It has been a day since I got back from Omgoi District in Chiang Mai and i can tell you that it was a very wonderful trip. Having been part of the project since the start, it was great to see the chance that had occurred with to the village since I last visited it. I learned a lot from this trip and met some wonderful new people.
We left school on Wednesday at 2pm and headed to the airport. We have around 33 students on this trip, which is by far the largest an Omgoi trip has ever been. It is pretty wonderful to see how much people want to go on this trip. After a short flight, we made it to Chiang Mai and headed to our hotel. We were given 2 hours of free time so I headed towards the night market to get some food and just hangout. The night market is pretty cool with a lot of things on sale and I got to get some nice Khao Soi. After that I headed back early to get some sleep as I was pretty tired from all the traveling that day.
We got up very early the next day and left Chiang Mai for Omgoi District at 8am. The first part of the drive was very straight with a two lane highway. About 1.5 hours in, we stopped for a break a bathroom break and got some snacks from 7/11. This was going to be our last stop in a somewhat civilized place. The road after the rest was windy and mountainous. We were heading right into mountainous terrain, climbing around and over these tall geological formations. We eventually reached Omgoi Resort 3 hours after we started on our journey.
After a quick lunch and a change into the proper hiking gear, we took another 10 minute car ride and arrived at the start point of our trek. The trek was actually harder than I remembered it to be. The first hour or so is a continuous 60 degree incline. This made all of us very tired and we had to take breaks quite frequently. The ground was also quite muddy which made it hard to get good grip. It was definitely a physical workout.
It was forecasted to rain during our walk in, but we were lucky that it only drizzled twice during our walk in. We were able to truly enjoy the beautiful and scenic route as we walked along the ridge and valleys of the Northern Thai mountains. 8 kilometers in, we emerged from the treeline and caught our first glimpse of the village. Having not been back to the village for more than a year, I quickly realized there that a lot of change had occurred. There were quite a few new houses that were being built and looking at the surrounding landscape has also changed a lot due to the increase of slash and burn.
As we descended from the mountain top and walked into the village, I started to recognize familiar faces of villagers that I have met on my past visits. Everyone was really tired after that long trek which I personally felt it took much longer than the ones I have previously been on. We got settled into our home stay houses and with only 4 peron to each house, there was plenty of space for everyone.
After experiencing a nice cold refreshing bucket showers, everyone headed to dinner. There was no activity planned for the night as we have visited the village during a very busy time of year. The rainy season was just about to begin so most of the villagers are out in their fields, preparing it for the rice planting season to start. The 30 of us sat around the sat around the dinner table, playing cards and talking to each other. As there was no phone signal in this valley, we were completely cut off from the outside world. Nobody was on their phones, but everyone was having a great time.
The night ended with us slowly making our way back to each of our houses. It had been a long day of travels for us and all of us are tired. The trip is great so far and I look forward to the activities and events tomorrow.