Hill-Tribe Trekking (Part 2)

After leaving the village it was another two hours of 60 degree inclines before we reached our homestay. After the quite emotional introduction to the first village, by the time we arrived at our final destination we were too exhausted to really notice its charms. In comparison to the first Hmong village (Hmong are a hilltop tribe found throughout the mountains of Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam) this was more like a town; everything we’d seen two hours earlier but on a much larger scale. Kong explained that there were actually two tribes, Khmu and Hmong, 50ft apart. The villages were called Par-pm and Mor-gomg, both speaking their own languages e.g. Hello in Par-pm was Nojon, and in Mor-gomg was Smileu .

Over-looking the two villages

We were taken to our homestay which was a small guesthouse opposite the local shop (it sold Coke, torches, crackers and, of course, the ubiquitous Beerlao). Our sleeping quarters included a mattress, a bed sheet and pillows, quite a luxury considering the locals sleep on wooden floors; the whole family together.

Our bed

Kong put dinner on to cook then he escorted us around the villages. We noticed a woman carrying head sized watermelons on her back and we couldn’t resist! After Kong took the watermelon back to our homestay we continued the tour.

Although we were still a little achey we didn’t mind the few inclines and muddy surfaces, it is, after all, a way of life for those living in these mountain villages. We walked past the local showers (we decided to put the camera away at this point); women wearing sarongs and pouring buckets of cold water over theirs and their children’s heads. Surprisingly there were no men at the showers and we never did ask why.

We can’t show you ladies in the shower so here is a nice picture of us.

One of the larger buildings stood atop a hill overlooking the villages, Kong explained that this was the local school which was attended by the children in the two villages and the Hmong village two hours away. We had brought with us a selection of books we had bought at a literacy project in Lunag Prabang called Big Brother Mouse and gave these books to the school. This initiative began in 2006 when books were very rarely published in Lao, even now lots of children have never read a book other than their own school textbooks. Big Brother Mouse organise book parties in rural villages which consist of a few hours of games, talking about books, refreshments and an art lesson then they give every child a free book that could be the first book they have ever owned. If you are interested in finding out how you could get involved then check out http://www.bigbrothermouse.com and if you happen to be in Luang Prabang then go along to one of their conversational English sessions and sit with a local to help with their English; we did, and now there are about four Laos with a distinctly Scouse English accent…

The local school

By the time we got back to the guesthouse it was fairly dark and Kong told us that he needed to go to the local official to inform him of our presence in the village but only once we had been fed. Sitting outside our hut, dinner was served and it consisted of a pile of rice and a plate of boiled veggies, or should I say some god-damned tasty rice and veg. So simple and you could taste the lack of electrical appliance. As the village had no electricity we were given a gas-light by our host while we ate.

Dindins and our maleria tablets

When it was obvious that we had finished our hostess came and sat with us, by this time Kong had left us, so we thought it would be an opportune moment to get out the Lao phrasebook. Within no time we realised that she didn’t even speak Lao! Apparently this is quite common as slightly over half of the population actually speak the language. It didn’t take long for the children to find the ‘Falang’ (the endearing name given to caucasian foreigners) and be mesmerised by our fork-knife-spoon sets. We couldn’t eat the whole watermelon so we shared it out to the children and our hostess.

Kong cutting up the watermelon. Those kids look excited.

Hello Falang!

Lying in bed our senses were heightened by the sounds of snorting pigs, howling dogs, clicking crickets, singing geckos, and a lone gun shot in the distance.

Day 2
This day was all about kayaking. We left the village bright and early and took the hour and a half shortcut to the pick-up point.

The route took us along a river which flowed into the Mekong. The journey took approximately 3 hours with the occasional stop at sandy banks.

We are actually brilliant
Gareth! You’re doing it wrong!
A big cliff
Looking out to the Mekong

The two days were fantastic and we would recommend to anyone visiting Laos to do a trip like this. We went with Phone Tours and you can find them on the main road in Luang Prabang. Ask for King Kong.

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4 thoughts on “Hill-Tribe Trekking (Part 2)”

  1. iv just caught up on ur journey so far and it looks and reads like ur having a fantastic time so please keep up the blogs and teaching kids scouse slowly but surely we will have the world speaking scouse hehe i taught a couple of words to the locals in mexico,hey every bit helps to world domination hehe

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