Mae Kampong – The Essence of Slow Life in Chiang Mai
Mae Kampong is an ecotourism village that has quickly gained prominence due to its rustic atmosphere, delectable food offerings and perfect climate that offers relief from Thailand’s scorching sun.
Mae Kampong’s road is lined with charming trees that boast bright yellow blooms. This path leads to an intimate valley where houses have been compactly built to maximize space utilization and avoid wasteful sprawling developments.
The village’s history
Mae Kampong Village has long been recognized for its agricultural potential. Beginning in the 1980s, it joined Royal Project villages and started growing coffee under One Tambon One Product scheme (where every district or tambon produces one high-value item to support local economies). Nowadays, Mae Kampong offers homestay stays so visitors can experience village life firsthand and witnessing it first-hand.
Visitors looking to experience traditional Thai life may also visit San Kampaeng Hot Spring. This natural hot springs is located along the road between Mae Kampong and Chiang Mai and makes for a fun place to unwind during weekends when things can become busy. At these hot springs, guests can use natural boiling water to boil chicken or quail eggs before relaxing their feet in thermal basins, swimming in covered pools, or renting bungalows with private baths filled with mineral-rich hot spring water.
Mae Kampong residents are active in upholding old traditions by creating community groups to serve different purposes. For instance, there is a musical group which performs traditional Thai music; bamboo weaving group helps showcase Mae Kampong’s rich cultural history while encouraging visitors to gain an appreciation of Mae Kampong culture and history;
Village life at Loon Village is legendary. Visitors can relax while taking in stunning rainforest hills and mountains from treehouse cafes offering delicious beverages, snacks and desserts like mango with condensed milk served alongside bingsu with coconut topping as one of their most popular offerings.
Rabeing View Cafe in Mae Kampong is another must-visit attraction, boasting breathtaking views of Mae Kampong village from its terrace. Enjoy drinks while taking in a breathtaking sunset. While at Rabeing View, don’t forget to sample fermented Miang tea leaves; these delicacies are popular snacks in northern Thailand and typically eaten alongside ginger, tamarind, pickled garlic & shallots; or with fillings such as roasted coconut, sugar salt peanuts called Miang Kham!
The village’s environment
Mae Kampong’s natural environment is one of its greatest draws, featuring mountain streams, stunning scenic spots and an abundance of trees. Additionally, local residents are dedicated to protecting and conserving Mae Kampong’s environment as well as its surrounding rainforest.
Villagers in an effort to protect the village environment have taken measures to utilize its natural resources in an effective manner, working closely with environmental specialists and creating new sources of income while simultaneously safeguarding its forest and ecosystem.
Villagers have taken to growing passion fruit, figs, mangoes, cymbidium orchids, mulberries and gloxinia flowers in order to increase revenue streams. Furthermore, they have explored growing medicinal shiitake mushrooms for medicinal use as well as crops with commercial potential such as commercially viable strawberries or grapefruit trees.
Villagers are making use of their natural resources by offering eco-tourism activities. Villagers have come up with a series of activities designed to offer visitors an immersive experience while supporting themselves financially – activities such as trekking, tea plantation visits and nature-themed excursions are among those available to visitors.
Mae Kampong offers numerous outdoor adventures, but one of its most beloved is hiking through its picturesque mountains and valleys. There’s even a two kilometer-long nature trail through huge trees, figs, coffee plantations and small babbling brooks – all led by knowledgeable local guides starting at its temple!
Rabeing View Cafe offers an intimate yet cozy environment to take in Mae Kampong Village from a different viewpoint, and provides delicious tea, coffee, pastries and views over Mae Kampong Village and its surroundings. Come here for some quality Instagram shots as well!
Stay at a local homestay to gain more in-depth experience of village culture while participating in traditional activities and making lasting friendships. Not only will you gain knowledge, but also be exposed to its traditions first-hand!
The village’s people
Mae Kampong, located in Mae On District in Northern Thailand, is an idyllic village known for its slow pace of life and time-honored agricultural practices that produce premium teas, coffees, and rice varieties.
Village life offers warmhearted residents around 500 homes constructed from wooden logs that blend harmoniously into their natural surroundings. As you stroll through, locals will greet you with smiles and offer assistance – welcoming visitors with open arms!
Take time out during your explorations of this charming village to visit one of the many restaurants offering homemade food and beverages, including dishes like Northern Thailand “Sai Hua” sausage or fresh-brewed coffee to get an insight into local life here.
Mae Kampong residents take great pride in their culture and heritage, which you can see reflected in how they dress or speak their native tongue. Additionally, this pride shows itself when conducting business transactions or engaging with others.
Baan Mae Kampong is Thailand’s inaugural homestay model allowing visitors to stay overnight at a local house and experience Thai life through participating in their daily activities.
As you stroll through this village, you will discover an assortment of handmade crafts and souvenirs made by local artisans who use traditional techniques to produce them. Popular products include silver jewelry and pressed metal art – either way it is worth your while visiting this village for either its unique souvenirs or simply witnessing an artist at work!
Mae Kampong’s residents are working diligently to preserve its natural beauty and traditional way of life, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this village eventually makes the Unesco World Heritage List in future years.
The village’s food
Mae Kampong Village villagers have made themselves stand out with an exquisite local delicacy known as mieng. Made from fermented tea leaves with a tart taste, mieng is widely enjoyed throughout northern Thailand, often eaten after meals or as an energy boost during hard labor. People typically pair it with foods such as fried pork, pickled garlic, ginger and shallots; or with sweet fillings of roasted coconut with sugar, salt, and toasted peanuts.
Villagers here have also become highly involved with creating aromatherapy products using the tea they grow, including aromatherapy pillows such as the Mieng pillow – a small bag which smells similar to tea and can be used as an alternative pillow; its light design also makes it easily transportable – this makes great souvenirs and is in high demand among tourists visiting Mae Kampong.
Due to the village’s low costs of living and laidback atmosphere, its residents are able to pursue their passions or hobbies without needing to put in too much hard work; evidenced by artisan groups which have formed here.
Mae Kampong fresh market provides an excellent example of this vibrant local creativity at work, as trucks arrive from hill tribe villages delivering seasonal fruits and vegetables, while local homemakers and restaurant workers stock up supplies. There’s plenty of colorful activity here to capture on camera, so bring your camera.
Villagers here have taken steps to preserve their natural surroundings, setting up a co-operative that uses revenue generated from tourism for community projects that benefit Mae Kampong residents. Award-winning homestay programs and eco-tourism initiatives exist here, making Mae Kampong an excellent getaway just an hour outside Chiang Mai.