Monday, 29 October 2012

Going Tribal in Thailand

Cute village girl
The best trips are the ones that will take you off the beaten track, places where no one has gone before. Be it a desert, a jungle or remote villages where western civilisation hasn't been able to integrate into the daily grind yet.
Much like the Karen villages you’ll find in the north of Thailand near Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Me and my travel buddy signed up for one of those treks that take you to these hill tribe villages on a trip to Thailand a few years ago.

For four days we went back to basic. We walked through the jungle, through rain showers and scorching heat, from one remote village to the next. Feeling much like we were going where no other tourist had gone before. We stayed with local families in their wooden huts built on stilts. We had to do without any mod cons like electricity  running water and even without toilets. Going to the loo meant having to climb down a ladder, crawl underneath the hut and do your business right there along with the local pigs, dogs and chickens. It was all wonderfully basic and authentically tribal.

Our last evening was spent with our small trekking group, having dinner on a porch, surrounded by nothing but a few other huts, the rainforest and a sky full of stars. Some local children had gathered around us on the porch entertaining us by singing songs in their native language. Or so we thought. While most of us were enjoying the idyllic surroundings and the delicious food, one member of our group suddenly remarked that the song the children were singing sounded remarkably like Baa Baa Black Sheep trying to find some wool. He was right. And to make matters worse, Baa Baa was followed by its Dutch, German and French colleagues. Suddenly the trekking trip didn't feel so untrodden any more.

Okay, so it wasn't as off-the-beaten-track as we'd hoped. It was still a wonderful way to get a glimpse into Thai life in the country side. Even if we weren't the first ever travellers to experience it.


  1. That's quite funny with the Baa Baa Black Sheep, in a diverse world some things are universal!

  2. hmmm, well the words in Dutch are a little bit different, but I think children around the world like the same songs! that's for sure. :-)

  3. I really wanted to do a trekking trip like this when I was in Chiang Mai, but I just didn't have the time. Sounds like a great time despite not being the only foreigners there - now I have an excuse to go back!

  4. Definitely a good reason to go back!! :-)