Lost Mae Taeng

November 22, 2017
Asia pacific, Thailand

Em. Typing

For our first night we chose to stay a bit in the heart of wild Thailand. We wanted to experience a bit of the village life, so we decided to make camp in this very vast region completely stripped of civilisation: Mae Taeng. Well, maybe we pushed it a bit, as the tuk tuk which brought us there almost broke down on this totally unsafe “road” – yes let’s call it road. Our driver (a tuk tuk driver we found on the street in Chiang Mai, whom we decided to hire as our personal chauffeur for the day because Cris liked the tiger he had advertised on his roadster) probably wrecked his tuk tuk after his day with us.

First stop was Tiger Kingdom:

(actually the first stop was a gas station as the driver felt the urge to fill up after he heard where we were going).

This very small park is pretty good: for what they explained (the Thai people there) they do not sedate the Tigers which are just accustomed to humans as they are born in captivity. They just feed them basically all the time they need to be fed so they don’t feel the urge to rip your left butt cheek to eat it. When they are fed they are nice and calm and as long as you stay away from the mouth you are kinda safe. When they start getting hungry they bring them into another part of the park which is enclosed as they become pretty aggressive…in a bit they feed them again and we are all friends.

After a couple of photos with the kitties we are ready to head to the hotel. We pass through some villages and the driver asks us if we want to stop to see a small tribal village while he sleeps (oh yes, he slept basically any time he was not driving). Why not right? So we stop and check this small place.

Kitty resting at Tiger Kingdom in Mae Taeng

The Long Neck Tribe Village in Mae Taeng was possibly the best around (we found ourselves in other ones during our stay but they were pretty tourust-ish). There were actually people living there with a small english school for the kids to learn how to communicate in foreign language. It was amazing. Simplicity was the key. Women with their kids smiling, children playing with flowers, rocks and bugs, people playing instruments and girls weaving cloths. We stopped playing guitar (or whatever that was) with the locals, had a small stroll around, a quick drink at the local “bar” (where a bar is a small caravan that sells you things) and we are ready to hit the sack in our hotel bungalow. At least that’s what we thought…

After two hours and a half spent in the jungle between : “oh this is amazing” and “I think I might need to write a farewell letter to my parents in case we don’t make it”, with our driver now desperate as he didn’t even know where we were,  we arrived to this place that was supposed to be a proper village. I mean it was a village but – you know when you think about the word “VILLAGE” like you see in cartoons, with the small houses with straw roofs etc? – yes it was that kind of village. Of course as soon as we arrived we thought it was time to let our families know we were alive but the rain had destroyed the phone lines so we were basically out of the world for two days! Well too bad, let’s enjoy it! – we thought. It’s pretty nice up there and it has a very mysterious feel somehow. It kind of felt like a place with out of time. Small houses, people that would not even understand words like “Hello” but would feed you if needed (an apparently we needed it because they were all offering us free food and accommodation). All that mattered was feeling the nature and hope that the wooden bridge would not break while you were crossing it above the angry river; yes that bridge in the photo right above!

While here we explored the village, the jungle and a random temple on the top a mountain: here a monk that couldn’t understand our “good morning” managed to explain to us the celebration of the lantern festival, when it was, what to do, taught us how to pay Buddha respect and gave us incense sticks in case we needed them for good luck (possibly cause he knew we had to pass over that bridge again). After he offered us a place to stay for the night, we kindly refused, thanked with respect for a new faith in the human nature and left to walk to our hotel. A long night there on the hardest mattress in the whole universe, led us than to quick trip by car (that costed us like a week of tuk tuk and scooters hiring) to Chiang Mai where we would have been part of one of the most amazing celebrations in the whole world; the reason while we were in Thailand: the Lantern festival.

Long Neck Tribe: girl weaving a cloth

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