GPO Box 3, Nathon, Koh Samui, Thailand
Meet and talk with traditional Lanna and Buddhist monk “Mor Muang” (healers). Explore their 700 year old tradition of holistic folk medicine; experience unique cultural and ceremonial approaches to healing and living.
Spend time with ethnic Hilltribe healers ... talk with shamans, midwives, astrologers, herbalists, bone blowers and soul catchers about their healing traditions. Depending on the trip length, we visit 2 to 6 different Hilltribe villages of Karen, Akha, Lisu, Lahu, Hmong and Yao Tribes. Collectively these tribes are known as Chao Khao, literally “mountain people”.
Some of the villages we visit are part of the current King Rama 1X’s Projects, established to preserve traditional culture and implement agriculture diversity, i.e. viable crop alternatives to opium cultivation.
Each tribe has its own culture and traditions but the healers share similar healing practices, beliefs and rituals.
If possible, we visit the Red Lahu village at full moon to join the priest and villagers in their monthly full moon celebration of dancing and invocations to animistic Gods.
Participating individuals (over 50 healers, liaisons and translators) and villages are paid fairly for their time, knowledge and hospitality. To ensure minimal impact on their way of life, we generally bring only 8 people at a time to visit and limit trips to 4 or 5 a year.
CUSTOMIZED TRIPS ... This adventure would be of particular interest to holistic health practitioners. We are happy to provide a focused experience for special interest groups such as midwives, herbalists, etc.
Dates: between November and June annually
We arrive in the evening and stay overnight as a group in a private room in the Wat hostel.
Very early each morning, Prat Wichin walks to the nearby village to receive donations of food in his "baat" or begging bowl from the villagers. Wat patients, visitors and resident monks are fed from these daily donations. Before breakfast, we receive individual blessings from Prat Wichian as we place gifts of food in his baat. After breakfast we accompany Prat Wichin on a guided tour of the Wat medicinal herb garden. He enthusiastically shares his considerable knowledge of herbal remedies and experience as a traditional monk healer. Prat Wichin enjoys meeting people from abroad and loves it when we come to visit.
After lunch (which is the final meal of the day for the monks) we are encouraged to talk with current patients (if they are not too shy) about their treatment experiences and we meet to continue our conversations with Prat Wichian. He encourages questions and shares fascinating anecdotes about his patients and his life as a Buddhist monk. Before our departure he prepares a medicinal tonic tea - optional for us to try. Also optional is the opportunity to join the patients in a meditation led by Prat Wichian in this delightful rural Wat.
In the late afternoon, we travel by minivan and Land Rover to a modest local guesthouse that is close to the Hmong Tribe village which we will visit the following day. Alternatively, if there is a collective group interest, we can stay overnight in the village schoolroom ... a very primitive but authentic experience. Enroute, we eat dinner in a typical outdoor rural restaurant.
Each day a useful Thai phrase is taught so that by the end of the adventure, participants “pud Thai nitnoi” (speak Thai a little bit). During the longer trips we receive a traditional accupressure massage and relax in a Wat herbal sauna.
Near the end of the trip, we take time for some “sanuk, sanuk” (fun, fun) .. an optional afternoon of elephant riding and river rafting.
Midway during trips over 6 days, we spend a comfortable evening and lazy morning in a 4 star traditional Lanna style Resort.
Eating … Meals on the first and last days are taken in restaurants in Chiangmai. While traveling we eat enroute in typical local restaurants. Meals are all traditional Thai food, altered to accommodate Western taste (mai sai prik - no chili). The exception is breakfast which is traditional Western … unless you prefer rice soup. If you have any dietary concerns or special requirements, we do our best to accommodate them, including a vegetarian option.
6 DAYS ... an introduction. U.S.$899
We stay close to Chiangmai, visiting a Lanna healer, a Bhuddhist monk healer and healers in 2 Hilltribe villages.
10 DAYS ... a more intensive, energetic experience. U.S.$1399
We travel further out to more isolated areas, adding a visit to a Government pilot project clinic, a second Buddhist Wat and 2 more Hilltribe villages.
15 DAYS ... for students and the more adventuresome. U.S.$1599
In addition we travel to the Golden Triangle(where Laos and Myanmar or Burma meet Thailand) to include visits to other more remote Hilltribe villages.
All trips include airport pick up and departure .. we look after everything for the duration of the trip (souveniers, alcohol and personal extras exempted).
A non-refundable deposit of 25% (payable by certified cheque or money order) must be received two weeks before the scheduled trip to secure your booking.
For all of the above, choose your dates (first and second choice). Because we involve so many people, including whole villages, we cannot always predict availability of participating liaisons, guides, healers and villagers but we will do our very best to accommodate your preferences.
Each year in the north of Thailand, there is less jungle and fewer honoring their traditional way of life and healing. Theirs is an endangered way of life.