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While up in Mae Mae Village we visited a school which caters to the local hill tribe populations, it was the first time that I have seen a school like this in Thailand. Firstly most of the children who attend this school can not commute on a daily basis as most live in the mountains over a two day trek away. Their parents will bring them to school one morning then they will come back to pick them up four months later! The children come from a variety of hill tribe groups including Lahu, Akha, Lisu and when most arrive at this school they only speak their local hill tribe language and have to learn Thai from scratch. Often the older siblings are paired with their younger brothers and sister so they can translate and help them in the initial stages of their education.

As most of the students board at this school they need a dorm to sleep in. The dorm was one building for the whole school. The students just line up to sleep in two long rows on each side of the building. Washing facilities are also basic

The students dorm

The students dorm

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Pinky’s first day at school

Today was Pinky’s first day at nursery school. After looking at three schools we went for Little Stars mainly because of their bilingual programme. One day is taught in Thai and the next in English. We are starting her quite young at 18 months and were not to sure if she would be quite ready but when we dropped her off this morning she immediately went over to the other children and started to play. We went back at 12:00 to pick her up and she didnt want to leave!

Little Stars Nursery School Chiang Mai

Little Stars Nursery School Chiang Mai

About Pai

The first time I came to Thailand was over 10 years ago, then I never made it up to Pai. The first time was about three years ago and things are changing fast. The second Seven Eleven has just moved into town and accommodation options are expanding with plenty of resorts in the 3-4 star range. I noticed on this visit more tourists in the older age bracket (probably staying in the classier resorts). There are also many more coffee shops knocking out expensive cappuccinos and lattes. Maybe it was because of the university holidays but it seemed like the Thai tourists were also visiting in big numbers and at a rough guess they seemed to out number western visitors by about 10-1. This gave Pai a very different feel to my last visit a couple of years ago and if this has become the norm then Pai has begun to lose some of its laid back charm. However I still like the Pai of today it has become a funky little town and nothing much as changed to the surrounding countryside and its setting in the Pai River valley, there are still plenty of waterfalls, hotsprings and quiet spots to visit. Increasingly Pai is also becoming a center for hill tribe trekking and adventure activities with rafting and climbing both very popular. I enjoyed this visit and with Pai only a two and a half hour drive from Chiang Mai it has reminded be to get up here more often. I am sure I will be back soon.

Pai Thailand

This weekend we decided to head up to Pai. Although short, this was the first holiday we have taken Pinky on. We have always felt she was too young before to take her on holiday but as mother-in law was in hospital having gall stones removed we didnt have much choice if we wanted to get away this weekend. Me and Tack usually head up on motorbike but as Pinky was with us we had to take the car. About 50km outside of Chiang Mai the road starts to wind up the mountains this involved quite a few hairpin bends as Pinky wasn’t use to travelling long distances she got sick and threw up all over Tack and the back seat of the car….nice!

Chasing Chickens

Today we went out to a friends Lahu village. Our friend Sai has a niece who is Pinky’s age and we thought it would be good to get them together for some play time. Pinky loves playing with other children but where we live there aren’t any other children around her age. Pinky had a great afternoon, not only were there loads of children around, she had a wild time chasing the chickens.

The village itself is a bit of an oddity situated this close to Chiang Mai. Traditionally the Lahu are mountain dwellers and will set up their villages in the hills but this little Lahu settlement has recently sprung up on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Economic necessity has meant that many of the villages are now working in the city (Chiang Mai) and therefore have come down to live near the places of work. They have all built themselves traditional Lahu houses. I have been up to Sai’s village in the mountains a couple of times and many of their Lahu traditions remain intact which is real nice to see but now with the next generation living in the city you can see it is only a mater of time before these traditions start to disappear.

Whitewater rafting on the Mae Tang River

Next month we (The Travel Hub) are arranging a weekend of team building activities for a corporate group of 25 persons from Malaysia and Australia. We are arranging a trek into the jungle with a few team building activities thrown in along the way, this will be followed by some whitewater rafting fun on the Mae Tang River. Tack, Me and Aor one of our guides came up here today to make some arrangements and decide on some suitable locations for the activities. Anyway although this was work we had a fun day in the Jungle and even managed to get some whitewater rafting in ourselves…..

Mae Sa Elephant Camp

This afternoon as things weren’t so busy in the office Tack and I decided to take the afternoon off and take Pinky out. We went up to Mae Sa Elephant camp. If you are in Thailand this probably isnt the best way to see elephants. I for one would much prefer to see them in a more natural environment doing what elephants like to do and I have to say I kind of feel uncomfortable with these elephants being made to play football, darts and paint pictures but anyway it was a good chance to get out of the city. Pinky enjoyed it and it gave her a chance to get close to elephants.


Vaccine time for Pinky!

Vaccine day for Pinky

Vaccine day for Pinky

Vaccine day again for Pinky!

A couple of days back Tack and I went up to our friends Lahu village in the mountains north of Chiang Mai. They have a plan for for a home stay project in their village and wanted us to have a look as they are looking to partner with a few agents who can put some customers their way. It was our first time up there and it was stunningly beautiful. Ralph and Mee have already built themselves a home up there with views for miles over the forest and valley below …..Really impressive! I wish them good luck with their project and I am sure many of our customers will be up for a visit to get a glimpse of Lahu hill tribe life.

Indian food in Chiang Mai

Thai food is is delicious, plentiful and cheap, but living here in Thailand I frequently crave for something different and I guess a couple of times a week I find myself eating exotic western foods such as fish and chips or pizza. One thing I do really miss is a good Indian Curry. Chiang Mai has a few Indian restaurants knocking out reasonable Indian curries but nothing that compares to a good ‘English Style’ Indian Curry. Most Sundays I do manage to satisfy my curry craving at the ‘Sunday Walking Street Market’ The guy who runs the Royal India Restaurant sets up a small stall knocking out some good favourites. Chicken Masala, Fish Masala, Dal Curry, Samosas, Nan Bread and Chicked Kebabs all feature on the menu. You will find him in Wat Pan On on Sunday evenings. Chicken Biryani and Daal curry start at around 25 Baht (thats less than 40p in real money!)

Indian food in Chiang Mai

Indian food in Chiang Mai