Sunday, January 04, 2009

10 day solo Travelogue to Pai - Adventure's End

The Adventure’s End, haha very movie title right! Haha, trust me to come up with such a title to end my travel blog. As this is the end, it’ll be slightly longer a blog bear with it.

My last adventure of the 10 day trip, ended with a 3D2N jungle trek in Pai! Highly recommended by travelers & internet (travelfish website), I headed straight away to Mr Chart to book my trekking trip! He runs his own adventure, with only his bro & himself leading trekking groups into the mountains for trips lasting 1-7 days! Although slight more expensive than others, it is worth the $$ cos he does his way differently! Nobody treks through his path except for his company – Mr Chart Adventure.

Mr Chart with his trekking get up! That's REAL gun!

Anyway, a slight hiccup to the start of the tour. Initially, I was the only 1 booked on the trip, which will only run with at least 4 pax (if u don not wana pay extra). So the night b4 I was scheduled to go, I went to confirm & was happy to find that there were 4pax which means the trip can go ahead!! However, on the morning itself, we found out that the Canadian couple did not show up (they didn't pay deposit earlier as well), n suddenly, we are only 2 (with Mr Chart). Under normal circumstances, he wouldn't run the trip with 2, unless u pay extra to cover the expenses, but as we HAD to go on that day & it was unfortunately incident, we went ahead. Hence, to cut cost, we had no helpers (not enuff $$ to pay for helper) so we had to carry the things among ourselves (food, & stuff).

So here we are, a group of 3 – me, Angie (Canadian who’s been working in BKK for 5yrs in WWF) and Mr Chart! Angie reminds me of my ex EY snr JT. She talks & look abit like her! She’s like the gentle sort, one look at her & the way she talks, u noe she’s those noble kinda person! N she really is very environmental man!! Too holy hahha! Started trekking through the jungle. Our aim for the day is to reach the Lisu village, which takes abt 6hrs of uphill trekking at a height of 1700m.

Oh crap! Loads of buffalo shit!

Our simple lunch of tofu & pork, BBQ over campfire started by Mr Chart

When I say uphill, I mean really uphill not steps! Not like when u climb those mountains, where the tracks r sorta well walked, this is totally not well walked! U’r just basically climbing up the mud slopes, so if u slip 1 step, 一失足成千古恨!That’s it for u. Luckily, I pride myself on good balancing & firm steps, with my hardy strapped sandals, I endured the climb. I tell u it’s worse than step climber, 100 times! After the 6hrs climb up to the village, I feel I have totally toned legs!

Scenery from above!

Lisu village

We reached the village b4 sunset, so it was a pretty great feeling & view to watch the sunset at 1700m above sea lvl! So surreal! It’s so nice & beautiful feeling, with the cool air surrounding. I just sat there, all dirty, sweaty & smelly but doesn't really care, & stared at the sun setting. It made me realize that all through my 26 years of existence, I have NEVER once watched the sunset in Singapore. Not even when I live in the west, which shld have made it even easier. But ask me & I wun have any idea where to go for sunset in Singapore! Dear dear, & to think that I always crave for sunset viewing overseas.. Eh don even mention sunrise (who can wake up tt early to view the sunrise, Somemore it’s in the east). Anyone has any ideas for sunset view in Singapore? Wana go watch??

Beautiful sunset! Mesmorized

Anyway, we spent our night with 1 of the family. As mentioned earlier, this is not like those commercialized mass marketing trekking trip where the accommodations are nicely furnished. Nope. We just arrive at the village & knock on the doors of anyone of the villagers for 1 night to sleep. In a sense, it’s like intruding on them, but they were really friendly & kind! They’re like totally untouched by tourists, no selling of beers or souvenirs, just totally sincere hearts. Was very touched that the mother went all out to make our bed comfy, laying down all the blankets & mattresses. They totally DO NOT understand English, but it doesn't matter. We learnt ‘Ah Ku Bo Mok’ which is greetings in their native tongue. Looking at them live, u just realize how lucky we are back home. We have everything we need, & yet we somehow still want more! They have no electricity (only solar powered lights), not much money but that’s not impt to them! As long as they have enuff rice or food to feed the family, they’r fine & happy! U can just feel that they’r really happy the way they are!

The family we stayed with!

Coffee tree (hmm some1's eyes just lit up!)

Our bed, neatly laid out by the mother

We found out that the girls in the village get married at the age of 12-13, and have kids 1-2yrs later! We met this one girl, with her baby & she’s just 14!! Wow, their sex education is so much more advanced than us! But well, sorta expected cos in the village, they don get much education, & their means of living is farming. So for the ladies, early marriage is sorta like the course of way!

THe mother & baby, she's 14 ONLY!!

FYI, we did not bath that night. But we don really care! It was cold, & bathing just did not cross our minds. & the villagers also lidat la! Too cold, they also nvr bath everyday.

The next morning, we went to another Lisu village near to the Burma borders, to witness their New year celebration! It was the last day of their 3 Day celebration. It was quite fun watching them so into their celebration, singing & dancing, & cooking. It was really a very nice feeling to be part of the celebration. That afternoon, we continued our trek downhill to spend our 2nd night in the jungle!

Dancing & singing. They were so energetic! Kept asking us to dance!

Cute little baby!!

Women gathering in the kitchen feasting on Meat Meat & more Meat

After abt 4-5hrs of trekking, passing through Mr Chart waterfall, we reached our campsite for the night. More of just a flat land for sleeping than a real campsite. Yes, we slept on the jungle floor, with just our sleeping bag around the campfire! No nice beds, or bamboo floors, but only the mud & leaves.

Mr Chart waterfall, exclusive cos nobody comes here!

We went to work immediately upon reaching our campsite, gathering firewood (loads of them), chopping bamboos for cooking etc. It was fun cooking in the wild, everything gathered from the wild, the wild veges, the bamboos for cooking water & soup, the ladle made of bamboo, eating outa bamboo. Nice!

Cooking water. The water tastes really refreshing & sweet!

Prepping for the dinner!

Cooking!! Yes I can cook!

Our sleeping area, just on the floor beside the fire!

Ah, u may ask, eh how abt if u need to relieve ursef (big & small biz). Just do it in the nature man! Find a tree or bush, hide behind & do it!! Haha, of cos I brought toilet paper la! And yes, no bathroom, so no bathing. But I did wash up abit la!

Bamboos all ard! Can shoot period drama here!

The end of the road...

Some farangs marking the intersection with stone structures!

We did it!!

The last day was rather relaxing. A simple walk back to square 1, passing by the Mae Yen waterfall & finishing at ard 3pm! Yeah! All exhausted & smelly, I rushed back to the guesthouse & had a long long bath!

One last look at the Pai River. So Beautiful!

Signboards all ard! But they cannot b trusted!! The distance only i mean

Lovely hosts - Peter & Darling! I will go back again!

Last night in Pai, I went out for a long walk in the town. Absorb the atmosphere one last time! Small little town, charming little place, but not too overrun by tourists! Looking ard, actually there are v v few asian tourists! Except for local thais, u hardly can find tourists from Asian countries! I’ve only met a small Taiwanese group, a few HKies! Most of the tourists are farangs or local thais! Hey peeps, abt time to discover this gem! The town is also v small that u bump into the same pple every now & then! This Aussie couple which I met at the trekking agency, we bumped into each other abt 3 times over 2 days!! This couple v cute ahah, they even invited me to Xmas dinner but I was on a rafting trip.

Of cos all good things must come to an end. My 10 day solo trip ended on 31 Dec, with a flight back home. Tired & mentally exhausted, I had a long long bath complete with extreme scrubbing & facial to clean up myself.

I really love the place! It has a very cozy feel to the little town. The pple r really nice there, & they do not tout! Travelling by myself, can be daunting & boring at times, but it’s an experience. It forces u to be more alert, to be more independent, & to NOT rely on other pple cos u gota take care of urself! It makes u more open to things & pple. The 10 days gave me time to think through my life, reflect on my past year & what to look fwd to in future. It gave me time to think through some of the choices & happenings in my life & to make some decisions too. Life is short, live it! Don’t be too hard on urself, & don’t hold on to sth too strongly & firmly. Sometimes, letting it go may be the best solution. Let nature take its course, I like to say. Sometimes, u really have to do it tt way. But of cos, sometimes, u have to persevere. Will i do it again? Maybe, nvr say nvr! Will i visit Pai again? OF COS!! I want to go back during the wet season for more action packed rafting!! Anyone interested?? Please let me know & we can organize!!

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