My friend and i discovered a Fantastic small independent cycling company in Sukhothai (this is halfway on the way from bkk to chiang mai). their website is http://geocities.com/cycling_sukhothai/ .
Our 6 hour bicycle tour was amazing... the guide is very friendly woman and the infomation we learned about the local economy and old Sukhothai temple ruins was very, very enriching. we felt really great and the end of the day, only part of which was the 35kms we covered on bike! this convinces me this is a much better way to visit and support thailand. Have others discovered environmentally & culturally responsible treks/tours in thailand? Not just the normal "hill tribe" treks in chiang mai. Please post them here!
Is there any other way to do Sukothai ?
Turn up at the gate of the park , on your right there is a friendly chap with stacks of bicycles , hire one for 50 baht for the day .
Pay your entrance fee,pick up a map ,and away you go .
Why you would do anything different is beyond me ?
Sounds like a sales pitch to me .
BTW , How did you manage to arrive at Sukothai by "Environmentally & culturally responsible" means ? .
Wasnt meant to be a sales pitch... rather sharing information about a way my friends & I had such a good tour/experience in Sukothai.
Certainly a guided tour is more expensive than renting the bikes solo... but of course. but we found it well worth the investment: it was a chance to learn the history, construction, significance of the temples as well as the meaning to the lives of local people in the town. Just minutes off the main highway was so much farming and local craftmaking to see. Having a very respectful and smart guide made it a bit more of a cultural exchange than just passing by/snapping photos.
ChangFai to your point, of course there is obviously no environmentally "zero-impact" way to travel anywhere, and all travel has its good and bad moments. Sounds like you have a different preferred method to your travels, and that's cool too. However i'm interested in this thread if any others can post tours, treks, guesthouses, etc, that they've found which spend a little more time on the "learning" and not just "seeing." In Bangkok, for example, we discovered our guesthouse was a women's cooperative; and the staff all the more nice to interact with us as guests.
Hi. Volunteering (if you have time) or doing some short treks or homestays (if you are short on time) thru Mirror Foundation is an excellent way to see some of Chiang Rai, visit and understand some of the hill tribes, have fun and contribute at the same time.
Mirror Foundation is a Thai NGO that works to help the hill tribe people in Chiang Rai province. Spending time with them isn't at all like the mass produced treks to the villages near Chiang Mai.
Have a look at www.mirrorartgroup.org or www.learnfromhilltribe.org
for more info
Good luck and thanks for the info on Sukhothai. I only recently visited there and thought it was fantastic. I want to go back again with the family - so maybe with the guide you mentioned.
#4 paul123456789 has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 15
Have a look at hilltribe.org by the Mirror Foundation people too.
Some of their Chiangrai staff are hilltribe people from villages that their treks cover, so the experience can be like visiting a friend's village. Spent a few weeks with them in 2004, can say that a lot of effort has gone into training villagers to be guides, & a few younger & more highly educated ones in IT & photography to produce websites like this one. Their English may not be perfect, but what you read about their way of life (& the video clips) is from their perspective.