Walking past some of the buildings there were some nice gardens,some unusual plants I have never seen before.
Behind the houses were paddocks used for growing vegetables, rice and corn. The lettuce patch appeared to be well grown.
Upon entry to the Village there are an assortment of displays by the respective Hill Tribes. The displays were always attend by the women, it appears that work is their traditional responsibility.
I stopped for a few minutes to watch this very old lady dehusking rice the traditional way. A hard job and I would think best done by a man
Our Guided Tour included pick up in an airconditioned van, commentary from a local guide who could speak good English, tour through other tribes sharing the community with the Long Neched People.
Cost was approximately eight hundred Baht per person including the 500 baht per person entrance.
Hotel reception booked this afternoon tour .
If you were in a group it would be cheaper to hire a taxi or van. Obtain quotes from the drivers outside your hotel.
As we were leaving the Long Neck Womens' village, only a few hundred metres from the village we walked in front of an elephant. The elephant tried to follow us as he thought we were going to give him food.
This area would be excellent for elephant rides as we watched as the elephant walk along the track up the hillside. Great fun for tourists.
When we visited the rice paddies seemed to be suffering from a lack of water. We had been in Thailand rural districts for 10 days and they all looked parched. Our visit to the Golden Triangle revealed the Mekong River at its lowest level for decades.
Many locals said the low level was not caused through the recent dry weather, but through the dams constructed by the Chinese Government upstream.
The landscape surrounding the village is attractive hills covered with lush vegetation. An ideal place for treking and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. You never know what you might find.
When we visited mid March 2010 the air was smokey. We were informed that during March there is a 3 week burnoff period.
We did not have time to trek the hills.
Generally the housing looked good with most homes incorporating a shop front. There were several homes set back 20 or 30 metres from the road which did not present as good as those on the " Tourist Strip". I would thing these houses were most likely for people involved in agricultural activities.
The first Long Necked Woman we saw as we entered her village was an attractive lady , very polite and willing to talk.
Our guide informed us that she was wearing 27 neck rings. These rings are fitted over the years and are a considerable weight. In fact I tried some on and they are extremely heavy.
The neck is stretched through the number of rings resulting in the neck muscles deteriorating and unable to support the neck should the rings be removed. Removal would most likely result in a broken neck.
Laws have been enacted to prevent the fitting of rings to children. In this village this law is ignored as I saw several children from age 7 onwards wearing neck rings.
You will notice that all women also wear rings below their knees. This is necesary to prevent them from falling over as a result of the weight on their neck.
The Baan Tong Luang project commenced in 2005 and as a tourist I do not know if it is a success. Certainly it looks good from a tourist point of view with large numbers of tourists visiting daily and generating good revenues for the Long Necked Karen people.
I would think success should be guaged in what is the outcome for these people. Will they ever be granted Thai citizenship or repatriated to their homeland?
This village was established in 2005 to house the "Hill Tribe" people in an Eco-Agricultural project. These people had crossed the border into the Chiang Rai district many years earlier. They had not been accepted as Thai citizens and are treated as refugees.
The village contains 5 or 6 tribes but our visit was to see the Long Necked Karen people.
Some agricultural endeavours have taken place but these are second to the tourist trade where the Long Necked Women are "On Show" as they go about their business of weaving and other creative activities.
The women are happy to pose for photos and speak to tourists. We were lucky as we took a private tour and were the only tourists around during our one hour visit.
My wife did not like the idea of these women being on display. However she purchased several items and one of the women sat with her for 5 minutes and explained the situation.
The Chiang Dao cave complex is set inside Thailand's 3rd highest mountain (2275m), Doi Chiang Dao. The caves extend over 12km into the mountain.
Now it was over 10 years ago that we visited this cave system and I whilst Thailand is considerably more visited now, I really don't think an awful lot would have changed much here.
The Chiang Dao cave complex is a series of 5 internconnecting caves. Tham Phra Nawn (360m) and Tham Seua Dao (540m) were two caves that were illuminated and could be explored easily, with no aid. The next three caves, Tham Maa (7365m), Tham Kaew (477m) and Tham Naam (660m) were considered not suitable for Farang. However, having a Thai mother-in-law in tow, once again proved to be a prudent choice and with a little of her gentle persuasion... we were allowed to continue our exploration, with a guide (in flip flops!) carrying a lantern - no lights here!
As we slipped and slided at every stumbling step we gingerly took through the 2nd part of our cave expedition the local Thai's practically ran, sure-footedly past us in their flip flops!!!
It got harder and harder as we went along and obviously as far as safety went - if it was our turn to die.... (ah, yes, the old Buddist way!). Eventually it got so scarey; so high up with an incredible sheer drop to one side of the narrow path which was wet and un-nervingly slippery and with the ceiling lowering and... well, I was overwhelmed by the sense of mortal danger and claustrophobia and made the executive decision that I couldn't go on - I needed to go back. Translated the reply came as "too dangerous to go back, no go back, this way please". my ordeal continued... but it was SO very worth it and I survived to tell my tale!
A lot of the formations (which are very spectacular) are named after the things they look like... and if you believe and squint.....
Approx one hour north of Chiang Mai, lies the beautiful verdent green mounatain area of Chiang Dao. The best time to visit this place is during the months of Dec to Mar. while the rest of asia lies drenched in monsoon rains, this place is dry and cool at an agreeable temp of 20-25.
Wat Tham Pha Plong is at the end of the road that goes past the Chiang Dao caves, Malee's and Chiang Dao Nest. It is half way up the side of the mountain in a small cave surrounded by forest, with over 500 steps to the top. It has some great views, and due to it's location is completely peaceful. It is possible to do meditation here. Some of the monks speak very good English and can arrange for you to spend the night at the temple. Don't expect too much sleep though, as they wake up at 3.00am for teaching.
As well as being a very beautiful place the temple has importance as the last teaching place of a highly revered and respected monk. Looang Boo Sim Buddhacaro spent over ten years teaching Buddhism at Wat Tham Pha Plong.
Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary is located about 1km away from Chiang Dao Cave and about 200 meters away from Chiang Dao Nest 1. Many tourists came here for trek and also bird-watching activity. Personally, i have try it but will do so if i have the chance to return to Chiang Dao again.
Chiang Dao is a remote rural countryside. Most of the locals depends on farming to make a living. Therefore, padi fields and farms in a sight you will see most of the time if you are off the main road.