Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nong Thong Lisu Village

APRIL 2007 - Maehongson - Nong Thong Village

Nong Thong Village is a small Lisu Hill Tribe village located close to Soppong, a market town along the road, Highway 1095, from Maehongson to Pai. and then on to Chiang Mai.

We happened upon Nong Thong Village by chance during our trip to the Maehongson area for the Songkran holiday.



We arrived in the village in the late afternoon during a rain shower. As we drove into the village we passed a young girl dressed in traditional Lisu clothing walking in the rain with a determined walk carrying an umbrella to ward off the rain.


Upon exiting the car we came upon a young mother feeding her baby. She was very photogenic and did not mind at all the attention that we were paying to her as well as her little baby.

As we were photographing the farm houses and hay stacks a Lisu woman walked by. She was very friendly and spoke very good English. It turned out that she was married to an American from California. She invited us to accompany her to her home.

We walked the short ways to her home. We met her husband and ended up having a very long conversation while drinking tea.

The couple run a Community Based Tourist program. Their goal is not to have tourism become a alternative income source or focus of the villagers but to have tourism be a supplementary activity that serves as a catalyst to maintain the traditional subsistence activities of agriculture and forestry.

In addition the couple practise traditional Lisu herbal healing, Lisu massage, natural diets, and spiritual healing.

Susanan was born in the village and she is an expert in medicinal and edible local plants. She is also a message therapist.

Albert has an advanced degree in clinical psychology and once
had his own detox retreat in Northern California. He also is a Master Jeweler and teaches jewelry making.

As part of the home stay program in the village, four hour classes are available. These classes cover a wide range of topics and interests.

Classes include: Lisu Music, Lisu Dance and Chant, Lisu Sewing, Lisu Weaving, Bead Work, and Basket Weaving, Mushrooms and Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants, Lisu Diet & Food Preparation.

This was all very interesting.

Costs for two people for room, board, classes excluding class materials were about the same cost as a room at one of the resorts in Pai. The cost is less than most motel rooms in the USA.

The opportunities of a home stay in the Lisu village are far greater.

The photography opportunities are immensely more diversified and unique.

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