Lonely Planet Writer

Experience Chiang Mai in Thailand with the help of a local

An ever-popular destination for travelers from all over the world, now, there are even more reasons to visit Thailand, as Airbnb has just launched a host of unique, locally-led experiences in the northern area of Chiang Mai and further afield.

Travellers can learn the art of traditional weaving. Image by Airbnb

Aiming to offer travelers unprecedented insider access to special cultural activities and workshops, the experiences are led by local people looking to share their passions. Chiang Mai experiences include visits to the Hmong and Karen villages to explore hill tribe life, and Thai yantra tattoo workshops, where guests visit the small village of Samnak to meet a former monk who will give a talk on the meanings behind the different patterns, animals and deity designs used in the art form. Other events include a make your own Thai herbal ball workshop (which ends with a herbal hot compress massage), a soy noodle cooking demonstration and a traditional weaving workshop with hill tribe villagers.

Experiences include cooking classes and learning about traditional Thai tattoos. Image by Thierry Falise

Globally, Airbnb offers 13,000 Experiences across 180 cities around the world. One of the fastest growing markets in Thailand, last year, more than 160,000 people stayed in Airbnbs in Chiang Mai. With a surge in demand, the company has expanded its platform across the country, and individuals or professional tour guides in Thailand can now request to be listed on the site.

“As tourism in Thailand continues to grow rapidly, it is increasingly important to promote sustainable travel. We are heartened that Airbnb is empowering entrepreneurs and strengthening communities, by providing a global platform for them to share their passions and businesses,” said Worapong Phukpoo, head of research section, Thailand’s community-based tourism institute.

hand holding spoon and dinner with Thailand food hot and spicy with herb on wooden table and cross process and soft flare filter
Experiences across Thailand can now be booked directly through Airbnb. Image by skaman306

Social Impact Experiences are also being launched, which involve local non-profit organizations working with Airbnb to develop experiences that will help the communities they serve and engage in meaningful social courses. Airbnb waives all fees in these cases, with the proceeds going directly to the non-profits.

Last May, Airbnb announced an expansion of its partnership with the World Surf League that would allow travellers to choose from over 75 exciting experiences hosted by surf professionals, certified coaches and influencers in different places.