By far, one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Thailand was hiking to and staying in a local village. The thing that originally brought me to this tour was indeed the fact that we’d go trekking in the wilderness and stay the night with the locals. This appealed to me like no other. When it comes to diving into culture, I think there’s no better way than by hiking. It’s incredibly lethargic to have nothing else to do but put one foot in front of the other for hours on end. It’s rewarding when you’ve finally arrived at your destination, full of endorphins and accomplishment.
I love hiking.
I don’t know when I became such an outdoorsy person, but here I am writing about it so that’s a thing.
We started the day by stopping in some random neighborhood to buy some snacks for our adventure. This was the perfect time for me to buy a hiking backpack because I very quickly realized that I couldn’t hike with my huge backpack unless I wanted to die from pain. It was during this time that I also bought some more street food. Street food is my life. I think a lot of people were afraid to try it though.
Anyways . . .
after our stop, we visited the coldest waterfall known to man. I’m not sure if this is true, but it felt true. Seriously, ya’ll. My expression says it all.
Finally, we drove for about an hour in our cool breezy car to the location where we would start hiking.
After about 5 minutes, half of the group was dying. It was hot and humid and I am not sure some of them were prepared for actual hiking. I didn’t think it was that bad, but I guess if you’re not used to hiking, it could be torturous.
It took about 2 hours or so to arrive at the first village. It felt like something out of a novel.
It also felt really weird to be touring through this village because people actually live there. I didn’t want to be that privileged, American tourist squawking at the way people live. I also felt really weird taking pictures of the village because, once again, people actually live there. But take pictures I did. I tried not to take too many pictures of the people though because it just felt very creepy.
This village was especially special to our group because our tour guide was from this village. His family lives there so he knows all about it. I also enjoyed our evening here because with no internet or media, all you can do is talk with people. We ate dinner over candlelight and then had a big bonfire.
Our tour guide is also building an English school for the village and invites anybody who wants to teach English to visit the school for however long they want. A lot of the children in the village don’t get to study English well because they live so far from the city and don’t have the money to stay there. He told us that it used to take him about 1 or 2 hours to walk to school everyday. Combine that with the heat and awful weather? I can’t even imagine.
All in all, I really loved this village. It felt authentic and I got a better sense of the community that is in it. Animals roam freely and everyone is very trusting of their neighbors. There are no secrets in this town. I’ve only seen Thai villages in National Geographic. I never thought I’d get to stay the night in one.
I also realized that even though a lot of the people in this village don’t have luxuries we have in the city, they are perfectly happy. They don’t want a lot of the things we have. Lacking in stuff doesn’t mean you are poor.
This touched and humbled me. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to live in a place with no electricity, sort of the like in the Peace Corps, and now I’ve realized it really isn’t so terrible. I would even say that I could live in a village like this if it weren’t for one thing:
I wanted to take a shower (or at least wash my hair) even though I knew it’d be torture. And even though it was hot outside, I was screaming because of the cold. Faith + cold water = ahhhhhhhh