Remembering FS IV: Pai, Chiang Khong, Mae Sa Long and Chiang Dao!

HAPPY 48th BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE!

*please credit if you’ll be using any photos, thank you!

Greetings from Pai to Chiang Khong to Mae Sa Long to Chiang Dao~ travelling is definitely a large part of our humanoids journey for this FS.. we go to different borders and along the way had really nice “rest stops”. and of course we made these trip in between our stay in Mae Aw before going back again to complete our projects..

i guess some might not like the travelling, but personally i think these trips allowed us to bond and it seems like a good break from doing work hehe (although almost everyone brought working gear and slip in work time here and there ^^)

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this photo was taken on the way from Mae Hong Son to Pai, actually it shows that we’re already in Pai (some park thing..) which btw, i think we really travelled on about 1864 curves.. and towards the end of the trip everyone had a certificate for ‘surviving’ and completing the ‘gruelling’ journey.. though really if you are travelling with friends, it is not that bad..
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a group shot with my friends (Cheryl, Esther and myself ^^) i really love them and will definitely miss them when we’re all away for this coming semester.. but i guess that’s what photos are for, to remember the great times spent together!
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an “I believe i can fly” shot, it can look a bit intimidating staring down, but the air and wind is so so good up here😀
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this photo was taken with Joyce, one of the most fun people on our trip, and i adopted the name “Sheep” because she thinks have the ‘aura’ of one heh.. thank you for taking good care of me and bringing joy on this trip ^^

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arriving at Pai town, this town is one of the more underrated places in Thailand i think.. it is considered as backpackers’ haven, but really i think young travellers will like it.. we had cake for dessert after lunch, which is probably our first slice of cake for the entire trip.

this really recharged us and is definitely considered a luxury.. i really like how FS as a journey not only teaches us about field work and application of field ideas and theories, it teaches you more about how to live your life (along the lines of revelation).. every single one of us became more appreciative of what we have, and 7-11 stores there are really what we are content to have and considered a bonus for every place we visit.

in addition, Pai also have really unique souvenirs with an artsy twist to them and every shop sells a different kind of souvenir, not to mention one of the cheapest Roti sold in Thai night markets can be found here!

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cute doggie belonging to the owner of our guesthouse @ PaiSeven
IMG_6073BBQ fish for dinner, easily one of the most delicious fish i’ve tasted! which was cooked by our Songtiao uncles ^^

we stayed in Pai for a night (too short as everyone would tell you…) then head to Chiang Khong, where we will be visiting the Thai-Laos border🙂

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lunch stop on the way to Chiang Khong, braised pork rice *yum*

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fast forward and we’ve arrived in Chiang Khong, i like how as a group we all went out looking for a dinner place recommended by Lonely Planet. it’s a Thai restaurant and serves really good Tom Yum soup :p the above is a photo of us on a street there.. feels pretty peaceful and ‘leisure’ heh

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passed by a row of shop houses and this statue was really randomly placed outside one of the shops. really cute statue and quite heartwarming if you think it’s about a couple growing old and staying by each other’s side.. (thinking too much…)

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easily one of the grandest temple around in Chiang Khong, it looks more magnificent and grand from its sides… and is really big i must say, pity it’s closed by the time we arrived in Chiang Khong~

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introducing our main purpose in Chiang Khong… to visit the Laos-Thai border! this time we travelled by boat, and i must say it’s a different experience, and even before we embark on the actual journey, it is clear that the port serves different functions and also how one’s identification plays a part (as for every border around the world?)..

a side note would be how the random coffee shop at the port serves really good coffee, better than Starbucks and at least five times cheaper😉

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a shot of the Mekong River  from onshore the land across is Laos. i think i have express that visiting the Mekong River and seeing it in person is almost like a milestone for me.. i’ve always learnt about river management, river uses and its links to different countries on textbooks, and in particular i’ve never failed to read and learn about Mekong River..

but for the past 7-8 years learning about Mekong River, i’ve only know about it as an “arm-chair Geographer”.. when you truly see something that you’ve read and learnt about, it makes all that learning come to live and knowing that what you’ve learnt about is real… that feeling is just indescribable🙂
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a photo of me taken with Shawn, one of our seniors who is also the teaching assistant and helper for our FS! we actually took it because we were wearing similar hats (mine actually belongs to my friend, Jiayi ^^).. i hope this photo is good enough, because Shawn is almost a professional photographer and here is his photography portfolio: https://www.facebook.com/SQphotog

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this is a photo of our breakfast in Laos, banana pancakes which is really delicious although easily one of the more pricey food we’ve ordered throughout our FS journey~

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here is the shopfront, and this was taken in Laos😉 i guess the town we visit is pretty much a tourist destination so non-local Laos food can be found easily (well to cater to the tourists’ tastebuds?) haha functions within a border town ^^
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yeap and this photo (which is also the blog’s background) was taken on our way out and back to Chiang Kong.. my group and the tourism group left early to another village, Mae Sa Long, for our projects’ research..

Mae Sa Long is actually also another Chinese village in Thailand, more well known perhaps? but easily more commercialised in the sense that once stepped in, the surroundings is ‘so Chinese’ that you kind of know parts of it have been shaped to earn the tourist dollar.. not exactly reflective of the local people there in my opinion. nevertheless the stay there has been an eye-opener..

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this is the front desk of our one night accommodation in Mae Sa Long, really really clean and well-furnished guesthouse.. so glad we came when it was the low season for tourism, i’m pretty sure my group won’t enjoy it as much if there were a lot of guests too..

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our room for the night ^^ unforgettable room with powerful shower head, comfortable beds and great Mae Sa Long weather! there was also a TV set which shows Chinese channels :O well, it is a Chinese village after all~

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after checking in, we also checked out the local hot-selling noodle shop! traditional Yun nan noodles, easily the best noodles and dumplings i’ve tasted, and the taste is NO JOKE, really worth the trip down in any case!

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let the photos do the talking, golden brown dumplings~

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oh glorious and flavoursome noodles heh

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the focus of our trip into Mae Sa Long, the Chinese Martyrs Memorial Museum.. it’s not exactly a museum in my opinion, but more of a place to show case the development of Mae Sa Long when the KMT soldiers came into Thailand.. with snippets of other Chinese villages in Thailand also..

but i will say this place is not possible if not for funding and donations, which not all Chinese villages are blessed with… for instance, Mae Aw (Ban Rak Thai). although sometimes i would rather a place slow down development and retain more of its vernacular culture (let’s not discuss what is culture here~)
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me being a country bumpkin and taking photo of a fresh sunflower with edible seeds~

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fast forward to nightfall, and this is a view of our guesthouse’s exterior.. really quaint and tranquil at night which is what i really appreciate about this place!
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our sumptuous dinner! Mae Sa Long also has about 30% Muslim population, so this is a Halal establishment, which we visited with our group mate, Aqram, to break his fast that day. although it is Halal food, it’s also Chinese-style and the food is really really good and satisfying.. fond memories coming back to me as i’m typing this…

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highlight! highlight! highlight! of the day… my favourite Greentea Cornetto ice cream, which i sorely miss when i’m now back in Singapore.. some might say it’s overrated, but i say: to each his own😉

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greeting us after a good night’s sleep: traditional bakery in the village.. very underrated in my opinion, and all the baked goods are freshly made!

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piping hot cake we ordered the minute it was ready, the lady boss even brought it out specially for us.. about 50baht for this, but still good, the taste is just heavenly and it gives me a familiar and simple taste of home..

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the famous food in Mae Sa Long: soybean drink and fried dough (i never thought i will find these outside of Singapore or China..) this meal is also our lunch, stir-fried mushrooms, seaweed soup and fried mantou! food glorious food, and very fond memories shared with my friends❤
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before we leave the village, some short sight-seeing to be done.. neat rows of tea plantation..vastly different from Mae Aw (covered later)~

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and a photo of me with my boy-scouts hat! i didn’t bring it back to Singapore because it broke on the last day of our trip😦 i think i look pretty good in it though.. cheap things can look good too!

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this jaw-dropping resort in Mae Sa Long, a big contrast to the other structures we see in the village… i guess it is pretty much equipped with any facilities one can think of~

IMG_6236arriving at Chiang Dao, where we will join back the rest of our Humanoids group.. we managed to visit the Chiang Dao caves and the trip down is pretty interesting.. glad to have gone in with the Mae Sa Long buddies hehe😉

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i forgot what this represented, but it’s a landscape within the dark and quite dangerous cave.. there were many others too, some looked real, some not so..

IMG_6254we also checked-in early to our accommodation in Chiang Dao before the others arrive, and a photo taken with Peggie (flower of the tourism group ^^)

FS brought me to so many different places and every single place taught me something, i truly am thankful and blessed to have made this trip and i would say the best place hasn’t even been covered yet~ till then, Mae Aw!

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