Ban Huai Kee Lek Chiang Rai
At Ban Huai Kee Lek, you can get to know more about the Akha people, one of the hill tribes in Thailand. Here is a chance to observe their unique culture and traditions through their year-round festivals, which cannot be seen elsewhere. Walk around the village to view their traditional way of life and you will appreciate the charms of this simple existence.
Ban Huai Kee Lek is The small village, community-based Akha village of Huai Kee Lek nestles on top of a forested peak high above the rushing Huai Masang river some 30km north of Mae Suai in Thailand’s northernmost province of Chiang Rai. The valley below is defined by verdant rice terraces and mixed Thai and Lahu villages, but Huai Kee Lek is richly and distinctively Akha in nature and appearance.The village was established more than forty years ago in 1965, in an auspicious spot selected by the community elders. Once chosen, an Akha shaman threw chicken eggs to determine the village precincts and identify necessary sacred sites including the village gate, sacred well and cultural grounds. According to the villagers, these activities attracted a number of local and foreign visitors to visit the new village, and in time this led to the idea of setting up homestay facilities to attract tourists and increase the community income.
The concept has worked well, and today Huai Kee Lek tourism is managed by a village committee while profits are used to sponsor both Akha cultural activities and local forest conservation projects.
Ban Huai Kee Lek Accommodation
Ban Huai Kee Lek Activities
- Experience traditional Akha culture in a mountaintop hut, explore a self-sufficientlife, witness ancient ceremonies and support community to preserve Akha culture
- Besides staying in a genuine Akha stilt house with really amiable and helpful Akha families, visitors have unusual and unparalleled opportunities to observe the Akha at work in their fields which are situated some distance away from the village, chiefly to protect them from domesticated animals – notably the docile but ravenous sway-bellied black pigs that lay sleeping beneath the houses when not prowling for food. Akha work hard at growing their own maize and dry rice as staples, while increasingly farming tea or coffee for cooperatives in Wawee, the nearby district centre. Tourists can also explore the surrounding forests in the company of an experienced Akha guide who will explain the practice of sustainable forestry, hunting and gathering, and the essential arts of self-preservation and spirit-appeasement! Akha have for long centuries enjoyed a special relationship with the surrounding forests, traditionally practicing ‘shifting agriculture’ by cutting and burning the undergrowth, farming the ash-fertilised slopes, and moving on after two or three years to leave the depleted fields fallow to recover. Unfortunately, due to population pressure, this is no longer sustainable, and great care has to be taken to husband and preserve what remains of northern Thailand’s once pristine forests.
Best time in Ban Huai Kee Lek
During indigenous village festivals such as the swinging festival in August, or New Year in December. March is the month to avoid visiting the village due to heavy rain.
Getting to Ban Huai Kee Lek
Located in the Wawee sub-district, approximately 25 km from Mae Souay. The village can be reached by a 3.5 km dirt and concrete road. enjoy Ban Huai Kee Lek.