The second step of our trip in Thailand brought us to a small village, located 70km north of Chiang Mai, the largest city in the north of the country. This region that was once qualified as the Golden Triangle due to its rich production of opium.
We meet Chris, an English chef who assists the local community via the development of an Eco-Lodge: LimeLeaf. Noi, a young grandmother of 45, takes care of the operations on-sight, accompanied by her daughter, husband and other local employees.
Right when we arrive, we are overcome by a feeling of peace and happiness, which accentuates as we discover the local environment. On top of the mountain, dominating the valley, the lodge is located close to a Lahu Tribal Village. Extremely charming and welcoming with their beautiful smiles and flamboyant attire, you would never guess that this originally Chinese tribe was chased from its country more than 200 years ago.
The activities offered? Treks through the villages, the jungle and the waterfalls, traditional cooking classes, Muay Thai trainings, yoga/meditation space, birdwatching, steam tent, pool, billiard, camp fires, and local instruments available for the experimental. We don’t know of a better place to perfect your photography skills than this region blossoming with scenic landscapes, waterfalls, wildlife, and star-lit skies. The local community is also delighted to pose in front of the camera. What more? No mosquitos!
The lodge offers 6 unique bungalow options, built from mud and/or local wood. The electricity is generated by solar panels, and the wastes are sorted and recycled according to their type (plastic, glass, aluminium, organic).
The local community is completely engaged in LimeLeaf’s operations. The organic meals served at the lodge are cooked with ingredients bought from the local farmers. The local coffee (made by Noi) is particularly delicious! The treks are guided by the village sherpas.
Noi and her husband love to share their anecdotes on the Lahu lifestyles, but also the story of the lodge, which was recently congratulated by the ministry of tourism for its actions towards a more responsable and sustainable tourism.
We heard that many travellers decide to extend their stay here. We sure wish we could!