Some of you may have noticed our page about helping the Hill Tribes. This is an initiative in cooperation with Pack for a Purpose. We collect supplies for the kids that are donated by our guests that use the extra space in their suitcases to transport their gifts to the Hill Tribes. We also take a portion of our profits and donate cash to the cause.

Normally we try to leave the people alone and let Khun Nim and Khun Thun deliver the items to the villages. I am not alone in being concerned about what happens when well-meaning tourists want to go to the orphanages and get their pictures taken with the kids. There are many articles discussing the details of this problem and the distortions it causes. Here is one…

Voluntourism tips: is it ethical to visit orphanages?

But we also felt that if we will bring our guests to the kids, we should at least document their generosity being put to good use. So last December, Qinlin and I went along for a delivery run of supplies to a school in Chiang Dao. I am so glad we did.

We arrived on the 60th anniversary of the school and were greeted by the English teacher, Khun Nok. Because of the celebration, the kids were playing volleyball instead of the usual studying. They treated us to a simple feast of spicy noodles. We got down to the important business of photographing some of the donated supplies with the kids and teachers at the school.

After playing with the kids, Khun Nok and some other teachers showed us around. They were very proud of their students’ work. Besides the normal academics, it was enlightening to see some of the skills they were taught…

  • retailing – selling food and plants in a sidewalk stand
  • making brick tiles from sand and mud
  • arts and crafts that can be sold to tourists

At last, it was time to move on, but some of us posed for one last picture before we left. I hope I can meet one of these kids someday as he or she is beginning studies at Chiang Mai University.


chiang dao school

Pat Styles

I am director of The Coolwater Resort in Phuket, Thailand. However I spent most of my life as a software engineer working for a very large company in Redmond, Washington. Now I live with my wife in beautiful Chiang Mai near the mountains while still dabbling in the computer industry when I have the time.