April 9, 2007
After we visited the Kroobiasrivechai Caves in Chiang Mai, we did not go back to Wat Non Boa. Instead we carried into the Chiang Rai province. This is about far north you can go before reaching Burma.
The ride up was memorable, as I mentioned in the Chiang Mai post. We experienced how Thais drive, that is, making use of the imaginary middle lane on the highways. Sam was sitting in the front of the van and I passed a few comments to see if he was enjoying all the “blind corner” passing. I don’t think he was liking it too much.
We arrived at a temple on top of mountain. We stayed in a cabin that night and the next day we would check out the village on the border to Burma. I forget the name of the village, but it does have a large scorpion monument in the middle of the township. In the village we were looking for sunglasses, and water guns for the upcoming Songkran celebration. I bought another pair of sunglasses (through the 6 month trip in S.E. Asia I would buy and destroy/lose 6 pairs of sunglasses).
Later that day Prapum and Ajan San took us to a home stay in the Mae Hong Son area. We were the only people there and this was the opportunity to see some hill tribe people. The next day we grouped together (Prapum and Guy came too) and walked 3 kilometres to see the village.
It was an interesting experience going into the village. It was early morning and we could not see any of the villagers. We forced Guy to enter the village first, into the fray with the dogs barking from underneath the bamboo houses.
A young Thai couple welcomed us as we entered. They were staying in the village as part of a home stay. After a good look around we walked down into a valley to see a waterfall.
It was a good walk down, a fairly steep descent, but unfortunately the walk up the other side of the valley caused certain people to start complaining. It was hot by now and not everyone had water with them. Luckily we passed by a water outlet as we walked back to our accommodation. The whole day was interesting but in hindsight I would like to go back there again someday to see more of the Hill Tribes as part of a tour.
We missed out on a lot of the sights in Chiang Rai, and it was a shame to miss the Karen Tribe (long necks). Maybe next time.