a la Carte
Louis T.Leonowens House in Lampang

Meeting the people of North Thailand

We want you to meet the people of North Thailand. In all respects, this is an incredibly exciting and beautiful region. You will meet some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on your trip. Meeting people on your travels should be amongst the most enriching and inspiring moments of your tour. We make time in our trips to sit down and chat with local people. It should not be one-sided. They are also interested in where you come from and what you are doing in your life.

Two Lawa women and Frans Betgem in Ban Dong
Meeting the Lawa people of Ban Dong

Our Day Tours

We offer almost twenty different day tours out of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. These have all been meticulously researched and are being monitored on a tour by tour basis. We try to avoid the tourist traps as much as possible. It must be said though that there are not many in North Thailand so they are quite easy to avoid. We offer the more standard destinations such as Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep.