Hill Tribe Culture Festival - Doi Hua Mae Kham: Part 1

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by The Goddess, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. The Goddess

    The Goddess Member

    Tribal Culture Festival - Doi Hua Mae Kham - 13th November 2010

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    Doi Hua Mae Kham is one of the largest mixed hill-tribe villages in Thailand. There are Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Yao, plus Hmong and Tai Yai residents. Located in the north-western extremity of Chiang Rai province, some 30 kms west of Thoed Thai, its on the border with Myanmar and is about as remote a place as one can find.

    The dirt road is an adventure for motorcyclists intent on enjoying the spectacle of the annual tribal culture festival which coincides with the sunflowers in bloom.

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    As Cold Season sets in, golden-yellow Giant Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia Diversifolia) in full bloom transform the hills and valleys into a beautiful tapestry of gold and green.

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    The variety of tribal cultural displays in the natural amphitheatre are breath-taking in their colour and diversity.
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    The Army barbers were giving free haircuts all day!

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    Akha woman in traditional costume

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    Akha men in traditional costume

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    Akha

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    Lisu traditional costume

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    Lisu woman with child - Ban Hua Mae Kham

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    Fan dancers
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    Hmong people in traditional costume

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    Yao girls - dancing display

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    Mongol girls - dancing display

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    Lahu in traditional costume

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    Akha women in traditional costume

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    Lisu people in traditional costume

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    The view is wonderful from the mountain tops in the far north of Thailand!
     
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  3. The Goddess

    The Goddess Member

    Video - Hilltribe Cultural Festival - 13 Nov 2010













     
  4. johngooding

    johngooding Ol'Timer

    Thank you Goddess Annty for your colourful pictures of the festival. Congratulations on your excellent English report as well.
     
  5. corbay

    corbay Member

    Very colourful, a far better picture than the one out of my office window today in the UK....

    Cheered me up a bit.....

    :happy5: Thanks
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I bet the goddess was feeling Top Of The World there. :thumbup:
     
  7. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Ann,
    Fantastic!
    The view from the top of the mountain was wonderful, indeed!
    Roderick & Myriama
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 2

    It was a quick late blast up R118 for me to over night in Chiang Rai & so make it an easy ride into Thoed Thai on the day of the festival.

    So I sort of started from the clock tower in CEI
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    In Thoed Thai The Rim Taan Guest House was my place of stay
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    AND the Rim Taan is one of my four favourite guest houses in North Thailand. :thumbup:
     
  9. The Goddess

    The Goddess Member

    I saw you take a lot of photo, where you hiding those? I can't wait to see Part II

    :lol-sign:
     
  10. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    I bet the goddess was feeling Top Of The World there. :thumbup:
    Hey David, what about the "foreground"? very photogenic also ;)!

    Nice pictures and videos from this colorful festival, I am just looking at them on a small screen in a Laos guesthouse. Will be happy to watch everything again once back home.

    Thank you for the charming report

    Jurgen
     
  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 3

    Hua Mae Kham is 30 kms north-west of Thoed Thai & is literally at the end of the road up against the Burma border.
    It is a unique spot in North Thailand & the biggest mixed hill tribe village in the North.
    Getting there is an exhilarating ride & well worth it.
    Because of its remote location & lack of infrastructure the festival is not that well known or popular with western tourists.
    The festival has a real genuine down to earth folksy nature & that makes it special; however my guess is that now with a good asphalt road there (except for the steep last 500 metres) it will be a very popular & well known festival for tourists in a few more years = "go now!"

    If you don't know where Hua Mae Kham is, it is on the GT Rider Golden Triangle guide map
    http://www.gt-rider.com/maps-of-thailan ... iangle-map
    Grid 1C, top left corner of the map.

    The Sunflower amphitheatre.
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    before the show.

    Hanging out in the sunflowers waiting for the show to start.
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    Free health check ups for the locals. :thumbup:
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    Waiting for a free health check up
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    And free military haircuts :thumbup:
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    Official gala entry
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    Opening Speeches
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    The show's underway
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    Happy Spectators
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    Make-up time first
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    Make-up not necessary
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    This event was a truly superb photographic occasion for everyone!
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    Parking was way up the hill & you had to walk way down to the amphitheatre, & then way back up again. Alright for some younger & fitter, and if you were lucky you could catch a horse in.
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    alas I was not that lucky. :(

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    Akha time..
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    Akha Showtime
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    It was fun fun fun
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    Thumbs up for the Akha show
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    to be continued of course. There's more than enough piccies to go round. :D
     
  12. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    wonderful pictures from a gorgeous event! I hope to put it on my agenda for next year. The Akha are usually quite picture shy, here you got great shots!
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 4

    LISU

    Three of the stars & a blow in
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    One of the great things about the festival was the costumes & THE MEN
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    normally the men don't wear a great deal of their traditional costume, & that's why more often than not you almost only see photos of hill tribe women, because they are wearing their traditional garb. So whenever you attend a festival like this don't forget to a few get photos of the men in full costume!

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    Last but not least a Lisu gent, 3rd from left, doing manly things.
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    Back to show time
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    A real big thorn amongst the roses...
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    One more lot down :thumbup:
     
  14. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Waouhhh!
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 5

    SHAN
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    Whilst you may have been way up in a remote location in the mountains on the Burma border, security was never a problem or something to worry about.
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    Lunch time
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    Akha Lunch
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    City Lunch
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    It was a bit of a feeding frenzy for photographers
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    you certainly were not alone trying to get some decent happy snaps.

    Back to the show

    THE CHINESE
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    One more lot down :thumbup:
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 6

    YAO
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    Little Miss Pepsi was the star of the show
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    note the one bad apple in there. :)

    One more lot down :thumbup:
     
  17. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Of course ... can not dream about a private show. But a tall Paparazzi with a decent lens can certainly put colorful pictures in the box. It is for sure worth the trip.

    Waiting for the rest to be uploaded :)
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: PART 7

    HMONG
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    LAHU

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    The dancing & music wasn't that serious. Even as a participant you could take a break, whip out your phone & take a vdo clip. :thumbup:
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    It was a spectacular festival of colour & people
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    One that I felt right at home with :lol:
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    Great easy going people & the best place & event to get multiple hill tribe photos. :thumbup:
    I'll be back in 2011.
    :wave:
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    THE SUNFLOWER & HILL TRIBE CULTURE FESTIVAL - DOI HUA MAE KHAM: THE END PART. :)

    I was not alone. Whilst I left Cnx alone I did rendezvous with a few other people in Thoed Thai.
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    Rod & Myriama. TG "The Goddess" released from the KIwi Cruiser's clutches for the weekend, plus Jolie & Stu Lloyd.

    The happy gang at Sweet Mae Salong for a late brekky & cappu the next day.
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    Another reason for this trip being so wonderful is a night in Thoed Thai AND then the early morning market.
    I rate the Thoed Thai morning market - open air street market - as the best traditional morning market in North Thailand.
    You need to be up at sunrise to catch the golden rays of the sun flooding the east-west street, but it is an absolute winner every time. PLUS the locals are so very cool & friendly. Put it on your list of places & things to do in North Thailand.
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    Bamboo shoots
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    Super friendly, beautiful people
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    Go soon, before it gets the chop.
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    Thoed Thai's nestled in a lovely valley, not far from the Myanmar border (13 kms to Mae Moh) & approx 24 kms from Doi Mae Salong.
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    Hua Mae Kham is 30 ms further on from Thoed Thai, & very close to the border.

    R1234 Kiu Sataa - Doi Mae Salong
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    TG strutting her stuff
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    That's Doi Mae Salong is in the background.

    That's it, but Shan New Year is on in Thoed Thai Dec 5-6-7.
    shan-new-year-thoed-thai-2010-2011-t8748.html
    see you all in Thoed Thai again.
    :lol-sign:
     
  20. Jurgen

    Jurgen Ol'Timer

    Wonderful venue and certainly great fun.thank you for taking the time to post it. I am looking forward to be home to enjoy on a bigger screen.
     
  21. Jade64

    Jade64 Active Member

    Beautiful pictures! And a really nice festival. I wish I could have been there, as I am quite interested in Hilltribes.

    For those who like such festivals: There is another hilltribe-festival, located in Soppong, Pang Mapha. Early december, when I visited it.
    That festival is not nearly so nice as the festival in Doi Hua Mae Kham, but it is authentic anyway. Just a handful farang there, last time.

    I have written a little bit about that festival in my trip report. So, anyone who is interested in another Hilltribe-festival, can read more about that here:
    first-trip-report-cnx-soppong-chiang-rai-cnx-2-up-t8314.html

    Johannes
     
  22. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    As always, great shots. Sorry to have missed this but its in the book for next year. Thanks for the posting. :happy4:
     
  23. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Boy did I miss out on this! I was in Ban Hua Mae Kham for this festival 2 years ago from about Noon to 4PM but saw nothing near the scope of David or Ann's pix. The festival I was at was much smaller in attendance with no Yao, Hmong or Chinese dancing at all. The only dancing I saw was Akha, Lahu, and Lisu and in a different amphitheater. The one I was at had a concrete "stage" with viewing areas on 3 sides with a sunflower backdrop.

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    So either there was a "main" amphitheater I missed and was only seeing a warmup, or they have replaced the concrete with grass. But based on the recent pix, they seem to have really expanded this festival over the last 2 years. Either way, simply gorgeous photos! But I can attest to the friendliness and authenticity of the locals, great people one and all they were.
     
  24. Jade64

    Jade64 Active Member

    is there accomodation available in Hua Mae Kham? If not: what´s the closest place to get a room?
    Will it be difficult, to get a place to sleep nearby?

    Johannes
     
  25. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    I am not aware of any "official" guesthouses right in the village itself, unless you make an arrangement with one of the locals to shack up with them etc. There is always Thoed Thai/ Rim Taan on the way in, about 30 minutes out (maybe less now that the road is finished).
     
  26. Jade64

    Jade64 Active Member

    Ok, thank you

    If you google for accomodation and Hua Mae Kham, you find some old plans for some "agrotourism" including homestays. But maybe that is a plan that never came to happen. Ok, I will try my luck in Thoed Thai, if I am lucky to manage to come next year.

    Is the date for next years festival already known?

    Johannes
     

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