Seable has been on an incredibly exciting mission for the last 3 weeks to our new destination; Thailand.
The team from Seable that went on this journey was myself Emma, Holiday Tailoress and CEO Damiano La Rocca. We set out on this trip with one mission…..TO COME BACK WITH AN EXCITING ACCESSIBLE HOLIDAY THAT WE CAN OFFER TO THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I, myself could not wait to get started and show all that we had to offer upon our return.
So here is the second part of our trip to Thailand:
We woke at 6am to go a see a celebration with the monks in the local temple. This was a very spiritual experience and something that I felt very lucky to be part of. We then went back to the home stay to have breakfast. After breakfast, we got picked up outside the house by a longtail boat and went on a boat cruise to the Island City of Ayutthaya. The boat was great to feel the breeze and splashes of water on such a hot day and to also get to see the different houses all along the riverside. After 30-minute boat trip we arrive at our day room, dropped our bags off and headed out on a cycling tour of the Historical Park. Trust me when I say I was slightly anxious about cycling in 35 degrees but I am so glad that I did it. It was such a great way to get to visit all the sights around the city.
After freshening up back in the day room and picked up our bags we headed to the train station-picking up food from the street stalls on the way-we waited for our overnight train to Chiang Mai. This is where Nun said her goodbyes and saw us off on the train for our 13-hour journey. She was a fantastic tour guide with great knowledge of the city and we thoroughly enjoyed having her as our tour guide.
I have never been on an overnight train before and was unsure as to what to expect but it over exceeded my expectations. It was new and very clean, with surprisingly comfy beds. I had a great night’s sleep.
Arriving in Chiang Mai at half 7 in the morning we were greeted by our next tour guide Jimi. He then drove us for 3 and half hours to Chiang Khum, stopping on the way to visit local sites. We went to Amphoe Wang Nuea waterfall and the local hot springs, Mae Kahjan Geyser. When we arrived at Chiang Khum, went to the local guesthouse where we would be staying that evening, dropped our bags off and headed out to go and visit the local temple and experience the ‘Tai Lue’ culture and way of life.
That evening we went to a local’s home and had a traditional ‘kantok’ dinner which is a traditional northern dinner at Baan Tha Sop Van.
We woke at 6am and walked into the local village to go and see how the villages work in the morning. We got to help a woman make her local rice crackers, which I thoroughly enjoyed-albeit I was not very good at it but she was so friendly and smiled through the whole experience. We then walked through the rest of the little village and visited a small local market where we tried sticky rice that had been cooked in bamboo and was Damiano’s favourite from then on.
Back at the local guesthouse we had a ‘American breakfast’ and then went back to the house where we had the meal the evening before. She had invited us back as she asked if she could dress us up in traditional clothing for the ‘Tai Lue’ culture. This will be something that I will never forget-we were dresses up in the beautiful clothing and I also got some fantastic jewellery place d on me, which was very exciting. Many locals were there and it then felt like a photo shoot, with us standing, sitting to then us sitting on the bed to being in the kitchen pretending to cook dinner. Not only was it something that was a once in a life time experience but it was funny. I felt incredibly lucky to be stood there and with the opportunity we were given.
Once we were changed we went downstairs of this wonderful home and they did weaving to make clothing and bags plus much more. So we got the chance to see how they made the clothes that we had the opportunity to try on.
Saying good bye to the wonderful people we got in the car and drove up into the mountains to go and visit the Buddha images carved into the cliffs at a cave temple. This was fantastic and would be brilliant for our clients as it was all touchable and very tactile.
We drove to our next home for the evening in Baan Dok Bua, which was a very modern homestay owned by a doctor and a nurse from the local hospital. They were wonderful friendly people who made us feel right at home. We quickly got freshened up and changed ready to go on a sunset Gondola cruise on Payao Lake.
We woke early for a walk around the local village and we saw a 500 year old tree, which is very special to the village. After our walk we had breakfast and then set off for a tractor tour of the community and it was a great way for us to see how the village has come to win national awards for the best self-sufficient village economy. It was clear to see why, from the farmer fields, a family that produced gas from the rice shells and basket weaving. With the tractor, they then took us up into the mountain and we went on a jungle walk. The noises from all the insects was incredibly loud. With hundreds of insects all around, it was a moment where you must take a minute to realise where you are and take it all in. It was so dense and green and I loved every second. It would also be such an amazing thing or our clients as the noises of the jungle were just incredible.
We had a picnic in the forest which was made by one of the locals for us and we instantly added it onto the list of things for our clients to do. Fantastic. We then slowly made our way back to the homestay where we cooked dinner together with the owners. She gave us a basket and some scissors and took her into her garden, where we picked some vegetables and used then in our dinner. It was so fresh and tasty and amazing to see how they are so self-sufficient. We had and early night as the next day we were to make our way back to Chiang Mai.
To be continued…..