Ban San Charoen is a Yao (Mien) mountain village nestled in a valley along the mountains of Doi Suan Ya Luang on the border of Phayao and Nan province. Ban San Charoen is hidden at the mountainous area at the most western edge of Tha Wang Pha district. In the old days Ban San Charoen was (in)famous for the cultivation of poppy-field for the production of opium. But thanks to Royal Project Ban San Charoen is now home to coffee plantations and producing (roasting) their own coffee beans. Some of the plantations you can even visit and stay in a homestay high in the mountains. A great way of experiencing authentic local life of the mountain people nowadays. Yes of course there are cars and they have electricity, but the older people are still daily wearing their traditional cloths that they make themselves.
Doi Suan Ya Luang rises more as 1600m above sea-level and the top ridge can be reached by a steep dirt road. From here you have a stunning 360° vista over Nan & Phayao province. In the dry season a 4WD car can bring you up or if you are on your off-road motorbike this will be a great trip up.
Program for Homestay at Hill TopThe program is 2 days / 1 night and includes transport, lunch, dinner & breakfast and of course coffee. Pickup from your hotel in the early morning for transport to Ban San Charoen. This part you could do on your own if you have already transport.
In Ban San Charoen you will meet your host & guide for the next 2 days. He will introduce you to the coffee production and taste some of the local made coffee. After that you will explorer the little village and meet Yao people. In the afternoon you will take a 4WD truck into the mountains to the Homestay where you will stay overnight and enjoy a simple dinner. The Homestay is at 1600m above sea-level and between the coffee plantations. Here you will have a local made dinner and enjoy the evening together.
The next day you will wakeup before sunrise and make a hiking up-to the mountain ridge for breakfast & coffee with a stunning sunrise view (weather permitting of course). After breakfast you will hike back to the Homestay and take the 4WD truck back to the village. Optional you could hike to a waterfall nearby. From the village you will be brought back to your hotel in Nan. And again this part you could do on your own if you have already transport. Be aware that the Home Stay accommodation & food are very basic and simple. Also be aware that due to the weather the program can be changed. Due to bad weather or bad roads conditions it could be that the part of going up by 4WD truck is replaced by a 2 to 4 hours hiking trip.
You can best do this at the end of the raining season or during the cool season, from September to February. Ban San Charoen is about 80 km north-west of Nan town, in the mountains. There is no public transport going to the Ban San Charoen. So you will need your own transport but due to the small roads that are also in not such a good condition it is advised to go there by organised trip including transport.
See : Location on Google Maps