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Reisverslag Thaton, experienced the authentic North
15 februari 2014
Thaton, experienced the authentic North
Last time I wrote you, I actually tried to sleep on the bus from Chiang Mai to Thaton. Apparently this didn’t work, because of the curves and bumps in the road and because of the magnificent view. We were driving through the jungle and mountains, it was just to great to miss it by falling asleep. I’m speaking of we, cus I’m currently travelling together with Annika. She is from Austria and when she heard about my plan to travel to Thaton, she asked me if she could join. We stayed in a twin room in the Sapaya Guesthouse on the banks of the river Kok. Our ‘hostelmom and –dad’ could tell us everything about the environment and inform us about thing to do during our stay. She was a Thai woman and he was from the Netherlands.
On Tuesday he took us and some others guests to the local hill tribe market at 7 o’clock in the morning! Here, the hill tribes sell and buy their products. I liked this experience very much, because it wasn’t a set up touristic market. We could only tell that the people knew that tourists could be present because of the ‘ long neck’ woman. They wore a scarf to hide the rings around their necks, so we couldn’t take pictures of it. The funny thing was that we sometimes had the feeling that people were looking at us, rather than the other way around. Here we were the minority, not them! After a rest at the guesthouse, we went to the Thaton temple on the hill. This temple has nine stages and we named of them ‘the Elvis-Buddha stage’, cus this golden Buddha was covered in bee nests .. but just so that he looked like Elvis with his black hair beside his ears ..! He also had a goatee and armpit hair made out of bee nests…! The eighth stage was incredible; a nice view on the area, Buddhist statues in different styles from all over the world and a pagoda with a bone of Buddha in it. Our hostelmum told us that if we would reach the ninth stage, it would be possible to walk down on the other side of the mountain through the jungle and so we did. We reached a certain kind of beach near the river where we sat down for a while to enjoy the silence. Then we called our hostelmum, cus we didn’t know how to get out of there. The hint she gave us was: ‘follow the blue pipe’… and; so we did! Through the untouched nature and alongside the river; what an incredible experience. At a certain point we lost the track and the blue pipe, so we got lost in the high grass. Eventually we found the track back and reached the guesthouse safely. Another adventurous day in Thailand.
The next day it was time for some relaxation while my friend did a visarun to the boarder of Myanmar, cus the next day we would do a trekking! We were picked by Anan, a member of one of the local hill tribes. He showed us his house, family, dog and bird (the bird could speak Thai!) before he took us to another village where another guide joined our tour. For the sake it was a private tour, Annika and I got ‘one on one information’ about the hill tribe’s traditions, environment and agriculture. The highlight of this tour was the lunch in the jungle. We had to make our own chopsticks and cups out of bamboo with a big machete and we boiled eggs and sticky rice in bamboo on a fire, such a special experience! The view on the landscape was just breathtaking, the environment was so hilly and there were so many different kinds of crops that made the landscape very diverse. Corn, pumpkins, rice, potatoes, burned down areas (to make the soil more fertile before the rain season start). We saw a lot of people working on the field and one of them shot a squirrel for dinner! Even though we were exhausted after this long walk, it was a very rewarding and well spend day!
The next day would maybe even top this one… cus we spend this Valentine ’s Day while we were part of a rare local Buddhist occasion. Apparently, this Friday it was something like the Buddhist new year and it’s a public holidays in Thailand. It had also to do with the full moon etc. The only rarity was that one of the villages build a new pagoda (or ‘chedi’) and on this day it was about to be blessed and finished! So everyone dressed up in their traditional clothes and they build a couple of smaller pagodes that they carried in a procession from one temple complex to the new pagoda. As soon as they danced three times around the new pagoda, it was time for free food! We have some as well, such welcoming people… At last, they dragged this big golden bird filled with money to the top of the pagoda and monks, who were standing on the pagoda threw some confetti down, mixed with small coins (1 bath). It was said that if you catch one, it will bring you luck. We were so lucky to be present at this event, it only happens once and just at the time that we were visiting Thaton and surroundings, just wow! What made it even more special, was that we were there with only three other people from our Guesthouse and our hostelmum. No other tourist present, so a very authentic feeling.
Saturday was (‘already’) our last day in Thaton. We had an incredible time with great experiences and for that reason, the journey from Thaton to Chiang Rai must have been great as well? Yes, it was! We went to Chiang Rai by long tail boat, all the way over the river Kok. The water in the river was so low, that our luggage had to be brought to Chiang Rai by car.. And the boat indeed scraped the bottom of the river a few times. It was such a pleasant way to travel from one town to another; sitting in the sun for 4 hours, eating your lunch from your self-made cup and with your self-made bamboo chopsticks, witnessing people fishing, buffalos bathing and children playing in the river…
Five mighty days, enjoyed to the fullest!
And of course… I took a lot of pictures again. Check them out in the Dropbox:
16 februari 2014 11:28 | Door: Ilse
Speciaal om aanwezig te mogen zijn bij een authentieke inwijding.
En met jou kunnen we de jungle in zonder te verhongeren....;).
Prachtige foto's van bijzondere mensen en momenten.
17 februari 2014 15:47 | Door: Evan Roberts
Ik ben elke keer in verwarring als ik lees wat je ons aanbied.Ik probeer het te visualiseren maar het mee te mogen maken en het in je vezels te mogen op snuiven is toch van een geheel andere rangorde.Het zijn superlatieven in het kwadraat en dan nog doe ik er tekort aan.Ik vind het ook prachtig hoe je het beschrijft.
Als ik de of we de foto's zien dan klopt het precies met wat je ons in woorden aan bied en dan word het al wat inzichtelijker.Ik kan me er wat bij voorstellen als je in alle rust daar zit ergens op een rots dan moet je haast als je zintuigen aanboren om het allemaal te kunnen bevatten.Of als een boeddhist niks denken en het gewoon op je laten inwerken.Blijf genieten.Take care and look after yourself.Ina& Evan.
18 februari 2014 21:33 | Door: Teresa Santos
Hello Dear Danouk
You are a very very good writer! You make beautifull descriptions of everything.After your journey you should think about writing a book... And also beautifull pictures! Well, enjoy it the most! Kisses