‘Chiang Mai is where you can feel a sense of place like nowhere else. Here, you can feel the essence of Thailand straight from the heart.’ Manfred Ilg, Asian Oasis, Chaing Mai and Chaing Rai.
Manfred Ilg has a special place in his heart for the local life and nature that northern Thailand offers. Despite his
career in the hospitality industry taking him to Bangkok, Luang Prabang and Siem Reap, among others, the rolling hills and remote tribes of the north have always stayed with him.
‘Northern Thailand really is an amazing place. It’s somewhere where you can take it easy and soak up the landscapes and goings-on around you.’
As well as the scenery, Manfred has been inspired by the vision of local Chananya Phataraprasit, who set up her local tour
company because she wanted to create an experience that both stayed close to her Thai roots and connected visitors with tucked-away tribes. Its two lodges in northern Thailand – Lisu Lodge in Chiang Mai and Lanjia Lodge in Chiang Rai – give an eye-opening glimpse into the time-honoured lives of locals, allowing you to get under the skin of this genuine slice of Thailand with a range of village tours and rainforest hikes.
‘Here you can really bond with local people and I love that. It is home to really authentic experiences that I don’t think you can really find anywhere else.’
Everyone you meet at the lodges is from a local hill tribe, from the trekking guides to the batik class teachers. It gives villagers a stable income from the different experiences they offer, while a portion of the lodges’ profits goes directly to them, too.
‘We make sure the villagers are as involved as possible with the lodges and experiences we run, as we want to make sure the young local people stay in the villages to carry on these valuable traditions for generations to come. We don’t want this precious way of life to disappear.’
Rest your head
Enjoy a 2-night Lisu Lodge adventure from £1,025 per person, on a full board basis, including international flights, transfers and all activities.