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Unknown Paradise in Chiangmai Province



At the end of 2016, I visited Kiyoshi Yoshida who lives in Om Koi District with his Karen wife. He owns a traditional Karen bamboo house with his wife and uses it as an accommodation for travellers.

He has a blog about his life style living with Karen people in Om Koi. It’s the southwestern most district of Chiang Mai Province in northern Thailand and an untouristy place. My meeting him wasn’t a case of meeting by happenstance but rather I sought him out and contacted him by email prior to my visit because I was interested in him and his lifestyle.

It took 12 hours from Bangkok to Om Koi because the village of Karen is totally apart from urban area. And compared with Bangkok, it was very cold because it’s located almost at the top of the mountain. That made me tired. However, I enjoyed the long distance movement because I could see local atmosphere and the beautiful scenery.


About Kiyoshi Yoshida

He is an intriguing character because he has taken the path less travelled in embarking on a new life in a relatively remote part of Thailand. He was a popular and celebrated author in Japan. He made a very good “human interest” story.

In the 20 year period prior to coming to thailand he worked as a writer and was his wife’s full-time caregiver as she was immobile. Then, after she was gone, he decided to go around the world…

When he came to chiangmai, He met “Laa” his present wife who is from the Karen village of Thailand. She lost her husband as well. As he hung out and talked with her, he gradually fell in love with her and decided to live the rest of his life with her in her home Karen village.


Traditional life style in Om Koi Karen village

Om koi is an unknown and untouristy place. Karen people have their self-sufficient lifestyle and most of them live in the traditional house that consists of bamboo floor and bamboo walls.

And there is a great natural setting around this village. In rice-planting season, you can see a beautifully terraced paddy field and you can get a breath of fresh air.

Incidentally, you can also enjoy drinking. They regularly enjoy drinking distilled spirit a lot. Some people are drunk even in the middle of the day. They are so friendly that you can enjoy talking with them.


Activities in his Bamboo house

In his Bamboo house, you can experience the activities below.

Fire parties, Karen cooking classes, star and moon gazing, light trekking, net fishing, waterfall swimming, traditional weaving instruction, traditional farming activities, ceremonial events and more.

* Some activities are depending on season.


I strongly recommend visiting this village. It’s worth to visit.

Thank you for your reading : )


Author - Taishi Suzuki
Author - Taishi Suzuki
バンコク在住5年目/WEB屋/旅ブログ「BE AMBITIOUS」を運営しています。Japanese travel blogger / I'm based in Bangkok and regularly travel throughout the region.