Ban Thoet Thai Travel Guide

Set in Chiang Rai Province in the Golden Triangle in Northern Thailand, Ban Thoet Thai (formerly Ban Hin Taek) was founded in 1903 and is believed to be the first Akha village in the country.

Enclosed by extraordinary natural beauty, this ethnically very diverse community comprises predominantly the Akha, along with Shan, Yunnanese, Lahu, Lisu and other tribes people. With around 3,000 inhabitants, the village has expanded along a three-kilometer stretch of road towards the Burmese border.

Over the years, Ban Thoet Thai has become relatively wealthy mostly thanks to the agricultural trade, but also due to the drug trade, which took place here between 1974 and 1982, involving the infamous drug warlord Khun Sa. After he died in 2007, investors have accessed the remote village attempting to draw tourists to the region.

Despite fears by the village committee that investors will abuse the community, Ban Thoet Thai presently hosts a resort offering visitors a chance to unwind by a watercourse or go biking in the gorgeous mountains. Furthermore, Khun Sa’s house has been restored and has become a museum.

Built on solid ground instead of on stilts, the houses in Ban Thoet Thai are not Akha style but show Yunnanese influence instead. There is a large Chinese temple, a Thai Buddhist wat, and a mosque, which emphasize the various religions practiced by the villagers, while the mélange of several different cultures becomes evident in the miscellany of food, drink and herbal medicine.

Getting There & Away

Take the road from Bap Basang between Chiang Rai and Mae Sai (route 110), then continue on route 1130 into the mountains to Doi Mae Salong. The road later becomes route 1234 and you will reach a dirt road that will take you to Ban Thoet Thai. The nearest airport is located in Chiang Rai, a 25-minute flight from Chiang Mai.

Things to Do

Ban Thoet Thai Attractions

Khun Sa’s house

This landmark has become a museum.