Mae Hong Son is three hundred sixty eight (368) kilometers from Chiang Mai. It is the most western province wherein seventy five percent (75%) of the land area is comprised of mountains and forests.
The provincial capital with the same name as the province is adorned by well-placed lake called Nang Jong Khan. Upon arrival from the plane, we immediately visited Jong Klang Temple providing an overview of the capital. We bought souvenirs which have Burmese influence in the nearby shops.
We thereafter visited the temple beside the lake which is picturesque for photo purposes. We checked in at the hotel. During dinner, a musical rendition was given by two effeminate gentlemen, a singer and a pianist.
We thereafter visited the night market wherein the Lisu handicraft and colorful textiles were displayed including the rhinoceros horn I bought which appears to be original but was later branded by our guide as fake.
On the second day, I woke up early to exercise through walking. I walked as far as I could unmindful of the time which made my companion in the person of Atty. Dascil worried. He expressed big relief when he saw me approaching as he had already gone to the police precinct and hospital to inquire my whereabout.
After breakfast, we firstly visited the bridge built by the Japanese during World War II. Our guide who was effeminate has an eye for orchids as he pointed to us one beneath the new bridge.
We thereafter visited an uphill lookout. It looks risky because of the narrow pathways, strong winds, deep ravines and the absence of protective barriers.
Our guide once more discovered orchids perched on the branch of a very tall tree. I got a souvenir of a leaf of the tall tree locally called tongting which is the material used to form a roof. I was told that it normally lasts for three years.
We went thereafter to the spa and had a good massage. Then we had an elephant ride with a small backseat. I felt awkward because the other tourists are pairs of girls and boys or men and women but we were both males seated very close to each other.
Thereafter, we took a thirty (30) minute ride to visit the long-necked and big eared Karen tribes. I had to borrow the effeminate hat from our guide because of the stinging rays of the sun thus creating once more a suspicion of our being gays. We learned that the tribes are Christians.
Thereafter, we proceeded to Pai. On our way we visited the Fish Cave in Tham Pla National Park, a waterfilled cavern where hundred of tor soro (soro hook carp) thrive. They grow up to one meter.
On our way to Pai, we saw the Lisu tribe selling their colorful textiles. We visited the Lahu tribe community and finally the KMT whose descendants are from Taiwan. Lisu appears to be the most wealthy as manifested by the concrete buildings where they reside.
On the third day we visited the Lod cave which appears to be more challenging than the caves of Halong Bay. Against the advice that I would not be able to make it at the Pee Man Cave because of its steepness and prolonged uphill climb, I, however, successfully climbed the same.
I saw at least eight (8) boat coffins amidst the numerous wastes of the bats thus making my day or trip. Before our flight, we had our facial treatments using mud in one of the hot springs.
On the lighter side, though the trip appears perfect in the presence of a very knowledgeable, helpful and dependable companion who is my inaanak, there are some developments to reckon with.
Due to my inability to sleep early, my companion had an early start and I could hear immediately his snoring in varying tones thus preventing me from sleeping. I would wake him up but he is truly an early starter because he is still young. Thus the ordeal is repeated. This would culminate with a large gaseous explosion after breakfast which traverses walls. Joke only.
Thank you Lord for the experience.