Several weeks ago our church congregation in Chiang Mai planned a children’s activity to have the kids help plant rice in the fields! We were so excited for the opportunity, and eagerly arrived on the anticipated day, only to discover they had canceled the activity.
It seemed our chance to plant rice in Thailand had officially come and gone!
On Day 2 of our stay at the lovely Chezmoi Homestay in Chiang Rai, our awesome hosts offered to take us to a waterfall and hot springs. On the drive there we spotted some workers in the wet rice fields, planting some rice. I told our hosts about our canceled plans just a few weeks before, and much to my surprise they did a U-Turn and pulled over to the side of the road!
Nae opened the door and ran towards the fields, hollering in Thai, “Please welcome the tourists!” Welcome us—they did! Moments later they were inviting us into the water and instructing us on proper planting techniques. Nae, Ella, Maiya and I eagerly jumped in (and Maiya quickly exited, grossed out by the slimy mud). Jared and Ethan (and the rest of the homestay gang) cheered us on from the (dry) sidelines.
Can you see my giddiness?
The rice is grown in more dense fields, and then it is picked and grouped into bundles where it is replanted in smaller bunches.
When it is time to plant the field, the soil (aka mud) is readied and filled with water, and the tied bunches of rice starts float until they are split up and stuck in the mud with a simple thrust into mushy mud that has you wondering how in the world it stays put and takes root!
Let me tell you—it was AWESOME! After 10 minutes in the fields, Ella and I sadly stepped out of the muck to continue on our journey that day.
Next, our hosts took us to Khunkorn Waterfall on a 1200 meter “short” hike. I guess we failed to think about how far 1200 meters was before we started our climb…and we were so thankful that our kids were happily occupied with their newfound buddies that they didn’t fuss or complain about the distance!
It also helped that Ethan’s new best friend, Can, kept him happily swinging, riding, and running the whole way!
The bamboo jungle was dense and absolutely beautiful!
The falls are quite large and have a nice pool in front of them that you could probably swim in. However, the rush of the falls coming down the mountainside makes a HUGE breeze that left us shivering and running for cover from the cold (on this hot hot day in Thailand)! First, a very quick group shot!
Our kids play Tarzan…
As we exited the park, I was slightly amused by the “Fire Equipment” stand that had big water bottles with shoulder straps and a spray hose. Our friend, Can, demonstrated…
Lastly, our friends took us to some hot springs. I admit we were thoroughly confused when we arrived. They pointed at a line of small buildings and said that they had reserved 3 different rooms for our group.
“Rooms? Are we spending the night here?” I asked Jared. It turns out that instead of a big open hot spring pool like we imagined, this place had separate little rooms for rent where they filled up the hot-tub with fresh, slightly-sulfur-smelling, hot spring water.
Our friends split up in two other rooms, and our family had our own private tub to ourselves. It’s a good thing, too…because when unpacking I realized I had packed two swimsuit tops—no bottom. Oh well, crisis averted!
Yet another awesome, surprise-filled day in Chiang Rai!