Tours on the north of Thailand

We did two tours to the north of Thailand. The first one was a day trekking. We went on a minibus for one or two hours. Then, we walked for about an hour to a hill village. There lives the Hmong tribe, originally form the region of Tibet and Mongolia. Later they went on refuge in China and during the 50s and 60s many came to Thailand, while others went to Laos and Vietnam. It was a quick visit, and it caught my attention a sign saying “2 photos 5 baht” and also to see they were selling Coca-cola.

From there we went to ride elephants. It was 45 minutes riding the animal around the forest. It stopped to eat all the time. And in the end of the tour, the guides sold bananas so we could feed them. The elephants were like a vacuum cleaner strongly sucking the banana. We also visited a hill tribe called Karen. A great part of the Karen people lives in Myanmar (Burma). In this tripe the majority of the women were dedicated to sewing and the men to produce musical instrument. So, we bought a scarf sewed by them. On the afternoon we went to see the Moradok waterfall. Maxim and I were the only ones in the group that went into the cold water. After that we did rafting on bamboo raft. It was a fun way to end the day.

Our second tour was to visit the Padung tribe. It was far away from Chiang Mai and we made many stops on the way there. The first one was in an orchids farm. They had a great variety of them and the place was really organized. We also stopped on Chiang Dao cave, considered sacred to the Thai people. Inside the cave there were many Buddha sculptures and offering places.

On the north of Thailand, almost by the border with Myanmar (Burma), we visited the Padung tribe, a sub-group from the Karen tribe. This tribe is famous for the longneck women. They are the ones who wear the golden rings around the long neck. Actually, it is not many rings but one single piece. And, as I tried, it was really heavy. The village is very touristy; they are there sewing, posing for the tourists and selling handcraft. There are many stories of the reason for wearing the rings but nobody knows how it started. Some say it was to protect the women from a tiger that once attacked the village, other say that started with a jealous husband, and even others say that it is to protect the soul of the tribe identity. How it started we do not know, but today it seems they wear it to attract the tourists. One thing we learn with the tribes and believes in Thailand is that there are always many truths for everything.

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