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Thailand Trekking?

Old Sep 29th, 2017, 06:36 AM
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Thailand Trekking?

I've seen a lot of mention of treks, especially in northern Thailand, especially for visiting hilltribe villages and national parks. What do such treks involve? I'm imagining long hikes? camping overnight? any info is much appreciated. thanks
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 06:43 AM
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If you are going to do a real trek, you would stay overnight in villages (typically, not camping). Many people use the term "trek" when they really mean "hike." If you are really interested in trekking, there are plenty of places that are better for trekking than Thailand) Nepal, Northern India, etc.
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 07:14 AM
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To expand on Kathie's point, there are certainly other places where "trekking" is a regular part of tourism, Sikkim being another where my travel companion was taken on a several days adventure.

Those in Northern Thailand were, if what I've been told is true, originated for those wanting to spend a few days in the Golden Triangle area where opium was the cash crop and villagers made it available for visitors. It was a wild & woolly time and those wanting the adventure were given that opportunity. I'd imagine those have passed and what's left is likely a shadow of the former adventure and not a first choice for those really wanting a worthwhile experience.

This is second=hand information, gleaned under the influence of Thai moonshine at Gap's House in Chiang Mai. Someone else will certainly know more about what's available now.
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 08:51 AM
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MmePerdu is quite right that people used to trek in the Golden Triangle to sample opium. That was true when I was first visiting Thailand, back in the 1980s. Such opportunities are no longer available at least to the general public. Now, people want to trek into the back country to see hill tribes people living in their traditional life ways. The problem is that you really have to get far into the hills to do that, as so many of the hill tribes people have (sadly) been turned into exhibits for tourists. If you want to do a trek like this, you'll need an excellent guide who will get you far enough away from roads that you can see the traditional cultures of the hill tribes peoples. You would need to allow for at least two nights to get any experience of this.
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 09:25 AM
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We have done a few treks in SE Asia, Vietnam and Lao offer some of the best trekking options. We saw few, if any, other western travellers on our trips. In Thailand, as mentioned above, it has, as mentioned above, become overcommercialised, leading to the exploitation of the minority peoples involved, who in turn, seek to maximise there income by selling tacky souvenirs to tourists that do arrive. Some of these places are like zoos where people just turn up in droves to gawp at the Long necked Karen people especially. On a drive around Northern Thailand we turned into one such village by accident and it was awful to see what was going on.

There are still some options provided by reputable tour companies who organise trips to remote villages which have not suffered the same fate of those closer to Chiang Mai - avoid those like the plague. Most seem to operate towards the Mai Hong Sorn area. In deed Fern Resort, just outside of MHS offer day trekking from the r3sort which is a pretty good intro if you don’t wan anything too hardcore.

Typically, treks involve slow walking, usually 10-15 km per day 4-6 hours. Although we have done around 30-40 kms on occasions.

Accommodation is almost always in village houses, sleeping in communal rooms (there is usually only one room!) with the family. Facilities are basic, but adequate if you are not too fussy. Food is almost always excellent and we usually lend a hand with the cooking, mostly over open fires - we have learnt a lot this way over the years. Beds are usually thin mattresses rolled out at night in the communal area. Mozzie nets are provided but do expect to get bitten (they get in through the bamboo floors!)

Get it right and it is a wonderful experience. Choose the wrong operator and it will be a huge disappointment. Not for everyone, but a terrific way to experience cultures that are fast disappearing.
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Old Sep 29th, 2017, 11:54 AM
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"Facilities are basic, but adequate if you are not too fussy."

Basic includes, if things haven't changed substantially, no indoor plumbing, especially for those night-time trips. I confess to being a wimp in that regard (afraid of the dark and appreciate a modicum of comfort) so that's a deal-killer for me. I know others aren't quite as needy.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 05:37 PM
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Thanks - sounds fun but we are of an age where more creature comforts call, so probably not for us - just curious
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