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Thailand Photos: Rafting, trekking, Karen village home stay in Umphang: 07 - 11 Feb 2006

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Puppies warming up
When I came down from the school yard these puppies were fighting the cold by cuddling together close to a charcoal fire. The fire was nearly dead already!

Lar Ee Or twin lake and birds

After the breakfast we walked 6 km passing farm areas to the north-west to Lar Ee Or twin swamp. The beautiful twin lake is a resting and breeding ground for many birds, water ducks and fish. It was said that there were no stream filling the lake and thus the source of the lake must be underground water.

The twin lake near Ban Thi Pho Gyi  Connecting channel between two lakes
If arranged with the villagers it is possible to do camping provided you take care not to damage the environment, and group size is small. There are bamboo that we can cut to make plates, cups and spoons. Banana leaves can also be used to pack food.

Red flowers on the ground - Twin lake  A farm hut
Strange looking red flowers were seen on the ground at the twin lake site. We did not know the names and their biology. There were still other plants of strange nature at the lakes. For example we saw trees that produce "masalar" (Indian name?) which could be used as an ingredient for making good smell in foodstuff.

A lone lovely hut in the middle of the farm. On one trip to a rural place like this I said that I loved the place very much. But when I was asked "So could you stay here for many years?" by a villager I was mute.

Thai-Myanmar border at Pueng Klueng.
In the afternoon we moved on. This time we used a pick up truck and , at first, went to see Pueng Klueng - a larger village at the end of highway 1288. The highway went into Myanmar after passing a small canal. At the border check point were Thai soldiers some of them were newly assigned and were taking photos of other side using their digital cameras. There were no immigration, no passport control, no sign of office or officers you usually see at an international land border check point. Nevertheless I walked pass the small wooden bridge to Myanmar side, looked into a small grocery shop and bought a pack of peanut that was much cheaper than in Thai side.

Pueng Klueng and Umphang are connected by 2.5 to 3 hours drive on highway 1288. Pick up trucks run the road from morning till late afternoon without a proper time table. It is possible to do home stay in Pueng Klueng. This larger village has grocery stores, Myanmar style restaurants. Electricity is available, and there are few homes with telephones. However there is no Internet connection yet (Feb 2006).

Water powered paddy grinder - Ban Kui Loe Tor
After a brief visit of Pueng Klueng we drove back and turn right to the dirt road to go to Ban Muang Kua (Mong Kua). This photo shows a river powered paddy grinder under the bridge crossing over Mae Chan river at Ban Kui Loe Tor village.

Mae Chan river receives its head water from the mountains along the border (Laui San Min), passes highway 1288 and several Karen villages and drains into Mae Klong river below Ti Lo Lay waterfall.

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