Western back-packers were the pioneers of Thailand's eco-adventure travel.
From informally organised small groups in the early 1970s who penetrated
to the mountain fastness of Thailand's nothern hilltribes, trekking holidays
have developed so rapidly over the past couple of decades that nearly
every hotel and guest house in the northern capital of Chiang Mai now
arranges hilltribe tours. More than 100 agencies are registered as members
of the Professional Guide Association of Chiang Mai and the Jungle Tour
Club of Northern Thailand.
Agencies is smaller northern towns
also arrange hilltribe treks. A typical tour involves a group of six to
ten trekkers, a guide and a cook. There will be overnight stays in hilltribe
villages, and a hike of four, five, or even ten days. Treks are designed
to expose visitors to a variety of hilltribes who typicallay live at various
mountain elevations. The Tribal Research Institute in Chiang Mai recognises
ten different hilltribes in Thailand, estimating their population at around
The Professional Guide Association
of Chiang Mai meets monthly to issue regular reports to the Tourism Authority
of Thailand about individual treks, their problems and successes. Members
also cooperate in setting trek prices.
With the growing public awareness
of eco-friendly programmes such as animall-and birg-watching hiking and
camping, most of which take place in national parkland managed by the
Forestry Department Park Service.
In the south, sea canoeing and kayaking
are drawing more and more visitors equally eager to explore the marvels
of the Andaman and to see that they are preserved for future generations.
In-land canoeing has caught on as well, a positive sign that more and
more people are conscious of the benefits of eco-tourism.
Peaceful temples, picturesque ruins
and a huge array of beautiful handicrafts make Chiang Mai Thailand's
cultural gem. The city is a great place to relax and take in a view
or stroll around and pick out the perfect souvenirs to take back home.
Whatever type of holiday you choose, you will find that one visit
is never enough and this charming city will entice you back again