We had been waiting for January 24th with the utmost desire. In Umphang district, we were scheduled to see the Tee Lor Su Falls, which are the sixth largest waterfalls in the world. Our day began with rafting on the Mekong River.
Our group occupied three boats, and there were some other boats filled with groups from Bangkok. During the trip, there was lots of laughter, jokes being made and competition among boats while being surrounded by spectacular over-hanging cliffs, mountain forests and small waterfalls.
After two hours of river rafting, we stopped at a rest point. Even in a forest, there were small vendors selling eggs and food, which had been cooked on an open fire and using cold water. We grabbed some snacks and soaked in a hot spring. The most fascinating part of this stop was the photo shoot. Our girls were asked to have their photo taken with some Thai people from Bangkok. The excitement among the girls lasted for a long time. We heard many statements such as ‘Oh, my God, they kept coming and coming and asking me to pose for a picture with them’ and ‘They think we are so pretty.’ For a moment, we felt like celebrities.
After rafting and a small rest, we hiked through a bamboo forest to the Thi Lo Su Waterfall. The waterfall contained many smaller falls, which added to the magnificent view. The waterfall was beautiful, and I can only imagine how spectacular it is during the rainy season from June to November. We swam under the waterfall and played water splashing games with some local guys. Our days always have some surprises.
After dinner we had the great opportunity to be part of a fundraising event for unprivileged children who attend school in Umphang district. These children primarily come from the Karen hilltribe who inhabit the rainforest of Umphang distract. The Thai government is promoting eco-tourism in this area, hence the group of Thais from Bangkok who were partaking. Part of the eco-tourism provides general education on how to conduct oneself in a fragile natural environment and pay respect to the people who took care of it for many years. During the event, school children from the Hmong, Karen and Burmases tribes performed traditional songs and dances while wearing traditional clothes. Under the supervision of their school director (principal), the kids raised a good amount money thanks to the Thai tourists. However, our group also contributed to the event, which made us all feel good.
Written by Nazgul Kutmanalieva