Exploring Thailand’s Far North

Tea plantation in Northern Thailand

A tea plantation in the remote hill country of northern Thailand. The sign says “prohibit pluck the top feels numb,” which is pretty much how we were feeling. Photo by David Lansing.

We have been slowly (never more than 20mph) driving along the switchbacks and hairpin turns through the untamed wilderness of Thailand’s Far North for hours.

Steve, sitting in the far back of the van, says, “Khun Ketsara.”


“I think if the driver can pull over soon, he should.”

Liz and Yuri are both green around the gills.

“It’s less than ten kilometers more,” says Ketsara. “Can you make it?”

“I don’t think so,” says Liz. “I think we might need to stop now.”

There is really no place to pull over. The mountain road is so narrow that if we get behind an ancient Chinese motorbike putt-putt-putting up the road we’re forced to follow behind it until it either turns down a rutted dirt road or comes to one of the small hill-tribe villages. But Ketsara lets the driver know the urgency of the situation and he simply stops the van in the middle of the road and turns on the flashers. Which will do us absolutely no good if some vehicle comes barreling along.

The girls hurry out of the van. Liz makes it only a few feet before vomiting. Of course, with the power of suggestion, now all of us feel slightly ill.

“Sorry,” she says, taking a handful of Kleenex from Ketsara as she climbs back in to the van.

“I think maybe we make a stop for tea,” says Ketsara. “There is a tea plantation just one or two minutes from here. Shall we do that?”

We all agree. A cup of tea might do wonders to settle our stomachs. And our nerves.

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