Life in Doi Mae Salong

Media Light held a week long Photography camp during October. 20 students signed up to learn photography and editing with our staff. At the end of the week, we took everyone up to Doi Mae Salong for a photo safari. Doi Mae Salong is a Hilltribe community where the old ways are still alive. I’ve chosen a few photos to give you an insight into daily life up in the hills of Northern Thailand.

We stumbled across a school having a sports day. The yellow heart is no coincidence. It signifies, "I love Thailand", specifically "I love the King". They are passing the balloon to see who the winner is.


It always amazes me how many people can pile into a truck. This may just be an entire hilltribe community.

This is Kart, one of our Engage students, getting ready to head out for her own shoot that day.

Soccer, or football, is the national past-time here in Thailand. Every day at around 6 pm, young boys and men find a phone booth and transform out of their work and school uniforms into their soccer-jerseys. Then they trot onto the nearest dirt plot, school playground, or airport landing strip to meet with their buddies.

A tea plantation in Mae Salong. Many hilltribe communities focus on tea and coffee for their subsistence. This was after the government made the move to eradicate opium harvesting by replacing it with tea and coffee farming.

A hilltribe lady selling some vegetables and chewing betel nut, which blackens her teeth. Betel nut is similar to chewing tobacco, in which it has a mild stimulant and can also lead to mouth cancer.

Development moves at a slower pace in the mountains, but concrete buildings are slowly taking over where thatch-roofed huts used to stand.

The mountains welcome refugees of all backgrounds. Years ago, during the Chinese Communist takeover, nationalists were pushed down from China into Northern Thailand, where they made their home. This is the entrance to a Chinese shrine.

A mother returns from a day of work hauling firewood up the mountainside.

Construction of a new temple on the hillside





2 thoughts on “Life in Doi Mae Salong

    • ajquinley says:

      Thanks Jordan. I loved photographing those kids. They were completely thrown into that game between them. Southeast Asia is full of these kinds of sights and sounds. Well worth a trip, if you are ever considering it.

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