Saturday 25 January 2014

Hilltribes and a very long hike

So, you remember at the start of this adventure, Ebi-kun got sick and we ended up having to change our schedule around. Well, we had booked a day hiking with Tiger Tours, we managed to swap the dates but because we were flying out in the afternoon we could only do half of the original day. When we were at the office we decided to do the first part of the plan but backwards, So we would start at the Hillside resort, walk down to a hill tribe village and from the onto the waterfalls, a different set that the first ones we had been to.
We would then be picked up and dropped off in town where we would have time to grab some lunch before heading to the airport. That was the plan…

The guide met us at the hotel and said that the tuktuk would take us to the village and he would keep our luggage and meet us at the waterfalls, sounded like the plan. The ride to the village was much longer than I expected but you know, I don't know there area, but warning bells should have gone off then…

To walk through the village you have to hire one of the villagers and pay a fee, this has been set up to feed money back into the village and stop it from becoming a tourist/begging situation. There are actually two tribes here, living together but keeping their own traditions. It amused me that they live in very basic buildings but then there were enormous satellite dishes between the houses, gotta have TV!

It looked like many things are still done the old way but these days the kids are encouraged to go to school and many of the young people move to the city to look for better paid work.

Drying chili's and tobacco..

The girls seemed to be quite shy, unlike this little rabble of cuties who came up to say hello and goodbye, it reminded me very much of Ecuador.

The local equivalent to the 7/11….

Ebi-kun was amused at the goats wandering down the street and the chickens and cockerels wandering just about everywhere.

After we had walked through the village we made our was through an orchard and heading off to the waterfalls, it was still cloudy and dull as we set off…

As we walked the guide told us about the local plants and their uses. At one point he asked what time our flight was, when I said 2pm I could see a look of panic cross his face. We had already been walking for about an hour and according to the original schedule this section should have been an hour or so walk, I figured a little longer because we had Ebi-kun with us… warning bells start to ring… 

Turns out that the guide hadn't been told the full plan and he was taking us on what should have be the second part of the tour, we were still a couple of hour walk away from the waterfalls (not the ones we thought we were going to but Kuang Si, which is where we went the first day and they are an hours drive from town!) 

Now it was my turn to panic, the guide said it was doable but we would have to walk faster….

Ebi-kun was an absolute trooper, he kept up with the guide the whole time and managed to carry his bag until the last little bit. Some stages we walked through the forest, up and down rough paths then every now and then it would open out into a hidden valley, beautiful…

We made it to the waterfall and the guide phoned ahead and had some lunch delivered for us, so we scoffed that, at least we had seen these falls before or I would have been gutted…

We then had a bit of a kerfuffle with the tuktuk driver because we asked him to take us straight to the airport but he wanted paying extra. I stuck to my guns and told them that we had already paid for a full days tour and only did half a day and they had managed to screw that up. I won! They took us to the airport and we made it in time for the flight. *phew*

Farewell Laos, despite the things that didn't go to plan we all loved you! And now it is on to Cambodia…

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