Trekking in Northern Thailand

by Andrew Stein

So, a Spaniard, a Korean, a French couple, a group of Argentinians, and an American all pile into the back of a truck. The Korean says, “Ko ki o.” The Argentinians go, “Ko lo ro.” The Spaniard replies, “Ki ki ri ki.” The French shoot back, “Cocorico.” And then the American sings, “Cock a doodle doo.” Then, as if answering Alex Trebek, the truck driver turns around and asks, “What sound does a rooster make?” That scene was a bit dramatized for effect; however at some point during our two day trek, we did all compare our languages’ onomatopoeia for the sound made by a rooster. Always a fun discussion when many languages are represented and given that “cock a doodle doo” sounds the farthest from a rooster’s actual sound. As per usual, the group made the trek.

thailand trek1

thailand trek2

The two days were full of visiting the hill tribes in Northern Thailand, white water and bamboo rafting, sleeping in a hill tribe’s bamboo hut, elephant riding, and waterfall swimming. One of the tribes we visited called the Padaung are famous for their long-necked women. The women undergo a beautifying process throughout their adolescence by adding brass rings to their necks. The effect of the brass rings is to push down the collarbone giving the appearance of an elongated neck. Because eventually their heads are accustomed to being supported by these rings, their necks will atrophy and will be unable to hold the weight of the women’s heads without the rings.

longneck tribe thailand

A woman from the longneck tribe in Northern Thailand

thailand trek3

Floating down the river on a bamboo raft

Another highlight of the journey was around the evening bonfire when the Argentinians picked up the tribe’s guitar and drums and entertained the group.

argentinian at camp fire

As seen at the bonfire

boy from hill village