Our People
  • Amy Waters snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • William Dalrymple Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

  • Liz Bonnin Heroes and Heroines

    The people who lead the way when it comes to those things which matter to us: exploration, the environment, women’s empowerment and education.

Back of two young hill tribe girls walking through long deep green grass.

Northern Thailand

The area around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are home to several hill tribes. Each of the tribes offers its own fascinating traditions and rituals; the Karen, the largest of Thailand’s tribes are known for wearing woven V-neck tunics and turbans of various natural colours while the Hmong tribe are known for their intricate embroidery.

Over the years the tribal groups have succumbed to tourism and a large amount of their authenticity has faded, however with some insider knowledge and a little effort you can still visit tradition hill tribe villages.

The green lush scenery makes walking in this region a delight but, for those that prefer, elephant treks are also available and small mahout courses. Why not try venturing into Myanmar for a day or two or continue with a journey into Laos and take a boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.


What do you really love doing? We’ll tailor your itinerary to suit you.

Experience a Homestay

Experience hill tribe culture through a homestay – trek to a hill village north of Chiang Mai and stay the night in a local home to gain an insight into life in this rural region.

See related content

Encounter Asian Elephants

Learn more about the Asian elephant at the Four Seasons Tented Camp or Anantara Hotel Chiang Rai. With a focus on care and understanding, neither offer elephant riding.

See related content

Local Market Cooking Class

Chiang Mai is home to some delicious regional food so a cooking lesson in the market is fun.

See related content

Pai and Mae Hong Son

Explore the ethnically diverse Mae Hong Son region in Northern Thailand. With markets and lush vistas, this mountainous region bordering Myanmar, is a change from the busy city of Chiang Mai.

See related content

The Hall of Opium Museum

Take a day trip from Chiang Rai to the Hall of Opium Museum, set up to provide education and information on the opium trade, which once plagued this region.

See related content

Visit The Golden Triangle

Visit the rural Golden Triangle of the north where Thailand borders Burma and Laos – a region full of temples, tribal hill villages and elephants.

See related content

Meet Rural Hill Tribes

Travel out to Mae Hong Son province and spend a night in Pai exploring less visited hill tribe communities.

See related content

Take the Sleeper Train

Journey on the local overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai or treat yourself to Eastern & Oriental’s journey to Singapore.

See related content

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Amy Waters

After my degree in Fine Art I didn’t really know what career I wanted or what path I would take. The only thing I knew is that having spent a summer in America it had given me the desire to explore and see as many places as possible before becoming a grown up and entering the real world.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveler chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz. Later, my father’s postings took us to Nepal where we had to transit Delhi and Kathmandu where we were sometimes stranded for days and Hong Kong from where I travelled in 1983 through China for two months.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

Deborah Brock-Doyle

My first journey for Steppes was in 1999 when I set off to explore Thailand to gather those little details that constitute Steppes Travel’s trademark knowledge. I have since been lucky enough to travel extensively in Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and India. A few special memories include being joined at dinner by an otter in Laos, proudly being shown an illicit picture of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and diving with manta rays on Christmas day in Indonesia. I’m pretty sure I always leave a country wishing I had done more, seen more, learned more ….. but I also always hope to return …

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 601 784

Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

Read More