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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Friday, 19 August 2011

August 19th: Fang in Northern Thailand

On August 19th 1981 I was in Fang in Northern Thailand.  I was travelling with Mary: we had visited Bangkok and Chiang Mai and were hoping that we would find places that were more rural and less modernised.

Road near Fang:  Our Picture
We took a long afternoon walk towards the hills on the western side.  We began slowly through open rice paddies, seeing some birds almost for the first time in Thailand.  Eventually the threatened downpour came, just as we were beside the only house we saw with cold drinks, and we were invited in for the storm.  Snaps of young children kept things amusing and the owner played us Santana.  The drizzle kept on but we persevered, getting a little wet sometimes and sheltering, but it seemed worth while to get through a string of villages, albeit pleasant and the houses mainly wooden, and get a little bit into the hills.  At the first hill there was a temple and a market and a whole lot of hill-tribe people, and for the next few miles it kept much more rural and more tribal.  The hills themselves were green and grass topped, bright in the sun, but forbidding in the dark black clouds of the earlier part of the walk.  All the houses had flowers and gardens, the people smiling and friendly, curious, especially a group of schoolchildren who walked with us for a while.  On the way back we stopped for a drink in the first village in the plain and soon got a lift back in a driver in a pickup who took us a scenic back way and charged us an exorbitant fee.

Mae Kok River:  Our Picture
The next day we took a bus to Tha Ton, where we planned to take a boat down the Mae Kok River.  This was a recognised thing for tourists to do and a little group of foreigners duly assembled as we waited a couple of hours sitting by the river.  The boat ride was good, not exciting, but certainly worthwhile and beautiful.  Best was further downstream where the river passed through a narrow section, the jungle came down the edge of the river and there were almost rapids to get across.  The hills and trees were green and there were as few birds as elsewhere in Thailand.  As we came in to Chiang Rai an almighty rainstorm began.  As it eased off and the tourists landed wet, we went straight to a decent little hotel in the quiet  town which almost felt European.

Wooden buildings in village:  Our picture

Village people near Fang:  Our picture

View Fang in a larger map

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