Thailand is a multicultural land of local people. There are very unique styles, which are very different in each region from Northern to Southern Thailand. Within the various hill tribes, there are also many differences and most hill tribes are living in the north of Thailand. Today, I am going to share with you about the small lovely hill tribe village located in Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, Phitsanulok province. Most of the population that lives in the village here are Hmong. People have rarely heard about this village, but it is going to be in your bucket list after you finish reading this article.
Ban Rong Kla is a small lovely town in the valley. Here you can see the way of the slow life of the local hill tribe (Hmong) who still retain the simple way of life. You can access this region by renting a car from the airport, or you can take a public bus to the national park and hire a local car to get there. If we are talking about the Hmong, generally most of the hill tribes in Thailand have migrated into the region in the past 100 years from the Asian interior and have largely preserved their traditional ways, making them a fascinating cultural study.
Each hill tribe has its own customs, language, dress and spiritual beliefs, and this is sometimes true even in the numerous sub-categories within one hill tribe. They prefer living above 1,000 metres above mean sea level and shy away from the outside world; therefore, agriculture is the main occupation and income earner for the Hmong and other hill tribes.
Amongst the Hmong, the most famous agricultural products are Napa cabbage. Here you can see the cabbage fields in every direction. On the hill, there are only several grocery shops for villagers, and there is only one small school from kindergarten to Grade 6 for the children. After finishing school, there are two options for students; they either go to junior high school in another village that is very far away from Ban Rong Kla and stay in a dormitory in which they will be able to come home only twice a year on school breaks until they graduate, or they can go on to help their parents do agriculture and have their own family afterwards. Due to the fact that Ban Rong Kla is located 1,530 metres above mean sea level, the weather is quite cool all year round and a sea of mist can also be seen over the village.
The way of the Hmong people living here is very simple and ordinary. They normally wake up early in the morning and children go to school; toddlers will go to the vegetable fields with their parents. Only the elderly people will be at home making some handmade traditional things; for example, a Hmong jacket and Hmong hat, which are very elaborate and exquisite. The rest of the family will go to the farm or vegetable fields to take care of them, and then come home in the evening and the family will gather to have dinner together and share what they have done throughout the day.
There are many homestays in the village, which is a good chance to get to know about the local people’s way of living. You will get a chance to try the local food, which is basically the vegetables that they grow in their fields. After that, you can visit the cabbage fields of your host to see how they work; such as, cropping, harvesting, product distribution, and so on. If you are lucky, the host might even give you a chance to harvest the cabbage yourself. If the host will let you try it, do not hesitate to do so; it is so much fun! Moreover, if you do not know where to learn agricultural knowledge, you can also hire a Hmong driver and let them be your guide to explore the village, visit the vegetable fields, and try to harvest.
Apart from that, there are so many other places you should visit; for example, Phu Lom Lo, which is the highlight and highest point with walking trails and a nice spot offering a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the villages in the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park. This hill is one of the most popular destinations; visit the largest paper daisy field in winter (from November to February). Paper daisies are sold by Hmong children for souvenirs to tourists, and this will be their funds for education, which is just one more great reason to support them.
At Ban Rong Kla, you should stay with a homestay at least 1 night to soak your body with fresh Ozone, chill to relax, and watch a million stars at night. Reboot yourself here and get ready for the street jungle. Nothing can be better than letting your thoughts become one with the nature around here and leaving your stress behind and smile with the present moment. Here it is easy to not worry about what hasn’t come yet and just embrace every moment that you are living - make the most of it and this lovely village in every way!