The hill country around Chiang Mai is also opium country

We went on a trek through some of the nearby hill tribe villages with a guide, Veera Leelaphat (Jack, of Jack's Tribal Trekking). Veera had found a new trekking route, off the beaten track, and we visited villages that had seen few Western visitors.

When we returned to Chiang Mai, we asked Veera whether it would be possible to go out again with him next time - and for us to be left in one of the villages for a week or so until he returned.

And so it came to pass...

Our hosts for the week were Prat Sur and his family


A couple was getting married in this village of about one thousand people.
Friends and neighbours (and a visiting Western carpenter!) teamed up to build the newly-weds a house, in a single day.
I generated much mirth when I inadvertantly picked up a heavy log and carried to the site; this was a two man job but everyone had a laugh at my expense. Teak wood is very dense and heavy. Just dropping it at the site made me instantly regain six inches height.


The women and girls were busy with traditional weaving and embroidery, whilst the men seemed to have an easier time of it.
Sound familiar?

Another village where we spent a couple of nights was quite different, ethnically and culturally. Here, instead of small family houses perched on stilts, there were communal houses on the ground with dirt floors.