Most Frequently Asked Questions

OUR ECOlodge the Chai Lai ORchid:

How many nights Should I stay?

Depends on how much you like camping. Most of our guests book between 1 or 2 nights here and some in the city of Chiang Mai so they are able to enjoy activities and still have some time to relax downtown. Our camp is rustic and full of natural beauty but it is more like glamping than staying at a resort and we know that's not for everyone. Some people may prefer just a day adventure and then sleep in a hotel in Chiang Mai.


We accept donated clothes (especially cold weather clothing), blankets, mosquito nets and medical supplies such as wound care, children’s medicine and vitamins, and at home HIV test kits for refugee and hill tribe communities. 

How do I get there?

The Chai Lai Orchid is located 1.5 hours from Chiang Mai. The cost is 1400 THB for a songtaew (Thai-style covered truck with bench seating) that seats up to 8 passengers. The return trip you can book with reception upon arrival. We're happy to arrange for a driver to pick you up from the airport or your hotel. The driver will wait with a Chai Lai Orchid sign.  For airport pick-ups please send us your

1. flight number 2. arrival time 3. and if it’s at the international or domestic terminal. Running Late? Call the driver Mr. Neng at 081 1129905

I want to drive a car/motorbike to Chai Lai- is there parking?

Yes, you can park here by the road. We use a truck with 4 WHD if you want to explore the local area.

General Packing/Traveling in Thailand Questions


What is the weather like; what should I wear?                 

  • While trekking, it is best to wear shoes with a good profile, pants and whatever you feel comfortable in for sun protection.

  • Please check the weather forecast prior to your stay and bring weather-appropriate clothing and/ or gear.  You can trek at any time of year, even in the rain season.

  • March-May is the dry season.  Daytime temperatures are especially hot this time of year, and the river is lower.

  • June-October is the rainy season.  Afternoon showers are typical, and the jungle is at its greenest.  Bring a poncho (they can easily be purchased locally).

  • November-February is cold season.  Low nighttime temperatures are common. You will be staying in traditional Karen-style bamboo housing which is uninsulated, unheated and located at a high elevation. We stay warm at night by sitting around a fire and sleeping in warm clothing – bring warm clothes if you plan to visit during this time.

Should I tip for a service (server/tour guide/mahout)

Tipping is not expected but they are appreciated. High-end hotels and salons may add 10% to your bill. We don't include tips its up to our guests.

I heard there's a lot of malaria and Dengue in Thailand do I need to get medicines or vaccines?

There is Dengue Fever in Thailand which is spread by mosquitos. Wearing mosquito spray and loose-fitting clothing will help to protect you against Dengue. If you will be traveling to very rural areas that are far away from hospitals or volunteering with animals you might want to consider a rabies vaccine.  While we are not located in a malaria-zone we don't know where else you are traveling on your trip in Southeast Asia. This decision is really up to you and your doctor who knows your medical history. Some of the medicines have side effects.

What should I bring?

  • Please provide a copy of your passport identification page, for the insurance provider.

  • Appropriate shoes. Sports sandals, hiking boots, runners – whatever you prefer to walk on dirt jungle paths and potentially get muddy or wet.

  • Sunscreen

  • Mosquito repellent

  • If you want to bring a small gift for your homestay hosts to thank them for their hospitality, like a game, or snack from your country, please feel free (optional).

How long is the trek?

1.5-6 hours per day. Private treks give you the freedom to decide what you want to do and when. Our treks can be customized based on your group/ family. The amount of walking and difficulty level is up to you. We can recommend an itinerary, but it’s your experience and we will try our best to accommodate your wishes.

We are a family.  What’s your child policy?

Children under 3 years old are free of charge.

For children 4-7 years old, we charge 50% of the adult price for your tour.

We are a family with small children, and we’re not sure how much they can walk.

We will work with you to build a tour that is suitable for the ages and needs of your children.  For instance, we can arrange a tour that will take you uphill by car, then you can enjoy a shorter, downhill hike.

Are there any long-neck villages there?

No, the Kayan people (long-neck) are originally from Myanmar. They come to Thailand as refugees but are allowed to stay only if they generate money from tourism. The village that was close to us was shut down as its people didn’t produce enough money from tourists and these people were sent back to Myanmar. You can still visit a Kayan village if you would like but you need to travel to Mae Hong Son 6 hours away

Can I swim in the river?

Yes, guests are welcome to enjoy the cool mountain water. 

I don’t know how to swim well- is it safe to bamboo raft?

That's up to you. The water is very shallow in most of the river. Request lifejackets if you want one.

Are the activities like the elephant experience included with the price of the room?

No, activities are an extra charge. The price of the room includes the room, free breakfast, and feeding the elephants. 

Do you have vegetarian/ vegan options?

Yes, we have many vegetarian and vegan dishes but please tell us in advance so the chef can plan.

I have a food allergy can you make alternative dishes?

Yes, dishes made fresh and to order, so we can make adaptations to dishes to accommodate allergies tell us in advance so the chef can plan.

Is drinking water safe in Thailand?

Not even the local population drink tap water. We supply bottled water.