Monday, 6 February 2012

Around Mae Hong Son

Yesterday I went out for a ride to various places around Mae Hong Son.

My first stop was Fish Cave, about 15km north of Mae Hong Son on the main road to Pai.

The walk to the cave.


Behold! the golden fish!
There are signs all along the path pointing to fish cave. I had read that the fish swim into the cave but no one knows where it goes. So I expected a big cave of course... Instead I found this:

This was it..
The Cave was really just an overhang of rock, on the right of this photo there's a little gap where you can look down and see the fish.

Like so.

And here they are in video form:

And that's it... All the cave... Not the kind of cave I was expecting. I missed out on Lod cave further back towards Pai which is apparently one of the biggest in the world, so I excepted some of the other caves in the area to be a little more impressive. Anyway, there were fish!


More fish!
 Then I travelled south towards one of the long neck villages near Mae Hong Son.

Here's some rice fields just next to fish cave.

A dam I found on the back roads.
Finally I got to Ban Noi, which is the closest Thai town to the long neck village. There's a short 4wd track that leads to the actual village.

And here's the entrance.
This village was for the Kayans who fled Burma, of which I can't be bothered writing anything about here, because there's far more information here. Since they have an uncertain legal status the only way they make money (in this village) is via the entry fees and sales of souvenirs to tourists. The entry is 250baht and they show you a pamphlet that the money goes towards buying food and other items for the village. It looked like they were doing ok, I saw some had phones and they had a few mopeds about. It looks like they can travel into Ban Noi to get supplies too, but not too much further because there is a checkpoint on the road. It still felt odd wandering though this village taking photos of their homes and them, but I did it anyway.

This guy came up to me and was showing me his top which he was failing to spin in the dirt.
 The village was pretty deserted. There were kids in the school but almost no one on the street. In a couple of the stalls people were weaving and there were some people making walls from bamboo and roofs from leaves. I didn't see any other tourists about until I was leaving and another three showed up.

Some of the souvenir stalls lining the road.

More houses.
 I went to one of the stalls and bought some things to give them more money... And then I asked the person running it if I could take her photo.

This happy looking lady was running the stall

Here she is with all her wares.
She did manage to smile briefly and I just missed it. I didn't take photos of anyone else, except for the two people above. It was odd... But they do put themselves on display so that they can get the tourists moneys (hey it worked on me).

After that it was time to head south some more and look for an elephant camp. Which I failed at finding. I did find a lot more police about, which I heard from someone later that day that it was because the ex-wife of one of a Thai prince was in town. She needed the road closed and about 100 police standing about so she could drive places.

And then I found this hot spring:

Odd colour, smelt of farts again.

Or maybe it smelt of .... whatever that is.
And today I'm heading Mae Chaem which is just near Thailands tallest mountain!

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