The Green Season, the growth of vegetables and fruits, clear waterfalls, fields full of fresh green rice with a chilly temperature and few tourists; all of that is the reason to travel in the rainy season in Thailand. This does not take into account the advantage of local tourism in terms of deep agricultural knowledge and best value accommodation. I could not agree more if you are going to visit the north of Thailand where you can enjoy the rainy season more than any other part of Thailand. You do not need to hurry to wander around the village and can take a path to explore the new city with the new local experience of the area, so now is the best time to pack your gear and go.
During the green season in the north, I would like to introduce you to 2 small local communities in a small village hidden from the chaotic city located in Lamphun province that will open your mind and fulfill your soul. The first place I am going to talk about is the Ban Phrabat Huai Tom community where the uniqueness of this village is most of the Karen people in the village are vegans, especially the old generation. The ancestors of the Karen who lived there followed a revered monk and moved to this area more than 150 years ago.
They are living a normal life, and the main occupation is farming. Men are the farmers and women stay at home like a housewife while girls learn to weave and sew natural cotton clothes from their mum.
They are living a sufficiency economy by planting vegetables and fruits to eat in their family and sell some of them in the market. They sew their clothes themselves, but if they have time they will do it to sell to tourists, but this is not a priority. Most of them are Buddhists and vegan. In every area of the village, they do not allow meat to be brought to be sold in the village, especially in the temple where it is prohibited. You can do a homestay with the Karen and have a vegan dinner with them. You will be surprised by the Karen vegan cuisine even if you are not vegetarian or vegan, it will make your mouth water.
In the morning, you can go to the market and make merit with fresh vegetables. From my knowledge, this is the only place to make merit with fresh vegetables in Thailand. I have never heard that there are other places doing like this. You can see a lot of Karen dress in their traditional dress and go to the temple on a Buddhist religious day. Please note that you should book in advance for a local tour guide and homestay in order to avoid any unpredictable problems.
In the afternoon after making merit, you can either cycle or wander around the village. There are many kinds of learning centres; such as, silversmithing, weaving Karen style fabric, or if you would like to visit a Karen home, you can see them making it at home.
People are very friendly, super helpful and generous. As I was wandering around Ban Nam Bo Noi, I met farmers who invited me to try their fruits; moreover, they gave me a bunch of fresh fruits to take home for free. I was so happy not because I got the free stuff, but I met strangers who were really nice to me even though we did not know each other.
It was very touching. If you are hungry, there is a small vegetarian restaurant close to the temple where you can order very cheap vegan chicken over rice. Yes, you didn’t read it wrong; it exists. I have to confess that I ordered 2 dishes because it was so good.
Visiting Ban Phrabat Huai Tom, take time to be with yourself and let nature heal your soul. From the village, you can go to the Mae Ping National Park, which is also well-known and famous as an abundant natural resource.
The second village that I am going to introduce is the Ban Nong Ngueak community. Here is famous for weaving ready-to-wear natural cotton fabric in Lamphun. There is a learning centre as well, or you can visit the shop and see the production process.
There is a temple in the centre of the village, which has collected and conserved a lot of interesting things if you are interested in Buddhism.
The ancient wall murals are also worth seeing. Visiting Ban Nong Ngueak is like you are walking in a small hometown that seems like everyone knows each other very well. I noticed when they walked pass each other and greeted like the way we treat our good friend and friendly neighbours. You will feel safe getting lost in this lovely village. I just felt like I was visiting my friend’s house while wandering around the village.
Lamphun is not only a stopover city before heading to Chiang Mai province, but there are many places that you should visit and take your time there if you are planning to travel to the northern region of Thailand. Do not forget to put either Ban Phabat Huai Tom or Ban Nong Ngueak on your bucket list. They are worth visiting!