A real food coma strikes you when you least expect it. For us, the location of the strike was in the middle of a deep jungle. In the middle of nowhere, when our cell phone acted just like a solid rock. Not a single cell phone signal made an effort to show up on the screen, yet we carried it close to our heart, snapping away the glorious scenes of the pure forest before us.
play the slideshow below of our trekking on Doi Inthanon.
We were having a 5.3-kilometre trekking in the woods. We prepared ourselves for less, though. 😀 But then, after we realised that we might have covered a further distance than we thought we would, it was way too late to turn back. The sun was on our back, we peeled away layers of sweaters we were wearing. People warned us about the chilling temperatures of Doi Inthanon. And of course they would, this is the highest of Thailand’s all high peaks and the temperatures can be cold. But then it was late in the day. The sun was working hard. And we were hungry.
Our day-trip began at Raya Heritage Hotel in Chiang Mai. They call it an ‘Eco-Excursion’ following the fact that they organise this trip based on the sources of many raw organic ingredients they use in their main kitchen. Those having read into Chiang Mai food scene would have realised that this province is quite strong about their collective organic efforts. The Pga K’nyau community that we are visiting is one of the organic farmer members who supply their fresh produce to the hotel. They also supply to the Royal Project.
The trail started somewhere near the area called Ban Mae Klang Luang where in November people come all the way with a perfect timing to see the glowing golden terraced rice fields. Now in December, though, the rice fields were all cut, the rice all harvested, all left was the unadorned version of life as naked and natural as one can be. You know the healing power of nature once you step your foot into the forest. The instant hit of the ozone. The first deep breath. So refreshing, so healing. So simple, yet so powerful, and so rare now these days.
We walked through some steep terrains with parts of the trails thankfully shored up with wooden steps. Our local guide – a Pga K’nyau native – occasionally made stops and showed us some hidden treasures of the jungle. The yellow ointment from a ‘Nam Kwai’ tree trunk that can heal body cuts and wounds. The cocoon of the wild moths so silky-looking beautiful BUT we should stay clear from thanks to its very potent poisonous property. The bridge over the waterfall where a major local film (Rak Jang) was made. The vantage point where we can take pictures with the backdrop being the magnificent nature. All the beautiful details of the pureness.
Our lunch, though, when it comes, was as great and glorious as nature itself. The lunch is part of the tour package and it is prepared by our host which is a Pga K’nyau family. We had lunch in a small bamboo hut on their farm. Our views were their vegetable patches, their walkway was lined with mulberry trees loaded with the fully ripe and juicy berries. Their freshly picked zucchini was julienned and stir-fried simply with eggs, and it tasted divine. The rice we ate was from their own paddy. They call it ‘Khao Rai‘ or mountain rice, a little glutinous, full-bodied, tasty, munchy.
Above is the fresh fruits from the host’s orchards – the beautiful sweetness after the meal. The avocado is home-grown, served with ladles of wild honey. Nothing beats this. And here comes the food coma. The mulberries, so sweet, plump, juicy. Gooseberries fresh, bursting with flavours. A little tangy. And very aromatic. Passion fruits of two kinds (wild and farmed) are served side by side. Plum, not in season but still available, was also in the basket. Tasty, crunchy, as fresh as one freshly picked could be.
Life is good. Thank you jungle. Thank you for the raw wilderness. I am forever grateful for your abundance.
NOTE: Trekkers should LEAVE NO TRACE in the jungle. Bring out your food and garbages. Do not litter. And always follow the instructions and cautions of your guide. The waterfalls can be very slippery.
This eco-excursion is provided for the guests of Raya Heritage at Bt3,500++ per person, including a van transfer to and from the hotel and Doi Inthanon, the guide, and the lunch.
Read more about Raya Heritage here.
For the breakfast and ‘khu khao’ dining at Raya Heritage, read here.