April 20…3rd day with Joe-Maesarieng to Mae Hong Son

First stop is Wat Phra That Jomjang…..a temple that is 400 years old built in style of lanna… different than we have seem. It is the northern Thailand style. Many in the area are in style of Myanmar because close proximity to the border and consequently influence. I asked about the different style of Buddhas particularly most here are slim but occasionally we see a fat one. The fat one is Chinese style. It’s called “Happy Buddha” for happy, healthy & wealthy.

“Jungle” mushroom that the locals want to grow (why they burn) fetches 1500 baht per kilo. Apparently they look like black button. It’s so dry here. Lots of teak trees along the road.

Tham Kael Ko Mon Cave-(only calcite cave in SE Asia. Oh my! Got a ride up the mountain in the back of a truck …… way way too steep to even consider walking up. There are 5 chambers to the cave. I made it down to see the whole of number 3 chamber. Even at that I was like descending multiple decks on a ship….backwards. And…..what goes down must come back up. Talk about my head sweating. Even my feet sweat. Not good when you are in flip flops!

Kuhn Yuam area where we stopped to see WW2 friendship museum Kuhn Yuam Museum & lunch. Joe told us that in Myanmar there are three groups fighting….Tai (not Thai. The Hmong are part of Tai), Shan and the military. Years ago they were promised independence then promise was reneged so are fighting for it now. The “Opium king” trades in opium, jade, ivory and other precious stones to finance against military.

Mountainous! This road is crazy windy….crazy! This tour is covering a lot of territory but would definitely not be for those that get car sick cuz the roads although in very good shape, as so winding

Off to go to long boat trail boat, to the original long Neck tribe village in Thailand. Along the the river kids are enjoying the water, the same everywhere when they are in the water… fun, fun, fun! It took about a half hour on the boat to get to the village over some shallow rapids …scraping the bottom. I am thinking “how the heck are we going to get back if it is this difficult going downriver???” Well don’t you know….. the motor on the boat ceased to function before we got to the Hmong village but the captain did some jigging and made it work. This tribe have been here for over 30 years. It was supposed to be temporary til things settled down in Myanmar. 60-70 people live here but their other half are in original village in Myanmar/Burma. And some moved (during Covid) to look after elephants in the sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

After getting back into the car we checked the temperature. It had cooled down somewhat but it was still 39 but felt like 45….can you believe it!!!

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