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...NORTHERN & WESTERN ...

...Lovely Long Neck Women Of The Padung Tribe N. Thailand...

As The Padung Longneck Women are a small minority hill tribe in the Golden Triangle of Thailand. This Tribe is located near Ban Nam Phiang Din, in the Mae Hong Son province of Northern Thailand, near the border of Burma, in a secluded valley outside the provincial City Mae Hong Son.
Young Paduang girls start wearing these rings from the early age of six -12 years adding one or two more rings yearly, until about 16 years old. the rings are On forever, if one removed the full coil of rings it would the collapse or even fracture the woman's neck. ( So they can NOT be removed!!! Paduang hill tribe woman Paduang Woman Weaving In the past, The Story Say's removal of the rings was a punishment for adultery. The punishment was, that since the neck muscles had been severely weakened, by many years of no support of the neck, the woman has to spend her life, holding her head with both hands or lying down... How Sad!

...Padung Long Neck Women and Child...

the 6000 members of the Padong tribe in Burma, where around 300 of them went to Thailand, almost twenty or so years ago, to escape the Burmese repression. The Thai governments helped to set up the Paduang village in a small valley of Mae Hong Son province. the Paduang tribe in the Golden Triangle has about 475 members..or so..
The extreme weight of these rings have over the years pushed down and deformed their collar bone and even the upper ribs, their collar bone looks to be part of the neck not sure of this..Sure Looks So!

doitemple
...Doi Kong Mu Temple...

Early this morning we fly to Mae Hong Son, At least that is what we thought! Happens the clouds over the mountains made it almost impossible, but alas they cleared & finally we arrive in the sleepy little town of Mae Hong Son, which is hidden deep in the valley ringed by beautiful mountains, in a setting fit for Shangri-La!! In the towns are some of the most beautiful Burmese-style temples with their tiered roofs, One of them is the Temple Doi Kong Mu where we were able to see the most beautiful sunset. The surrounding countrysides have some of the most breathtaking views!! many Hill Tribe Villages and a wonderful cave that we were told was to have been used in prehistoric times.


...Myself At The Temple... Cute Little Thai Kids...

Your can drive to Mae Hong Son if you have the time, on a winding road through some of the Norths finest hill country. It is about 400 miles from Chaing Mai.

Today we go by foot and Elephant through some of the rainforest in southeast Asia. If only our trusty Elephant and Mahout spoke English, It would have been much easier!!!


... Man On The Makong...

After a few hours, we were ready to take a raft down the river. So we thought.

The best way to appreciate the natural beauty of the North is by trekking through the jungles. On foot, by jeep, by elephant back which is one of the way's we choose to do or by river rafting which I personally enjoyed doing. While overnight stops are made at hilltribe villages it is here you gain rare insights into tribal life. I don't suggest you do these treks alone! There are many travel companies available in Thailand that can help you arrange Treks that can last from one day to a week with an experienced guide whom at least speaks their language.

... More Of Our Photos of Thailand... ...

For those you that have little time a neat way to experience the jungle is to take one of the long-tail boat which plies the Kok River between Tha Thorn, which is north of Chaing Mai to Chaing Tai. This journey of just a few hours is a memorable experience. The same trip can be covered more leisurely by raft, stopping at hill-tribe villages along the way. This can partly be done by all three above.


....On The River Raft...

We Decided to Do A Jungle Trek By Elephant...To Me was A Mistake! As The Elephant Was doing ok...But with not much to hold on to! When He Decided to go down hill ...Then up Hill... For sure I thought I was going to go flying...Our Mahout Got Annoyed with the big boy And threw a few stones At Him...I am freaking out that the elephant was not going to be to happy! ha If the Mahout spoke any english I would have paid him to Go back..No GO!!!!


...Get On Here! Are You Crazy...

...STAY TUNED OUR THAILAND JOURNEY CONT. THAT IS IF I AM STILL ALIVE HA..!!!


...How Much To Get OFFFFF!????...

Between Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai you will find an Elephant Training Camp..It has it's own zoo..And A river ride..Which is neat if you have the time..It depends What part of the year it is as there are times the river is to low .. So Small Planes are available ...to see the splendor of life in the countryside..
Also in Chaing Rai..You can can do an elephant safari However, We took our own way of doing this and as you see above for me it was very scary.As the elephant had no problem going up and down steep hills but it truly felt like we were going to fly off of him!!! For Sure......Now If you want stay at a hill tribe village..

In Mae Hong Son..Which is a distant out post of the Thai Kingdom...which is much influenced by Burma and borders it..you can also Visit the Doi Kong Mu Temple which is beautiful.. There are many Places to shop and eat at the many noodle stands which are Burmese style places to eat..Mae Hong Son Has some of the most unspoiled Rain Forest in S.East Asia..Hey If your Brave try The Elephant..But Don't Blame me! ha..

...AN INTERESTING ADVENTURE MAE SOT WESTERN THAILAND...

Mae Sot is a town in western Thailand that shares a border with Myanmar to the west. It is notable as a trade hub and for its substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees. The town is part of the larger Tak Province and is the main land gateway between Thailand and Burma. As a result it has also gained notoriety for its trade in gems and teak, as well as black market services such as people trafficking and drugs. Neighbouring districts are (North from clockwise): Mae The Moei River serves as a natural border between Mae Sot and the Burmese town of Myawaddy.

...MY FRIENDS RUTH * BILL'S ROAD TO MAE SOT...

My Friends Ruth & Bill who are now residing in Thailand Just returned from a very interesting four days on the Thai-Burmese border. Their friends, one of whom was an award winning photographer for CNN was filming a documentary at one of the Burmese camps for refugees & wanted to return to that area to visit a friend who is a nurse and was interested in visiting a "clinic" that (serves over 100,000 illegal Burmese aliens) also on the border, in a town called Mae Sot. There was room for two more in the van and my friends were invited to go with them. When they got to Mae Sot, they met up with Ya-Ya, a Muslim who has the wherewithall to get us in the clinic and the dump and a man who helped set up the oldest refugee camp and managed to get the motley sixsom in to see it. Mae Sot is a town loaded with illegal Burmese, a few Thais, and a fair share of people, drug, and jewel smugglers. My friends stayed at the "best" (there's a laugh) motel available. Ha!

...MY FRIENDS RUTH & BILL ... PERSON CARRYING LEAVES ... PLAYING! IN MAE SOT...
On day one they took off for Maela, the camp that has been available for over 20 years, is totally jammed with people, and has a group of inhabitants over 40,000. The person with us talked us by the armed Thai guards and then by the person in charge, Kuhn .
The Burmese come over the border (if in danger of being killed because they are against the Junta in Burma (Myanmar), they crawled over a vast series of mountains through the jungle loaded with landmines. If they weren't being sought by that government (uh, let's call it a dictatorship) they blatantly innertubed across the river and camped out on the shores in Thailand until they could find a place to live and possibly an underpaid job. If they got lucky and managed to get one of those jobs, they sent as much money as possible back to family members still in Burma. The "houses" are made of bamboo poles with banana leaf roofs.. It was quite clean and organized. The people were very friendly...
People constantly dribble over the river in innertubes and live in huts along the river banks not bothered by neither Thai guards nor Burmese Junta. They have no papers to live in this country.


At some point they must abandon these homes and leave for the absolute bottom of the rung of places to live and that would be the dump. We went to the dump in the afternoon and there is no English word that describes this place. Even squalor is too good. Two story mounds of garbage over acres of land are the homes for these people. They eat the food that they can find from the garbage. The children have lived there so long that they know of no other homes. They were happy and played among the rubbish. Deaths and disease are common here. Not a place where many Westerners go and we were looked on suspiciously.
The following day was considerably more uplifting as we visited Dr. Cynthia Muang's clinic on the outskirts of Mae Sot. It is available to all Burmese, whether they are here legally or illegally. The clinic/hospital serves aver 100,000 patients a year. Doctors Without Borders come to operate and treat. There were acres of low block buildings for every purpose. Baby delivery (10-12 a day)...and we saw one come into this world., dental clinics, eye clinics, in patient, out patient, and Bill's favorite..a shop where legs are made for the many who had been forced into the jungle to get food since the Junta had raided their village, raped their family members, stolen their animals and crops. These poor men had lost limbs to land minds. The day we were there they were making limbs for about thirty men. Ya-Ya was our interpreter and the people were quite anxious to talk to us, thinking, perhaps, that we would get the word to the outside world. The work here was marvelous.
Our adventures were too many to note. Not a vacation by any means but quite an experience and reminder of how lucky we all are. Said Ruth & Bill orig...from USA...

...MAE SOT...
Trade with Burma constitutes the largest porition of Mae Sot's economy. It has an established market for commodities such as wholesale gems and teak. Most of the towns service industries are supported by Burmese migrants who fill positions within sweat-shops and factories throughout the region. The town also suffers from a black market in illegal smuggling, people trafficking and narcotics. The Thai-Myanmar friendship bridge, is the primary gateway for trade with Burma. The border region, located several kilometres from central Mae Sot includes the Rim Moei Market that deals in imported goods and woodwork. Mae Sot also serves as a minor tourist destination, primarily used for those wishing to visit Myawaddy in Burma or as a stopover on the way to Amphoe Umphang, popular for trekking. The town has a substantial population of Burmese refugees and economic migrants. The exact number of Burmese in Mae Sot is unclear but estimates say that over 100,000 exist in addition to the 106,000 already recorded in the official census. In recent years the ongoing refugee situation has attracted NGO's and International aid agencies to set programs in the town and surrounding areas.

...ONE OF THE MOST NOTABLE ORGANISATIONS IS MAE TAO CLINIC...
located just outside the west of the town. It was established by the Burmese/Karen Dr.Cynthia Maung to offer free medical services to Burmese who do not qualify for treatment at the local Mae Sot Hospital. The centre is funded independtly and is supported by teams of volunteers on an ongoing basis
Mary's Meals, the well-known campaign of charity Scottish International Relief, began rebuilding schools destroyed by the cyclone in May 2008. Mary's Meals had recently set up feeding shelters in the border refugee camps and are now successfully feeding several thousand children and families a day. Mary's Meals operates by providing a free school meal thereby encouraging hungry children to gain education as well as food. A mailout to Mary's Meals' supporters immediately after the cyclone produced a generous response and the schools where Mary's Meals are being provided are now well on their way to reconstruction.

...TAJICAT'S JOURNEY TO AFRICA!..

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