Monday, January 21st, 2013
Today our adventures continued with... More driving! I might have been a little reluctant to get back on the road after our 6-hour journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot the previous day. Not to mention we left behind the most comfortable beds we have had yet. Most of the beds are as hard as plywood, and sometimes they are plywood. We were definitely spoiled last night!
However, as reluctant to get back on the road as I was, I am so glad we did. We traveled from MaeSot to the small tourist town of Umpang. We started the day off bright and early for our three-hour journey. This should be no problem for us, the seasoned Thailand travelers we are, but it wasn't that simple. We traded in our luxurious buses and vans for 3 Toyota pickups. The beds of the trucks were converted into side seating for the 12 of us to travel over the hills. There is only one road in and one road out. It wasn't until we arrived that we realized the road was famous. It has 1219 curves in it! It felt like we were at Disneyland riding Indiana Jones for 3 hours. Luckily no one got sick!
Once we got to Umpang we checked in and had a wonderful lunch at the Centara Resort. The food was spicy and tested some of our limits. I'm sure we will be able to handle more "pet" when we get home.
Afterwards we visited a local school run by the Thai government. Many of the students are from local hill tribes. Umpang is very close to the border and some of the students are Thai, and some are Burmese. Parents push their children to attend school here as they are given meals and basic medical care; they just need to bring their own rice. This allows their parents to work during the day. Everyone at the school was very kind and welcoming. The kids appeared shy, but some were brave enough to share their English skills with us. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. We can't wait to see what else Umpang has to offer! The landscape is beautiful and the people are wonderful. With rafting and waterfalls in days to come I'm sure we will never want to leave.