Let’s catch up, shall we? It’s been about a week since I arrived in Mae Sot and SOOO much has happened that it’ll take me quite a while to fully explain all that has gone down, but I’ll get around to it soon. It’s crazy to see a whole different side of Thailand, especially with many of the more rural/remote places that we’ve been visiting and it’s a nice escape from the busy city life that we were used to back in Rangsit when we were closer to the chaos of Bangkok. With the communities that we’ve been working with, it’s also a completely new and fresh perspective to the lives of the migrant people we’ve been working with. I’ll be sure to talk more about that eventually, but for now I’ll talk about the small, cozy town of Mae Sot.
Forgive me in advance because I have no idea what any of these places are called or where they are even located in Mae Sot, but here it is anyways. Our first stop was at a monastery, where we listened to a monk explain the importance of the forest and the relationship that humans share with the earth.
Our tour guide was also trying to explain to us something about “wire” and this natural water filter, but for some reason all of us just kept thinking he was saying “wine” for the longest time. Pictured here is P. Wa trying to explain this natural water filter thingy. Still not quite sure what exactly it entails, but what we do know for sure is how incredibly precious nature is to the people who live in this area.
With that being said, our tour guide then took us to plant some trees! (And gifted us some pretty cool looking hats.)
Maggie, muay-thai buddy and Vi, cute photographer friend!! And just amazing people overall.
Angie, true Bangkok girl, and current roomie!
Vi planting her tree, who she hopes to be “strahng” one day!
These are Thai cherry blossoms! (Picture c/o V. Tran)
Next stop was a hiking trail, which also doubles as a nature development center.
Our hilarious tour guide. Here he is showing off his banana leaf hat.
Marisa inspecting some leaves (or probably just trying to take more videos on her GoPro, hahah!)
Beautiful leaves indeed.
Emily holding some mini peas-like the ones they use in green curry! They’re called Pea Aubergines-a lot more bitter and firmer than the frozen peas we’re used to.
We headed off into the mountains for some more hiking-including a small trek through the bamboo forests. (Picture c/o V. Tran)
Arachnophobia, anyone? If you had asked me when I was in elementary school I would have immediately screamed if I saw this. I remember one time I saw one in the shower and I nearly ran out of the bathroom naked screaming for my sister to help me kill it because I was just that terrified of spiders. I don’t know what changed but spiders don’t phase me anymore. Flying beetles and cockroaches though, is a completely different story…
Hiking through banana trees!! (Picture c/o V. Tran)
Banana trees always remind me of my grandpa’s backyard in Taiwan.
The constant humidity of Thailand has taken time to get used to (still not sure if I’m used to it), but this hike was the perfect temperature-cool, lush, and green.
Tanvi taking a mini dip in the mini waterfall.
Waterfall #2! Also the site of where Marisa accidentally dropped her phone into the pool of water…thankfully it was undamaged even after being submerged for a good 3 minutes underwater.
Our tour guide giggling at a little prawn.
Other critters swimming around in this waterfall pool.
As I wrote earlier, this place is kind of a nature development center so there are a lot of volunteers that help out at this place and devote their time and energy to preserving this beautiful forest. Here, they’ve created a dam to help avoid flooding, particularly during rainy seasons.
The water here is SO clear and beautiful.
Vi, Anjali, Leah and Laura busy planting some more trees!
Anjali ever so carefully unwrapping the diaper off her soil. (Picture c/o V. Tran)
Continued our hike through another part of the forest-
Lots of ducking here and there with all the branches and fallen trees.
Took a break and got to enjoy some sour berries!
Something about these long, dangling vines is just so heavenly.
Backstory of the cloth wrapped around the trees (according to Michael)-these are apparently sacred trees and supposed to be monks/spiritual beings and are forbidden from being chopped down. I looked further online, and it says that these are “ordained trees” and they also do this in order to protect the forest.
For lunch, we stopped by a noodle place where they serve khanom chin, a traditional Thai dish.
Khanom chin consists of rice noodles and is eaten with sides like cucumber, long beans, sprouts, herbs, and bitter melon.
Fried chicken and fish balls.
In the afternoon, we headed to another temple where we got to speak with representatives of different ethnic minority groups and ask them about questions we had regarding their migration experiences.
As we were driving back home, we stopped by this beautiful viewpoint.
One of the sweetest professors we had, who also taught our Thai language and culture class during the first week at Thammasat! Ajarn Pakawan has so many incredible life stories and experiences. (Picture c/o V. Tran)
And one of our last stops for the day was the Thai-Myanmar border. That’s Myanmar right across the river!
Phew. That was quite the long post. Quite the load of pictures, and there are hundreds of more to come, but there has just been so much going on within this last week, and I figured these pictures do a better job of showing what I’ve been up to within these past 7 days. Mae Sot has been so incredibly good to me. Thanks for reading and good night world! ♥