Chiang Rai, Day 2: Khun Kon Waterfalls
Mitch and I love hopping on our motorbike and driving through the mountain roads, so on our second day in Chiang Rai, we did just that, heading to Khun Kon Waterfalls. During the twenty minute walk to the falls, we didn’t encounter any other people, and arriving at the falls, we were the only ones in sight. I’ve read that people often swim at the bottom of the falls, but since we came at the end of the rainy season, it didn’t seem like a good idea with the intense water flow and all… 🙂
Chiang Rai, Day 3: Tour around Chiang Rai
While at the HIlltribe Museum two days prior, Mitch and I booked our first guided tour. We’re typically not the type to use guides or tour in groups, but we decided to give it a try, and it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Overall, I think I’d be willing to give a guided tour one more, cautious try.
I started the day feeling very achy in my back and neck, and blamed it on my sleeping quarters. Some ibuprofen helped to ease the pain.
We first stopped at the Black House, an interesting home-turned-museum of an artist who recently passed. His art is really dark and there were a lot of pieces constructed from animal skeletons and skins. Not a place for animal lovers. The grounds were beautiful, but I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the art myself.
Next, we stopped at a hill tribe Akha village called Ban Lorcha. Let me preface this by saying that I was very hesitant to visit a hill tribe because of the history of exploitation surrounding these types of tours and visits. I’ve read about companies or people who have willfully misled hill tribes to come to Thailand and then essentially kept them imprisoned in a town compound, forcing them to play house, while the tour companies and guides profited from tourism. Incredibly sad.
I did a lot of research on responsibly visiting hill tribes because I am so interested and fascinated in their culture, and when we were at the hill tribe museum, I thought their tour model seemed responsible while actually benefiting the tribe members. You can read about their non-profit, community development model here, and see why we decided it OK to stop by a village with them.
Anyway, the village tour in Ban Lorcha was very informational, though I still had the feeling of being a gawking tourist as I was guided through. Maybe it was because we were there for such a short amount of time, or maybe this is just the nature of visiting a hill tribe. I have read about (and actually applied to go on) responsible tours where you stay with the tribe for a few days, helping with their daily activities and getting to know the people more intimately. This Akha Ama tour is the one I applied to before we even left for Southeast Asia, but it was full! I think next time, I will either go on the Akha Ama tour, or learn more about hill tribes from National Geographic.
I did get to play with an adorable baby for a good bit of time though 🙂
From this point on, I started to feel pretty out of it. I was still very achy, picked at my lunch, and just felt zapped of all energy. Thankfully, we stopped in Mae Salong, a town known for growing a lot of delicious tea, and enjoyed many cups of soothing oolong tea before heading home.
By the time we got back to the guest house, I felt positively atrocious with a fever and chills, and I was convinced I was going to die of dengue fever. WebMD is not the best place to be lingering while ill in a foreign country!
Next we were headed cross the border into Laos, but we got held up by my unplanned illness. Read about our border crossing in the next post!