Explore the ethnic hill-tribes, the Akha and Yao Villages in Chiang Rai and see their ways of life and cultures.
Tour Code: CEIOPT-01
Departure: Every Day
Destination: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Duration: Half Day
Tour Session: Morning, Afternoon
Half Day: 08:30-12:00 & 13:30-17:00
Pick up from hotel continue to Akha village at Mae Chan District. The Akha people are rightly famous for their very exotic and beautiful costumes, and can be seen in many towns in Thailand selling their unique handicrafts. Akha people are usually of small stature, with dark skin and fine, delicate features. Despite their typical poverty. They have a resolute spirit and a great sense of humor. Quick to laugh and joke, they are delightful people to stay with or visit, and are vary generous with whatever they many have.
Deep within all Akha is the knowledge of 'the Akha way' (the akha zang), which has dictated the pattern of their lives for hundreds of years. The Akha originate in Tibet and southern China, and have only recently entered Thailand, the first immigrants arriving around 1905. They are found only in the far north of Thailand, mainly in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai provinces.
The Akha live at various altitudes, depending upon the availability of suitable land, but typically in a position offering good views over the surrounding country. Their houses are on low stilts, with a large porch leading into a square living area with a stove, usually at the back. The roof is steeply pitched. Their religion prescribes exactly how each action should be performed. Any deviation from the traditional is believed to lead to disaster.
The Yao hail from southern China, and at one time had considerable prestige within the Chinese Empire, to the extent that at one time a Yao princess was married to an emperor of China. The Yao in Thailand are a sub-group called "Mien" of the greater Yao family while most Yao inhabit southern China, Laos, and northern Vietnam. They are the only minority group in Thailand to have used a written language-Chinese- and practice a written religion based on medieval Chinese Taoism. In recent years, however, there have been many converts to Christianity and Buddhism. Their villages are widely scattered throughout the northeastern part of northern Thailand, with concentrations around Nan, Phayao, and Chiang Rai. The costume of the women is very distinctive, with a long black jacket with lapels of bright scarlet wool, not unlike a Hawaiian lei. Heavily embroidered loose trousers in intricate designs are worn, and a similarly embroidered black turban. The teeth are commonly capped with gold. The skullcaps of babies are very beautiful, richly embroidered with red or pink pom-poms. On special occasions, women and children wear silver neck-rings, with silver chains extending down the back decorated with silver ornaments.
Men wear a loose jacket, which buttons diagonally across the front, with embroidered pockets and edgings.
Yao villages are typically at high altitudes, with houses built of wooden planks on dirt floors. There is a guest platform of bamboo in the communal living area, and two or more bedrooms. Girls of marriageable age have a private bedroom in which they can entertain suitors.
The Yao are on the whole a very peaceable and friendly people with a great sense of honor. They have grace and elegance, and often a naturally aristocratic demeanor. They are extremely sociable and open, and are delighted to play hosts to visitors.
The Yao are now integrating into Thai life. Their exquisite embroidery is a very mareketable commodity, and their willingness to adopt new ways gives hope for their future within Thailand.
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