As I referred to in my other post (River Kwai Jungle Rafts Hotel), our second preferred accommodation in Thailand was Lisu Lodge, located near the Lisu hill tribe village. It’s part of a community-based project aiming to conserve natural heritage of the hill tribes in Chiang Mai. The lodge itself is operated by Lisu hill tribe villagers, as are the activities available at the lodge.
Again, it’s about the full picture. The resort has 4 wooden cottages, built in traditional Lisu style (can’t find a proper way to describe it – you have to see it). Each construction has 5 rooms, with a common area to sit and relax. As we were a group of 3 couples and one single, this was just perfect and so we had this all to ourselves.
The structures are made from natural materials, requiring a minimum of energy. There’s no air conditioning, but each cottage is built on stilts with a high roof, which allows the air to flow freely.
The buildings are surrounded by nature. When the sun goes down, again the gaz lights are lit, which creates that romantic vibe again.
Private dinner and breakfast
Another great thing – they bring your food to your “room”! So dinner is being cooked at the kitchen next to the relaxing area. In principle you would eat it in the low benches, but given the bad backs and knees of some of our family members, we asked to bring us a “western” table, which wasn’t an issue at all.
Also, for breakfast we had to order our preferred choices the evening before and this was brought to us in the morning. Actually, this was the best breakfast we had in Thailand, without a doubt. Almost 100% of the food is supplied by local people in the area, which his another plus.
After the wonderful dinner, we were surprised by a few Lisu tribe members performing a traditional dance – first for us, then together with us. While holding each other’s hands we fooled around a little bit, which was actually really nice.
Before we got to really enjoy our accommodation and the surroundings, we had a full day planned out – something totally different from the cultural tours that dominated our vacation in Thailand.
We started with some biking – 3 of us at least – the others took the easy way and went on a small bus, cheering us on. It took us about 1,5 hours and was ideal to discover the rural landscape of this part of Thailand, crossing through rural villages, fruit orchards and rice fields.
After getting off our bikes, we could feed some elephants and then go for a ride with them. I have to say that I found that the Thai sitting in front and leading the elephants in the direction they wanted to go, seemed to be pretty harsh with them, which didn’t feel good. Last week I read somewhere that typically elephants in Thailand (and some other countries) are generally treated poorly in view of touristic activities and that some booking agencies actually don’t have these available in their program anymore. So, to be honest – knowing what I know now – I wouldn’t do it anymore. I also saw that all elephant riding is excluded from the programs Lisu Lodge offers today.
After having arrived at the rafting base, we put our gear on to do some rafting on the Mae Tang River. Fun, with a few rapids – but nothing too spectacular in view of the rafting activity itself. The scenic evergreen forest surroundings were largely making up for it, though. And we got to see some smaller elephants again next to the water stream.[vc_media_grid
Visit the Lisu Tribe Community
In the afternoon, after lunch alongside the river, we visited the village where the Lisu tribe is still living a very simple life. Our guide explained us about their culture and their own – for us sometimes barbaric procedures. We were invited for a cup of tea with the eldest lady of the tribe.