Visit the Mae Malai Market
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel to start your Chiang Dao Village Life Experience. Today you will learn about local life, livelihood, food and belief of the Palong people in the Chiang Dao area. We’ll stop at the Mae Malai market first. This is a very traditional, local market, quite different from the market you visited yesterday. We will spend some time here to buy the ingredients for our lunch. We continue to the Chiang Dao area. On your left-hand side, you will see Doi Luang Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest mountain looming. It’s an impressive sight.
The life of the Palong people
We continue to an interesting Palong village where we will spend several hours. The Palong (Palaung) people are relatively recent arrivals from Myanmar. They were caught in the crossfire between Shan freedom fighters and the Burmese army. You will meet some of the people. Our guide will explain about their traditional dress and their history. We will walk around the village, visit the church and the Buddhist temple.
Your guide will tell about the livelihood of the villagers and about the different crops they grow here. We will show you lots of different fruit trees. Amongst others, there is mango, longan, pineapple, lemon and papaya.
Here we will prepare our lunch, as much as possible with local ingredients. You will learn to cook in a wok on a woodfire. It is not as easy as it sounds. We will prepare two dishes.
We will also let you taste traditional Palong num phrik, a very spice concoction of peppers. After lunch, we’ll trek through the fields of the Palong to a small temple on a mountain. It’s not a difficult hike. The views are very nice. We’ll meet a solitary monk who lives here. Hike back to the village.
Chiang Dao Cave, a place of worship
Next, we will visit the Chiang Dao Cave. These caves penetrate Doi Luang Chiang Dao. The caves are venerated by the Thai and Shan people as is evidenced by the offerings, statues and decorations present at the entrance and inside the cave. At various locations within the caves are small temples and statues of Buddha. The temple is located high up on the slopes of Doi Luang Chiang Dao and it is well worth the walk up the 500 steps to the main chedi. Return to Chiang Mai.
If time remains we will stop at Wat Ban Den aka the Blue Temple. This is a stunning temple with nice views over the ricefields. It is a fitting end of an entertaining and educational Chiang Dao Village Life Experience. We will drop you off your hotel in Chiang Mai.