Wat Luang Khun Win “The Secret Temple”
This incredible adventure will take you to a little visited and intricately carved wooden temple, a Karen village, as well as an afternoon interacting with a small family group of elephants and their Karen mahout in a lovely mountain location. This is definitely not “your usual tourist experience”!
Far from any tourist crowds, a day of eco-tourism and real interaction with the local people, accompanied and photographed by James throughout. James has been resident in Chiang Mai since 2012. He has a unique relationship with the elephant refuge, the guide, the mahouts and the elephants themselves.
In the morning, straight after you meet up with James, our guide will be taking you all in his 4 wheel drive to visit the secret jungle temple, Wat Luang Khun Win. Our guide was born in these hills and has a wealth of jungle wisdom that he will be sharing with you throughout your experience.
Karen hill tribe homes are very simple and functional
You will see ancient forest and amazing giant bamboo as well as the exceptional carved wood temple.
After the temple and before lunch we will stop at the local Karen Hill Tribe village. You can visit a house and see how simply these lovely, hard working people live and our guide will explain how the community functions as one entity.
You will be really hungry by now! The small mountain resort where you stop for lunch is beyond charming and you will fall in love with the mountain views. What is more, it is a non-profit organisation that provides protection and education for under privileged ethnic minority young women, many are refugees from Myanmar, through the Daughters Rising Foundation. You will meet some of them as they also learn from working in the resort. There will be plenty of local food and a delicious fruit shake to energise you for the afternoons activities!
Alexa Bay, founder of Chai Lai Orchid and
Daughters Rising, with some of the young women
The family of elephants will be joining you at the resort. Your mahout will introduce you so that you can get to know the elephants and learn some essential facts on how to interact with them before you set off. From the resort you will be taking a short but steep, 20 minute hike down to the river and the natural pool where the elephants love to bathe and play. You will be able to join the elephants in the water and everyone, especially the elephants, will have a really enjoyable time! Good walking shoes and a bathing suit are recommended.