David and I woke up early and went for a swim. We then had breakfast. It was Graham’s birthday so Mr Tony gave him a birthday pancake.
Sadly, we couldn’t do the planned trek today as there were serious fires in the forest. It was very hazy and apparently, the fires had spread quite significantly. Tony decided to take us on riverboat instead to visit the Long Neck Tribe who are part of the Karen Hill Tribe. The riverboats were amazing as they hovered over the very shallow water.
We landed ashore and walked up into the village. The women were very distinctive as they wore brass coils round their necks. The first ring is put on when the girls are five and then added every four or five years. They can have up to twenty rings, weighing up to 15kg. Apparently, the brass pushes the collarbone down and compresses the rib cage which gives the impression that their neck is longer. It looked very painful. Tony said that they were traditionally worn to protect against tigers.
It was humbling to see how basically the villagers lived. The ladies were selling scarves, jewellery and carvings. We also visited the school which again was very basic.
We came back and had a relaxing afternoon by the pool and a Thai massage which was amazing. It was like doing ten sessions of yoga.
In the evening, we drove into Mae Hong Son and visited a temple. We then ate in a local restaurant and celebrated Graham’s birthday.