About Chiang Mai a la Carte

Table of Contents

Chiang Mai a la Carte is a brand of Green Trails

I founded Chiang Mai a la Carte as a brand of Green Trails in 2012 because I wanted to offer all kinds of tours to travelers of Chiang Mai and the North of Thailand. Green Trails is a specialist in adventurous and active tours and promotes and preserves the customs, traditions, and languages of the hill tribes of North Thailand.

Chiang Mai a la Carte also offers active tours but less adventurous and not focused only on ethnic minorities. Our focus is on the culture and the history of the people of Chiang Mai and North Thailand. We also pay attention to community-based tourism, architecture, heritage houses, traditional handicrafts, and social enterprises. Please have a look at the overview of our private tours.

two women in tribal dress

Our Mission Statement

We stand for and promote Travel with Love and Respect
Love and respect for the destination and the people who live and work there; for our beautiful natural world and for all living creatures; for the diversity of cultures; finally for history, heritage, customs, and traditions.
Respect for other religions, for different opinions, and for other lifestyles.

We want to bring together people from different backgrounds and cultures for mutual enjoyment and benefit while at the same time showing and teaching the utmost respect for our environment.

Safety for all participants is our priority and we promote an active and healthy lifestyle.

guide and children Chiang Mai Tours
Family trekking

The Cultural Heritage of Chiang Mai and North Thailand

Chiang Mai a la Carte values and showcases the tangible and intangible Heritage of Chiang Mai and North Thailand. We think that tourism can and should create awareness and contribute to preserving the cultural heritage that we consider unique and invaluable. At the same time, we focus on discovering heritage in the making or “future heritage.” We work with local communities and individuals to showcase their cultural heritage and help them preserve and manage it.
Dance of girls in traditional dress
Tai Lue dance Salak Yom Festival

Carefully Crafted Tours

All our tours are private. Chiang Mai a la Carte organizes carefully crafted tours for individuals and private groups in Chiang Mai and North Thailand. We take you to heritage sites and let you observe and experience the living cultural heritage. Besides, we can customize all our standard tours to your requirements.

We have decades of knowledge and experience in North Thailand, and our passion for this region is second to none. Just check our Things to do in North Thailand pages.

The Cultural heritage of Chiang Mai and North Thailand needs more recognition and protection. We strive to increase that awareness by identifying heritage sites and living heritage. We are also looking for new living heritage as people create heritage every day. Finally, we believe that Chiang Mai should become a UNESCO World Heritage site. This initiative has all our support.

Silver jewellery about Chiang Mai a la Carte
Akha silver jewellery

Will Chiang Mai become a UNESCO World Heritage?

The initiative to make  Chiang Mai a UNESCO World Heritage Site was launched several years ago. Will Chiang Mai become a UNESCO World Heritage? The answer is no for the time being. The proposal from Chiang Mai focused on the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park and the Old City and areas around it.

A dedicated team worked on the proposal’s content with the aim  to achieve Chiang Mai’s inscription on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As it is now the project of Chiang Mai World Heritage Site has been abandoned unfortunately.

Buddhist temple tower Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
The chedi of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Heritage Sites of Chiang Mai

Independent of the initiative to get Chiang Mai inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, Chiang Mai a la Carte pays attention to Heritage Sites and the Living Heritage of Chiang Mai. There are so many structures, art forms, languages, food varieties, textiles, means of transportation, and so on that, we should protect and preserve. We try to create awareness of the value of traditions and heritage buildings and houses. Examples are the heritage houses on Charoenprathet Road. Some of these houses have been restored but others neglected. The Louis House in Lampang is a perfect example of the successful restoration of a heritage building.

Colonial style house
Upayokin House

The Louis Leonowens House in Lampang

The Louis Leonowens House in Lampang is more than 100 years old. It was the office and house of the manager of the Louis Leonowens Company Ltd, which was involved in the teak industry. When we first visited in 2016 the house was abandoned and in a poor state. We have done our best over the years to help raise awareness of the house and its history by sending guests to it. I have posted on social media and wrote several blogs about the house over the years. The house has now been renovated and soon will as a museum later this year. I think we played our part in the rehabilitation of this historic heritage house.

Horse cart in front of old house

The Living Heritage of Chiang Mai

Identifying the intangible Living Heritage of Chiang Mai and North Thailand is a lot more difficult than identifying the tangible Heritage places. The Living Heritage is everything worth preserving other than the Heritage Sites. It is an endless list. Living Heritage consists of markets, festivals, food, language, textile traditions, art in all its forms, handicrafts, rituals, walking streets, traditional means of transportation, stories, traditions in all its forms, performing arts, etc. A good example of living heritage is the samlor, the traditional bicycle taxi.

We have articles about interesting ethnic groups such as the Tai Ya, the Tai Lue, and the Pa’O people. We have also added a page about the Lawa people, who are considered the indigenous people of North Thailand.

Two women with bamboo hats People of North Thailand Tai Ya people
Tai Ya women, Chiang Rai

Tours of Chiang Mai a la Carte

We feature day tours, two-day tours, samlor tours, and historical tours on this website. Besides that, we also offer a small number of festival tours, such as our Loy Krathong and Songkran tours. We can design tours around any festival or event, such as the Poy Sang Long ceremonies and tribal festivals. Chiang Mai a la Carte has a large number of itineraries on the shelf. We can handle any request for customized tours. I visit all our destinations in North Thailand regularly, so our knowledge is updated. Much of that knowledge I use to update our Things to Do pages.

Our historical tours feature railway journeys on the historic railway line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and tours that focus on specific subjects such as the legacy of the teak industry and the history of temples in the old city.

Station with two cars in front about Chiang Mai a la Carte
Lampang Railway Station