Thailand (part two)

This is the second set of images. If you’ve missed the first part, please click here. It will tell you how we came to be on 16 hours night train to Chiang Mai.

20130220_Thailand_0484

We felt like it was a good idea to travel overnight. We didn’t have to pay extra accomodation and were able to save time. The beds in the train were really good and apart from a freezing air condition system, we slept most of the time.

20130220_Thailand_0485

We passed a lot of agricultural landscape, little villages and a lot of people close to the tracks.

20130220_Thailand_0493

People waiting for the train to pass.

20130221_Thailand_0322

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second biggest city, but has only 148.000 inhabitants. It was a big releave to get out of busy and crowdy Bangkok – even the air was a lot better. At least two degrees colder and a lot fresher. We went to a local market to get some food for 3-day trekking tour to the villages of the hilltribes.

20130221_Thailand_0330

So we packed a couple of clothes, sturdy hiking shoes, toothbrush and paste and of course my camera and off we went, passing this beautiful waterfall.

20130221_Thailand_0346

Our guide waiting for us (kids) to finish our bath.

20130221_Thailand_0355

It was very clean and refreshing water. But standing underneath such power is actually quite hurtful.

20130221_Thailand_0381

Already in the first hour we saw two snakes. This was the small one.

20130221_Thailand_0383

We stopped for lunch.

20130221_Thailand_0406

Eventually we went deeper into the woods. The hike started to get a lot more difficult. Luckily we had our guide “First” and “Sammy” (as seen above).

20130221_Thailand_0412

Walking for hours, the woods got thicker and thicker. We really felt like in the middle of nowhere totally in trust of our local guides who lead us to the first overnight stop.

20130221_Thailand_0420

It was such a strange feeling descending from the hills on a very small hiking trail, when all the sudden a little village out of wood popped up in the most beautiful valley. No streets reach into this hiding place, no electricity pylons or cables could be seen. It felt like going back in time.

20130221_Thailand_0425

The so called “hill-tribes” live in wooden houses that a built on poles. Underneath they hold cattle and other animals like pigs and dogs. They are self-supporter in the traditional way.

20130221_Thailand_0430

Sammy explaining us the culture and traditions of the village.

20130221_Thailand_0431

Straying dogs were everywhere. A lot of smaller puppies too.

20130221_Thailand_0434

We then met the people of the tribe, especially the kids who with big blank eyes watched us bulky strangers descending from the woods behind the houses. We brought them little toys which they happily embraced.

20130221_Thailand_0439

We quickly became the center of attraction when all kids from the villages came to greet us.

20130221_Thailand_0447

20130221_Thailand_0455

I then started to wander through the villages, talk to the people using my hands. The hill-tribe people speak a different language than thai which makes it even harder.

20130221_Thailand_0461

The houses were empty. No single piece of furniture. Thai people traditionally sit on the floor. Therefore it is a strict rule to take of the shoes before entering the house to keep the floor clean.

20130221_Thailand_0438

It was getting later and the people started to prepare food. Only after minutes, it smelled fantastic.

20130221_Thailand_0459

“First” is pretending to cook some chicken.

20130221_Thailand_0473

In one of the houses, a woman prepares dinner for her family.

20130221_Thailand_1138

Sitting on the floor, we ate and tasted very very very smicy thai food. We ate different stuff like Massaman Curry, fish steamed in banana leaves, or pig head with a very spicey sauce (see below). Yes, the thai people ate all pieces of the head including the brain, the eyeballs, the tongue….

20130221_Thailand_1142

20130221_Thailand_1148

After dinner, we lit up lanterns and made a wish.

20130221_Thailand_1150

The next morning, I woke up quite early and started once again to wander through the village. The image below shows the house we slept in.

20130222_Thailand_0895

It was a very peaceful and wonderful experience to spend a night in such a villages.

20130222_Thailand_0899

20130222_Thailand_0906

These kids made me take that picture and laughed when I showed it to them. They were very tough young people.

20130222_Thailand_0916

This little one was a bit shy first, but then his curiosity won over his fear and he came down to us aswell.

20130222_Thailand_0911

This photo is one of my favourites. There cool and careless poses just make me laugh everytime I look at it.

20130222_Thailand_0913

He was the leader of them.

20130222_Thailand_0921

Walking through the village they followed me. Sometimes they took off to play something in the woods, sometimes they would look where I was.

20130222_Thailand_0932

Perfect light and expression in this one.

20130222_Thailand_0933

A lot of small kids here. I later heard that they have to walk 1 1/2 hours to get to school.

20130222_Thailand_0934

Two older women bringing fire wood to the village.

20130222_Thailand_0940

They actually drove on these hiking trails with scooters. We got ready to leave and passed this beautiful house near the river.

20130222_Thailand_0942

When I saw this scene I really had to think. Living this life, as simple and honest it is, is definatly not the worst way….

20130222_Thailand_0948

The second day became a lot harder than the one before. The hike was a lot longer and a lot more difficult. Again we became lost in the woods.

20130222_Thailand_0966

20130222_Thailand_0971 20130222_Thailand_0989

We finally reached a river. It became quite hot, so a refreshment was very much needed.

20130222_Thailand_0993

Patrick, one of our fellow travellers.

20130222_Thailand_0994

Wandering along the river was great. There was a lot of shade to recover from the sun and a nice scenery too.

20130222_Thailand_0997

A couple of moments later, we came around a corner and all the sudden this was in front of us:

20130222_Thailand_1003

A big, and impressive elephant. Just in the middle of our hiking trail. He was not tied to anywhere and just curiosly watching in our direction.

20130222_Thailand_1024

The mahout (elephant guide) soon made him (or her) go down to the river. We washed him which he seemed to enjoy quite much.

20130222_Thailand_1035

20130222_Thailand_1039

20130222_Thailand_1049

We then rode back on the elephant and to the next village.

20130222_Thailand_1077 20130222_Thailand_1081

This girl was already looking out for us. I am happy I managed to catch her face in this one.

20130222_Thailand_1094

We desperatly had to take a bath ourselves, and as the village was next to a river, we jumped right in. A couple of boys of the village thought the same and came to play in and at the river.

20130222_Thailand_1101

View from the bridge, that crossed the river. The people from the village use these bamboo rafts to get to the streets to Chiang Mai.

20130222_Thailand_1104

The village was a bit bigger than the first one.

20130222_Thailand_1116

Again kids followed us wherever we went.

20130222_Thailand_1120

20130222_Thailand_1122

We saw a lot of small puppies again.

20130222_Thailand_1131

Good times in the evenings.

20130223_Thailand_1413

The next day, we prepared to leave on the bamboo rafts.

20130223_Thailand_1422

Some kids and older people from the village came to say goodbye. Or actually just sit and watch us greenhorns enter the rafts and almost trip over and fall into the river.

20130223_Thailand_1412

20130223_Thailand_1426

It became a really nice boat tour. In contrast to this group, we had to steer ourselves (just for you know)…

20130223_Thailand_1434

After lunch, were a big big spider was hanging above our heads, we drove back to Chiang Mai.

20130223_Thailand_1435

Debbie in the open taxi that brought us back to our hotel.

20130223_Thailand_1438

Spending these three days in the hilltribe villages was an amazing experiences. It brought us closer to thai culture than we would have imagined. It was definatly one of the highlights, if not the best of the whole trip.

20130223_Thailand_1442

After the trek, we spent another couple of days to explore Chiang Mai, a beautiful and relaxed city with thousands of temples and buddha statues. But this will be part of the next post.

See Thailand (part one).

See Thailand (part two).

See Thailand (part three).

See Thailand (part four).

4 comments

  1. [...] I will split the trip into 3-4 posts. If you are interested where the train brought us, see Thailand (part two). [...]

  2. Wow! Awesome post, brilliant pictures :) You sure are having a wonderful time in this beautiful place!

  3. [...] See Thailand (part two). [...]

  4. […] See Thailand (part two). […]

Feel free to comment. I would love to hear your feedback...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: