Ja Boo See is a small village of 30 families, which belong to the Lahu ethnic group. The village is located approximately 2 hours from the provincial capital of Chiang Rai, and 7 km’s on an unsealed road from Doi Mae Salong, an ethnic Chinese hill settlement.
It is also possible to travel to Ja Boo See by 4WD along an adventurous back-country route which links Doi Tung and Doi Mae Salong mountains. The distance of 70 km’s can also be completed in around 2 to 3 hours.
The highlights of Ja Boo See Community
“Stay in a small, friendly Lahu Village. Experience local life and traditions, try your hand at bamboo crafts and cooking, collect pumpkins and cucumbers with a Lahu guide.”
Why is Ja Boo See special?
Most local people in Ja Boo See still wear their colourful traditional dress, and farm rice using traditional methods.
Daily life in Ja Boo See revolves around rice paddy and crop fields, where corn, maize, cucumber and pumpkin are grown. Other typical activities include feeding pigs and chickens, and gathering fire wood. In the morning, you will see the villagers pounding paddy rice using a foot mill, which drops like a huge wooden hammer to separate rice grains from chaffs.
The village is a living workshop of traditional arts and crafts. Villagers spend hours in the forest gathering medicinal plants to make herbal remedies. They produce bamboo basketry, various animal and fishing traps, winnowing baskets, mats, brooms and tobacco pipes. Guests can see weaving, sewing, blacksmithing, knife and crossbow crafting. The Lahu also craft and play traditional musical instruments including the Lahu pipe or “Kan”, and the “Sueng” string instrument.
Spiritual life is also vibrant in Ja Boo See. Regular ceremonies are performed at “Baan Tow Bow” (the religious leader’s home), while other festivals take place annually in a sacred dancing circle. The New Year in January is a special time to pay respect to village spiritual leaders and elderly community members. Villagers offer food to the elderly and dance ‘Jaku’ until the dawn. Guests are welcome to join this festival.
Don’t miss this…
Activities for guests:
- Village Life and Handicrafts tour: A local guide will introduce you to the local way of life, stopping first at the organic vegetable plots. It’s possible to search for cucumbers and other vegetables. Back in the village, guests meet craftspeople and elders, who will explain about Lahu culture and show you their crafting skills. Discover how a variety of bamboo handicrafts and traditional musical instruments are made. You can also try playing a Lahu bamboo pipe!
- Forest Trekking or a take gentle stroll: Guests can go for a gentle stroll to nearby natural sites, such as the pretty Mae Kik Waterfall which is the watershed of Mae Jan River. The Lahu are renowned for intimate knowledge of the forest and hunting prowess. Local guides can lead guests along a 5 km forest trail to gather edible wild foods; such as fish, vegetables and plants. Guests can help to make traditional forest food.
Green Corner: People and Planet
Villagers work together to preserve the fertility of the forest. This project is a collaborative effort between the Highland Community Development Foundation and Ja Boo See.
Community members are actively involved in the sustainable management of natural resources, through setting community guidelines for forest use, resource mapping and reforestation.
Ja Boo See community was selected as a case study of the community-based natural resource management process through community-based tourism, and has since become a learning center for other communities. A local guide will introduce you to the local way of life, stopping first at the organic vegetable plots. It’s possible to search for cucumbers and other vegetables. Back in the village, guests meet craftspeople and elders, who will explain about Lahu culture and show you their crafting skills. Discover how a variety of bamboo handicrafts and traditional musical instruments are made. You can also try playing a Lahu bamboo pipe!