The Hilltribes of Thailand..Hmong tribe children


Oh my gosh you guys!!! We just got back from our long day in the mountains surrounding Chaing Mai and I honestly dont’ know where to begin. Our guide Sergeant Kai was FANTASTIC and showed us so many things that only the locals would know about in the city as well as the out of the way tribes that rarely see a foreigner’s face.



Our first stop was at a local market where we spotted a beautiful killdeer like bird with his feet lashed together, tied to the bottom of a plastic basket/collander. Kai , Diana and myself paid the woman who was selling this captured wild bird 150 baht (about 5.00 usd) to buy the bird and Kai also purchased 6 live serpent head fish in a plastic bag with very little water.



Our next stop was a rice paddie with this terrified bird still tethered to her basket and with Sgt. Kai’s guidance we all made a wish and set the beautiful bird free. She ran like a bullet into the rice which made us all cry. The purpose of doing this was to earn “merit” for freeing a live creature. We then did the same for the fish when we came to the river. WOW we just can’t describe this experience…it left us speechless.



The next stop was a trek through the forest on elephant back. Our mahout sang a bit as he led the elephant down the path. The darling ellie (about 35 years) at one point picked up a trunk full of dirt and through it over her shoulder all over her head which got the two of us as well. More about this ride when I post the regular camera pix



Now the day had really just begun…we headed down the road a bit then out of the car and onto a bamboo raft which was really just 10 huge bamboo timbers lashed together with strips of rubber tire. We got good and wet on our water journey through the forest…changed our clothes afterwards and then drove a bit to find home cooking and terrific Thai food at the side of the rural highway. Curry, Sweet and sour, fried rice…it was ALL incredible.



The highlight of the day ( among the MANY highlights) was our trip up the winding mountains into the remote villages of the Hmong and Karen hill tribes. OMG…we were in places that not many visitors will ever have the privelege of seeing.




Here’s Diana’s account of our surreal hilltribe experience:


One of the first places we stopped was an elementary school for the Hmong children. We saw them learning to read Thai and several kids were simply playing-very similar to recess in the States. We presented the teacher with some coloring books and crayons that I had brought in my suitcase. Then on to the actual villages.


Everything was amazing from the condition of the roads getting there to the bright colors the women were wearing (alot of it handmade) to the women addicted to ‘beetle juice’ which makes their teeth black. The water buffalo and the cattle in the fields-it is off season so they are grazing in the fields and also fertilizing for the next crop. They were herded back into the village right in front of us with their wooden bells clanking around their necks and their babies following along. The herdsmen were singing and calling them as they trudged up the hill. Lots more to come, but I’m hungry!!!!


Here’s Sandy:


We are toast so we are going to get some food and wash up for our next day at the Elephant Nature Center. More pix to come. Be sure to see all 5 posts from today at


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About Sandra Miller

My name is Sandra Miller and I love to ART. I enjoy my studio and home in beautiful Portland Oregon with my husband Steve and our charming Finnish Lapphund dog named Ihana