Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Photos from the Soppong Festival of Mae Hong Son, Thailand

The pick-up truck sped forward into the dark and narrow mountain roads. There were five of us huddled together at the back. We had to hunker down and shield our body from the wind which at that point can only be described as icy. I was so preoccupied with protecting myself from the cold that I almost missed looking up at the trees. Once in a while, the canopy cleared out, and what I saw was the clearest of the clearest night skies I had ever seen.

Mae Hong Son, Thailand
The clearest of the clearest night skies in Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Me, the Mountains, and the Mae Hong Son Sunrise

"We had to start setting up the bonfire nightly two days ago," the lady at the lodge said. A fellow traveler who had arrived a couple of days earlier confirmed it, too: the last couple of days was remarkably cold.

The dinners we ordered were being served as I and a few other travelers sat cross-legged at the low communal table of this large open-air mountain lodge. For the first time in the year, I donned my sweater plus my jacket just to cope with the 8°C weather.

Any place else I wouldn't have felt weird wearing so many layers. It was already December after all. But I was in Thailand. Nobody told me it got this cold in Thailand.

Which was why the next morning, I found it strange, almost unnatural, getting out of a warm, comfortable bed at the ungodly hour of 4 a.m. (the coldest hour of the day), layering up, and heading out.

But really, how could I ever pass up a sunrise in the mountains?

Thailand: Mae Hong Son
Catching the sunrise in Mae Hong Son, Thailand

Monday, April 14, 2014

Let Me Tell You about My Favorite Place in Thailand

So let me tell you about my favorite place in Thailand. It is not my adopted city Chiang Mai, although I have waxed poetic about its lively markets and its Buddhist temples.

No. This place is further up north in Thailand, through winding mountain roads which look out to hills and valleys. It's so further up north that when people talk, you don't hear the gentle sound of Thai, rather the forward and rapid sounds of Tibeto-Burmese languages. It's so further up north that a few kilometers further, you might just find yourself in Myanmar.

I'm talking about Pang Mapha in Mae Hong Son, Thailand.

So what makes this place special? That is a question I will answer in the next couple of weeks through a series of posts about Pang Mapha. But as a sneak peek, here are some of my reasons.

1. The Sunrise

Mae Hong Son, Thailand
Sunrise in Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son