Akha people during a festival
Akha swing festival

Akha Swing Festival Chiang Rai

The Akha Swing Festival is one of the most important  annual events for the Akha people. Chiang Rai Province has the highest density of people of the Akha hill tribe in Thailand. The Akha migrated from China to Thailand more than 100 years ago. If you want to witness this event you will have to travel to Chiang Rai. It normally takes place in the rainy season at the end of August or the beginning of September. The festival doesn’t have a fixed date. It’s celebrated at different dates in different villages. We organize a tour this unique festival. We will keep you updated.

Every Akha village has a construction of bamboo and wood. It is the swing of the village. It is used only once a year during the swing festival.The Akha Swing Festival is about harvest and fertility. It’s a celebration about welcoming the upcoming harvest.The four-day festival comes in late-August  and is known by the hill tribe people as, Yehkuja, (or Loa Cher Bee Err) which loosely translates as “eating bitter rice”, a phrase which is believed to be a references the previous year’s dwindling rice supply and incorporates the hope that the expected rains will soon water the newly planted rice crop.

Guest and Akha people Chiang Mai Tribal Photography Tour
Akha village Chiang Mai Tribal Photography Tour

Akha women traditionally play an important part. You will see them dressed in their most beautiful traditional dress. Women who have reached marriageable age will show their best clothes. The event is also known as the New Year of the Akha women.
The festival features sacred rituals, celebrations and dances to pay respect to ancestors and to welcome the harvest season.  During the festival women fly on this swing back and forth while singing and reciting Akha verses like prayers for a good harvest and a good future.

The Akha are probably the most enigmatic and fascinating tribe in Thailand. The first Akha village was probably established in 1903 in the Phayaphrai district near Therd Thai, close to the border with Myanmar. There were probably not more than 2500 Akha living in Thailand by the end of World War Two. In the early 80s they numbered about 24000.

Check out our Chiang Rai Akha Swing Festival Tour