Today was our last day in Thailand and I have to say I’ve had a blast here. When I booked this trip I was not expecting that much new in Thailand from given I’ve been here before but thanks to our Chief Experience Officer Ben and the many great activities in Chaing Mai it was a great positive surprise.
Today we went on an optional tour of the Baan Tong Luang Eco-Agricultural Tribes Villages which contains eight different tribes; Padong, Kayaw, Akha, Palong, Hmong, Lahu, Yao and the famous Karen people. These tribes are in an a difficult position of not being Thailand citizens as their heritage comes from both sides of the boarder. As a result the Tribe’s conditions have been tough as they couldn’t legally work in Thailand. At least now they have some limited rights to work in this area. The village visit also provides necessary income to support their way of life.
The village is an amazing throw back to a simpler and probably better time of life (except for health care). The children were all happily playing and the adults farming and cooking when we arrived for an early morning visit. Once of the most unexpected fun activities was firing an old fashion bow gun. I almost missed the board with the target the first time but on the third attempt managed to hit the target. I wouldn’t want to be on the end of one of these weapons.
The women of the Karen people wear neck rings which over their life extend their necks. The likely reason this started is to protect their necks against lion attacks.
Next up was a visit to the Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm. The butterfly enclosure was good and the orchid necklaces were stunning.
From here it was time to say goodbye to Thailand and hello to Laos. Our plane was a small 40 passengers propeller plane, I expected this to be a rocky ride given the overcast conditions but a quick 60 minutes later I was in a new country.
The hotel we are staying at, the Maison Dalabua, has an amazing mini lake, definitely a little bit of paradise and only about a 10 minute walk to the city centre and the night market. We visited the night market and took particular interest in the street food. While it looked amazing none of us were willing to give it a try tonight, I still have memories of what happened when I tried street food in China which didn’t turn out well health wise.
Tomorrow is our first full day in Laos which will include a boat ride, some Temples and a Museum visit. Looking forward to exploring my 53th country!