is a traditional Laba Lahu village located in the capital district of
Chiang Rai province, twenty-two kilometers from the city of Chiang Rai.
Ban Jalae is adjacent to Huay Mae Sai Waterfall and is surrounded by
Akha, Lahu, and Mien tribal villages. The villagers of Ban Jalae still
practice their traditional beliefs and have a lifestyle rooted in the
wisdom accumulated over hundreds of years of surviving in the mountain
Similar to most tribal communities in Thailand,
however, Ban Jalae is experiencing a rural exodus as restrictions on
farming land force families to send their children and young adults to
work in the city make ends meet. Losing this generation to the city
produces not only a strain on the social fabric of the village, but
also an abrupt discontinuity in the Lahu culture and lifestyle that
have been passed down for centuries. Most concerning, Lahu youth
working in the city often simply reject all aspects of their culture as
address the dual problems of cultural erosion and lack of sustainable
sources of income near the village, the Mirror Art Group and Ban Jalae
chose to create the Ban Jalae Hilltribe Life and Culture Center. This
multi-media center powered by solar energy combines displays about
traditional Lahu culture, handicrafts and know-how with video
presentations that show that the deep and intricate cultures of the
tribal peoples in and around Ban Jalae are anything but "old
Ban Jalae Hilltribe Life and Culture Center is very much a community
endeavor. All artifacts in the Center come from Ban Jalae and
surrounding Akha and Lahu communities, with each home in Ban Jalae
donating at least one item. The community also invested six months of
labor to construct the four adobe buildings that comprise the Center.
The villagers of Ban Jalae have made this investment so that they may
not only share their culture with guests to the village, but in hopes
that the Center will rekindle among hilltribe youth throughout Thailand
an interest in tribal culture that has waned over the past generation.
The Center would like to thank the Mae Yao
Sub-District Administrative Organization, the Chiang Rai Tourism
Authority and the generous financial and logistical support of the
Most importantly, we would like to recognize the village of Ban Jalae
for its strength and vision.
If you are
interested in visiting Ban Jalae, you can travel by motorcycle or rent
We have a maps of the route
from Chiang Rai city to Ban Jalae,
or from the surrounding area of Ban Jalae, Huay
- When leaving Chiang Rai city head out on the highway to Mae Sai.
- Take a left turn immediately after crossing the Kok River.
- Follow the signs for Huay Mae Sai waterfall.
If you would prefer the
Mirror Art Group to organize a trip for you, please contact:
Ms. Parisudha Sudhamongkhala ("Moo")
Tel. 053 737412-3 or 07 175 8668 (outside
of Thailand replace the initial 0 with the 66 country code)