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Thailand Photos: Mae Hong Son hilltribe village home stay: 26-28 Oct 2001
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Some pictures from a 3 days 2 nights hiking and hilltribe village home stay in Mae Hong Son province in the north of Thailand. On the first day we did bamboo rafting on Pai river, and elephant ride through the forest and Pai river. Overnight at a Red Karen village. Second day was a climb of hills after hills for about 5 hours to a Lisu village in the north-west of town. On the last day we came down the hills passing fruit and rice fields and finally reached to the road.

The trip was organized by

Elephant ride through the river Elephant riding on the Pai river to the south-west of Mae Hong Son town. Elephants are very smart at traveling on any type of landscape. They can carry heavy loads while negotiating a difficult terrain of forest and rivers.

In the past they were extensively used in the logging business throughout south east Asia. In many places they are still seen working as timber workers. In the tourism business elephants are used to carry the tourists for a thrilling ride through the forest, and to perform tasks to the pleasure of the clients.

The Red Karen village where we spent the first night. The house we slept was made of wood and bamboo. We were provided with bed sheets (matresses), pillows, blankets and mosquito nets. The toilet was outside. There was no electricity. We had to bring own torch lights, spare batteries and toiletries.

Our guide and porters did the cooking. At the candle lit dinner we talked about many things: the life of hilltribe people, religions, belief, weather, and so on. It was a nice atmosphere to make friends with people thousands of miles away. It was completely different from making friends online over the Internet.
Red Karen village

A Red Karen working a rice field These Red Karen people worked for the owner of rice field for 60 Thai Baht a day a person!! Red Karens in this village were regarded as refugees. They did not have Thai ID cards. They received some donation from organizations and private members.

An October scene of paddy fields, fruit and vegetable farms with a back drop of mountains amids mists of clouds. Mae Hong Son is a beautiful province adorned with rivers, streams, waterfalls, forested mountains and caves. Its people are mainly tribal races living and moving in the hills. Karen, Lisu, Shan, Meo and many other hilltribes still live the simple lives. Paddy fields amids hills and mists in Mae Hong Son

Start walking to Lisu village On the second day morning we started walking to the Lisu village in the mountains. The begining was easy. After passing the farm lands we were surrounded by the hills. Then it was climbing up and up the hills along the zip-zap trails and ridges on the hillsides.

On the half way we met with children from the Lisu village we were heading to. They literally ran down the hills to a larger village by the road to buy something. Before we reached the Lisu village these same children return and took over us!! That is why they are called "hilltribes".

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