This was the first step in our local youth tour guide training program. Part of the program involves giving our students hands-on work experience by accompanying us on trips and tours. As Pat and myself are still relative new-comers in this area we wanted to survey the nearby sights of the town and who better to show us than the locals themselves? So we decided to ask 2 of our students to take us around; Kae and Somsak. Kae is a sweet 16 year old girl from ‘La Up’ village (the Lawa hilltribe village where our homestay is based). Kae’s English is already pretty good.
Somsak is from the Karen hilltribe, he recently graduated with a honors in English in Bangkok. Now he has come back to Mae Sariang to look for a job as an English teacher. His English is good too, although he is more reserved with it, maybe it has something to do with the fact that he spent most of his life as a Buddhist monk. Hmmmmm.
So with Pat and myself on one motorbike, Somsak and Kae on another we headed out of Mae Sariang town and off on a country road out of Mae Sariang town in search of Mae Top waterfall.
I never tire and I’m sure I never will tire of riding the country roads here on a motorbike. The natural scenery here never disappoints. Rollings hills, rice terraces, passing the occasional farmer ploughing the fields. After about 15 minutes into the countryside, we arrive at a small house where Kae’s school friend lives. Turns out her friend knows where the waterfall is, so herself and younger brother hop on their bikes too and show us the way. Lucky they did, because we never would have found the place. Backtracking 5 minutes down the way we came we stopped at an unobvious point on the road, parked our bikes and walked through some prickly grasslands on a trail that lead us to the opening of the waterfall. Wonderful! It really was like discovering the ‘secret garden’ but this was a ‘secret waterfall’. Although we couldn’t actually see the top of the waterfall, and this part was just great big stone boulders it was beautiful nonetheless. I guess because it was so secluded. Sunlight was streaming through the gaps of the tropical trees that towered over us, as we navigated through these big rocks to get closer to the waterfall.
As the children stormed ahead like monkeys, I was the typical clumsy foreigner, finding it difficult to scale the slippery rocks. It always amazes me how the Thais are so adept at doing this in nothing more than 20 baht flip flops.
The next stop on our survey was Jom Morn temple, one of the 4 temples in the 4 corners of Mae Sariang. Its like Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai with something like 200 knackering steps to climb to reach the top. After a few minutes of breathlessness at the top, it’s well worth the view of Mae Sariang.