Most Akha live in the Thai northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Their villages are found at high altitudes and they can be visited on trekking tours.
The village I visited was located in the province of Chiang Rai. As I mentioned in a previous post, some of my fellow travelers went to see some representatives of the hill tribes in a special type of park open to tourists (in Chiang Mai). For me, it was better to visit the Akha in their proper surroundings. We were able to take a look at their houses and how they live. An elder gentleman showed us his house. Additionally, the women showed us how they cook. It was interesting to see how they save the banana flower to prepare a dish. In the Caribbean, we eat a lot of bananas and plantains. Some say that is our starch. It is fascinating to see how the Akha use a plant so common to where I come from. . As a contrast, we never eat the flower (at least I have never seen it). I tried banana flower salad on another part of Chiang Rai and it tasted good.
I liked how this tribe is proud of keeping their traditions. My guide told me they actually wear their traditional clothes every day. For what I have heard, other tribes and even other Akha villages wear their distinctive clothes when visitors are around or when there is an important event taking place. They also showed us their weaving skills. Before saying goodbye, the Akha women performed some of their traditional songs and dances. This wasn’t anything elaborated. It was more like an impromptu representation of joyous moments.
It was very pleasing to admire the beauty of the Akha people. Of course, the kids stole my heart once again. They were so playful and curious. I really wanted to stay in the village learning more about their traditions and culture. Well, it will be to be on another occasion. For now, my heart is content with all the loveliness I was able to admire.
Let the pictures talk about this fantastic visit to a different world.