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Published: November 3rd 2009
Today we decided to visit the Karen Hill Tribe in Ruammit Village, Thailand. To split the cost, we paired up with a couple from Belgium who were staying at the guesthouse too. We took a long tailed speedboat up the Mae Kok River to the mountains north of Chiang Rai. It took us about an hour before coming to the Hot Springs. There was a swimming pool, foot bath, and the hot spring itself. A sign said the temperature was 87C (186F). That's pretty hot. The foot bath temperature is probably straight out of the spring and we couldn't even keep our hands in it for more than half a second. Tammy has a pretty high heat tolerance and could not even submerge her whole hand before yanking it out. How do people soak in their feet in this temperature water? There was a swimming pool also but it was more comfortable temperature so they must mix with cooler water.
When done, off we went to the Karen Hill Tribe (Ruammit Village). These people are a diverse ethnic hill folk who are reside in the mountains of Burma and NW Thailand. They began migrating into Thailand in 18th century and have
fought for independence from Burma for over 50 years. 'They use elephants for farming and their mahouts (elephant drivers) are considered some of the best anywhere. We took the opportunity to feed the elephants some bananas and sugar cane. We decided to take a half hour ride on the elephant. They are 1 hour and 2 hour rides but we didn't think our backs and tender rear ends could take that abuse for so long. The ride through the rice fields was nice and some farmers were harvesting the rice (by hand) when we went through. At one point, our mahout jumped off the elephant and took our picture. He then let the elephant walk by itself with him walking behind it. The elephant knew the path so it was no big deal except that if I wanted to take off we'd be on our own. It was nice to see the mahout controls the elephant by verbal commands and didn't need the ankus (elephant hook). He did have a small whip but rarely used it and never hit the animal to hurt it.
At the end of the ride, our mahout took us into the river a little ways
Foot Bath 87 C or 186 F
The spring was too hot to even put your hands in. 87C or 186F. Yikes! And people pay to put their feet in this?
to return to the elephant camp. I kinda felt sorry for our elephant for having to carry such heavy cargo (us).
After elephant riding, we returned downriver by boat, returned to the guesthouse, and napped all afternoon (ahhhhh). Later, we went downtown to see the Loy Krathong parade with floats (like typically parade in America) and beauty queens (some were "ladyboys" but it's so hard to tell the difference between them and the "real" girls). After another great meal, we retired for the evening with some blogging and bad TV watching (Chinese movies dubbed in Thai....no kidding). In fact, we watched The New Adventures of Johnny Quest (for those old Quest fans) in Thai.
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