2011 Sunflower Hill Tribe Festival. Hua Mae Kham.

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Another brilliant ride & photo journey, although I did not quite get all the photos I was after.

    The ride started at 10.40am from the X-Centre & went straight to Doi Mae Salong.

    It was a quiet night & up at dawn for the DMS sunrise & morning market.


    The morning market




    it was early in the day


    arrival time in Thoed Thai was around 9.30AM.
    A couple of elephants greeted us at the Rim Taan Guesthouse

    you don't normally see elephants at the Rim Taan & these guys were in town on tour from Chaiyaphum. The previous night they were in Doi Mae Salong for a local fair at the school, unknown to us.

    The official opening of the Sunflower & HT Festival at Hua Mae Kham was scheduled for 3PM, & we killed time with a visit to Khun Sa's old HQs & Museum.

    & I must be getting old, because a couple of the riders did not know who Khun Sa was.

    Wat Kha Kham

    was also on the hit list to show the newbies around Thoed Thai.

    It was a hectic & bumpy 30 kms ride out to9 Hua Mae Kham to be in time for the show opening.
    We arrived in the lunch break then & sat around listening to speeches & watching people slowly but surely arrive.
    Note here too, that John G / Tukta / Dave Carrel had somehow overtaken us & been at HMK a couple of hours earlier & witnessed several good dancing shows in the morning's entertainment. We missed out!

    All we seemed to get in the afternoon were line ups of hill tribes & continual speeches.


    there were some beauties in the line-up though...


    more to come..
  2. Very much enjoyed the ride, the company and the event. Photos to follow, when I get a computer change sorted later this week.
  3. Good show David. I love those morning markets and some cheeky gals too judging by their expressions.
  4. I've been waiting on this report as the event & riding in the area is amongst the best in Thailand; this really is a moment where you wish you could be in two places at once!
    Pleased also to see more 'locals' actually out & about enjoying what northern Thailand has to offer. Looking forward to the photos.
  5. more photos of the line ups....









    Yao with "wedding hat"

  6. A few more..




  7. A Chinese dance


    Hmong men


    Hmong girls



    and that's it. Fun it was


    We all split up the next day
    1. Gary D going to Mae Sai via Thoed Thai - Huai Mu - Doi Tung - Mae Sai
    2. The Schacksters & Neil going via Chiang Rai
    3. JohnG, Tukta & Dave C going via Doi Mae Salong - Chai Prakarn - Phrao - Chiang Mai.
    4. David Unk via Doi Mae Salong - Chiang Mai "direct," with my Africa Twin clocking up 300,000 kms on the odometer on the way home. See https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/threads/35510-The-Africa-Twin-goes-around-again.

    Thanks for ride & company folks.
  8. The resemblance between the model & the finished work is readily apparent in the last photo!
  9. Again, terrific photos David. Especially love the Chinese dance and the wedding hat and also you with your carved wooden mate. Sorry to have missed this one.
  10. The rare opportunity to see a cooperative effort to preserve and display Hill Tribe culture and traditional dress should not be missed. It surprised me that there were so few foreign tourists there - aside from our group, there were perhaps 2 - 3 other Europeans present.


    The venue is remote but the road in, whilst VERY steep for the last couple of kilometres, is now completely asphalt or concrete. The mountain-side venue also offers a stunning panorama...

    As always, David's photos are superb... I've a few peripheral images, and I always enjoy watching the kids revelling in the excitement of a special day.






    The cooperation by those in traditional costume, and their patience with photographers, is hopefully apprecated...

    The Akha gentleman in charge of organising the sequence of events gives words of encouragement and instruction to the Yunnan girls.


    Whilst some Akha ladies sit among the crowd, patiently awaiting their turn for the spotlight.

  11. That was my nephew in the green shirt taking the photo and Yes, he did appreciate it. We were on a road trip back from Doi Chang and Doi Wawi, but I couldn't make it this year, as had to get back to the hotel, so didn't get to meet up with you guys. A wonderful event indeed.
    Personally, I think it's a good thing not too many farangs go. This is a hilltribe event for the people themselves, no a tourist show.
  12. Good report, as Ian says it would be a shame if this festival was ruined in the same way Pithakon has been.
    Excellent pics as well, good to see "Captain Haddock" has been immortalised in a tribal wood carving!
  13. Do not worry David If you did not get all your views in the box ... your readers are very happy with what you have posted and commented :)! Again I can only regret that I did not made it further than X'trem, as all of you seem to have had great fun and brought back colorful memorabilia.
  14. GaryD asked me what happened to my morning market photos in Thoed Thai so here's a few






  15. Arh Fred you know me. I like to use a GT Rider map.
    Now from what I can gather this year 2012's festival is on Friday 23 November - Saturday 24th November.
    A bit odd I though as most TAT promoted festivals are nearly always on weekends nowadays.
  16. ...but your map isn't on-line and available for others to see places you have marked....
  17. That's right, you probably need to have a hard copy. The next time I swing by Fang I will sell you one. 150 baht for a paper one & 250 baht for a plastic one. The best map you can buy for the GT. It's a long derivative from the original GT Rider wall map in the Library Service Bookshop where you used to go for daily brekky 20+ years ago.
  18. The 2012 program from the TAT in CEI.

    "The Sunflower at Hua Mae Khan will be provide on 23-24 Nov.2012, the opening ceremony is on 23 Nov. at 2 pm. and after that you can see the
    9 hilltribes performance showing until 10 pm. and on 24 Nov.12 you can make merit with the monk on horse riding."
  19. Where do you stay there Dave....camping or stay in Doi Mae Salong?
    How far is the village from DMS?
    Is the road to the village OK?
  20. Another fancy venue David, but November/December not only offeres (usually) nice and cold weather, there are also many great ceremonies and festivals worth a visit. As choices have to be done, I always hope to see pictures from the other ones :). I am sure that some GT-Rider friends will be there again and illustrate the performance.
  21. Jurgen - which "other ones" do you have in mind?

    For mine the Sunflower & Hill-tribe Festival at Hua Mae Kham is amongst the very best Thailand has to offer. Its not just the festival itself which is unique in that it draws so many different tribes who are deservedly proudly spectacular in their unique attire, dances & other customs in a sunflower setting which defies belief, but for a myriad of other reasons including, in no particular order:

    - there are some sensational, some spectacular route options both up & back (I strongly recommend those attending to look at these options - in your case Jurgen it would present the chance to take the tantalising 'collapsed road' or other routes covered in posts such as: https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34565-Caution-Very-Steep-Dangerous-Road-Collapse-Restricted-Area-Dangerous-Road?highlight=caution+dangerous+road ,&/or, https://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/34817-ON-THE-TRAIL-OF-A-quot-MULE-quot-A-Drug-Run-Through-The-Golden-Triangle );

    - Thoed Thai offer so much to the discerning - Shan culture, the former base of drug warlord Khun Sa, the Khun Sa Museum, a truly authentic market, great value accommodation at Rim Taan where owner John is a fountain of knowledge (& former CIA interpreter during the American War), proximity to the former KTM stronghold Doi Mae Salong with good accommodation & restaurants;

    - there is exceptional access to remote hill-tribe villages rarely visited by outsiders (those interested should speak in advance with Vit Toon at Little Home GH in Doi Mae Salong). The official centre for Akha culture is not far away from which the Royal Palace & Gardens of the Queen Mother at Doi Tung can be easily reached).

    - although participants come from far & wide visitors are usually intrigued to learn that Hua Mae Kham is in fact the largest multi hill-tribe village in Thailand. The growing of opium played a very significant role here in terms of growing, the villages position for observation purposes & so on, & makes for extremely interesting background information;

    - there are still few foreigners in attendance.

    One of my fondest memories from SE Asia.
  22. FRed
    I would stay in Thoed Thai at John's Rim Taan guesthouse one of my favourite guesthouses in North Thailand.
  23. I agree Rod, the Sunflower and Hilltribe festival must be one of the most interesting venue in the region. Of course I know and love Thoed Thai /Mae Salong region but I have still to be there once for this great event.

    What I am referring to is that we are fortunate to leave in the North (I would include North Laos for this matter), a region rich in ethnic and cultural diversities, with many opportunities to enjoy living traditions. The calendar is particularly filled with events at the end of the year. From Ok Pansa to Loi Kratong, from the Naga fireballs and Mekong boat racings to the Mae Hong Son Sunflower Festival and Music Night, from Yi Peng flying lanterns to Kathin ceremonies in many temples, the choices are plenty, not forgetting, of course the Sunflower and Hilltribe festival.

    I am now in Chiang Khong, for a nearby Lue Tot Kathin, having already to make a choice with an important festival in Muang Sing. Of course we should not complain about the numerous possibilities... but being unable to visit all venues, I am always happy for pictures and information helping to populate next years calendar :) .

    Sent from my iPad using Forum Runner
  24. Enjoy your trip/s Jurgen; I look forward to reading the posts. I was simply interested which of the multitude of events available you had chosen whilst at the same time singing the praises of the Hua Mae Kham event & region. Those riding in the area are truly blessed.

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