Trip Details

The Hill Tribe Immersion experience is one of the most diverse programs offered, and takes place in one of Thailand’s most beautiful spots.  The visit to the northern Hill Tribe community will be one that you are unlikely to forget. The Akha people are a minority group in Thailand who experience various disadvantages; however, they have a distinct culture which you will be able to spend time coming to learn and appreciate.

The Hill Tribe Immersion experience will allow you to try life in this culture, where you will have the opportunity to take part in a range of activities whilst also exploring the area, its landscape, wildlife and attractions. The Hill Tribe’s village is not far from Chiang Rai, a city in northern Thailand. The Thai government set this land aside specifically for the Akha people so that they could stay separate from the wider community and continue with their unique way of life.
The village sits among jungle and hills, and the Akha people truly live off the land. Various materials are used regularly in the Akha way of life, with some plants used for their healing qualities and with bamboo used widely in building projects. The villagers also farm a number of fruits and vegetables for regular consumption. The Akha people have their own language and a distinct culture, and this work-camp project allows you to experience it fully. During your time here, you will also be able to visit landmarks and take part in a number of other projects, including:
  • Helping with construction projects
  • Maintaining agriculture
  • Establishing better water access
  • Maintaining culture and language through education
  • Experimenting with farming methods
The Hill Tribe Immersion project attempts to fuse together two very distinct cultures in a way that is beneficial to both. Exchanges of life observations and cultural interactions are vital, and assistance in education is equally necessary. The idea of this project is not to alter the culture or perceptions of the Akha people, but rather to embrace their way of life and provide opportunities for people of various backgrounds and traditions to learn from one another.
Aims & Objectives
  • Assist with the development of infrastructure and education of the local Akha people
  • Learn about and experience a unique way of life while broadening your knowledge of the local customs, history and culture

Trip Itinerary

We are delighted to be able to offer this incredible opportunity for travellers to experience the Akha community’s way of life. What follows is a basic breakdown of the types of activities and experiences you can expect to take part in.

Sunday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
After dinner, you will take an overnight bus to Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand)

Monday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
Pickup in Chiang Rai and head to the village (1 and a half hour drive)
Visit the local dam where you will have breakfast and get a chance to swim
Lunch
Explore Akha village and the Akha, it’s a holy place
Dinner

Tuesday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
Breakfast
Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from teaching at the school, construction work or agricultural activities
Lunch
Akha language lessons
Visit to the local evening market
Dinner

Wednesday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
Breakfast
Trekking into the jungle
Lunch
Natural hot spa or kayaking on the lake (depending on the weather)
Dinner

Thursday
Akha Homestay
Breakfast
Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from teaching at the school, construction work or agricultural activities
Lunch
Exploring the Akha hill tribe village and learning more about the hill tribe culture
Dinner
Sleep at a local’s home in order to experience and get fully immersed in the Akha lifestyle

Friday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
Breakfast
Working for the Akha village. Tasks vary depending on the needs at the time ranging from teaching at the school, construction work or agricultural activities
Lunch
Visit to a pool or canoeing
Cooking for the hill tribe people, who will visit us in the accommodation to try out our dishes
Dinner
Goodbye party with the locals, they will perform a ceremony typical of their culture which you will partake in

Saturday
Akha Village Chiang Rai
Brunch
Travel to Chiang Rai
Stop at a waterfall to swim
Chiang Rai City tour with visits to the White Temple, the Saturday market and other activities
Dinner
After dinner, you will head back to Singburi

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

For one night during the week long program, you have the option to fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the Akhas by having a homestay with a local family. In this way, you will learn about their morning routine, how they sleep, how they cook, what they eat, etc. This experience will provide you with opportunities to learn the true way of life of the Akha people, firsthand.

Accommodation & Food

Some of you might like to choose this location for a night, to fully experience living in the village as a typical villager. If you go into this homestay, you will be sleeping on the floor on basic grass mats in wooden huts. You will be sharing space with a local family and will eat and live with them, even taking part in the completion of their daily chores.

During your stay, you will be sharing a room with other participants. Your “bed” will be a thin Thai mattress – don’t expect much luxury! We recommend that you bring your own mosquito nets with you due to your rustic lifestyle at this location.

Cell phone reception is incredibly limited – you really are living in and experiencing rural Thailand at this location! You might be able to reach some reception at higher levels.

Food Arrangements
Local dishes are provided on site. Some families might even ask you to help out with the kitchen chores, so get prepared to learn some authentic Akha recipes!

Facilities
There is a small village shop but please remember this is an incredibly rural and authentic location – there are no ATMs, so please make sure you arrive to the location with some cash on you.

Sights & Surroundings
The village is incredibly secluded, there are no major attractions nearby.

Transportation
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Akha Village Chiang Rai

Close to Chiang Rai, the Akha village you will be staying at is located amidst the hills, surrounded by lush jungle. Here, you will get immersed into the lives of the Akha people in a truly authentic and unique location, far away from any travel guide!

Accommodation & Food

The Akha hill tribe village is outside the city of Chiang Rai and you will be living there during your time on this program. Our center is located within the village and the style of the rooms was made in order to resemble the rest of the houses in the village. You will be sharing a dormitory style room with your fellow participants. As it is common in the village, don’t expect beds. You are likely to sleep on a mattress on the ground.

Cell phone reception is incredibly limited – you really are living in and experiencing rural Thailand at this location! But you might be able to reach some reception at higher levels.

Food Arrangements
Local dishes are provided on site – 3 meals per day, but 2 during the weekends. Please note that you will be expected to cook dinner on Fridays in order to show the Akha people the food from your home country!

Facilities
There is a small village shop but please remember this is an incredibly rural and authentic location – there are no ATMs, so please make sure you arrive to the location with some cash on you.

Trip Country Info

Thailand

Population: Approx. 67 million
Capital: Bangkok
Language: Thai
Currency: Baht (THB)
Time zone: ICT (UTC +7)

From trekking in the beautiful mountains of the north to enjoying the glorious beaches in the south and experiencing the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok, Thailand is certainly not a country that lacks variety.

Whilst it really is at the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, its cultural identity remains very unique. As the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid European powers, the Thai are proud to refer to themselves as ‘The Land of the Free’ and many tourists might also know it as ‘The Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people.

Thailand is not only a famous holiday and gap year travel destination, but one of the most exciting countries in the world. Gap year travel to Thailand enables you to experience the excitement of city life as well as the serenity of some of the most spectacular remote islands and countryside areas.  By booking your gap year holiday to Thailand with TRU, you will be able to get a unique view of this amazing country that is difficult to replicate on your own.  We have a fabulous selection of gap year adventures in Thailand from Gibbon encounters and Elephant Sanctuary work to Clayhouse building and volunteering programs.

With our range of ongoing programs, you can even compose your schedule the way you like it. With this flexibility it enables you to say when you are on site and when you spend time with the new friends you have made from all over the world.  Have a look at our latest volunteering and gap year travel to Thailand below or give us a call to find out more about our exciting gap year programs in Thailand.

You can take this opportunity to mix and match projects tailor to your preference. Why pick one when you can pick several.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa