Phayaprai & Lahu New Year 2024

DavidFL

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Phayaprai is one of those remote villages "at the end of the road"right out there on the Thai / Myanmar border.
It's actually "3 villages in one", Lahu, Akha & Shan, called Phayaprai collectively.

3 kms from the original Choui Fong tea plantation, that kicked started the North Thailand tea plantation boom & which was heavily supported by the Royal Project get going, survive, develop the area & support the mountain people in the area, Phayaprai really does have a magic feeling nestled up on that border ridgeline.
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Chiang Khong- Thoed Thai.
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From Chiang Khong it's a 122kms blast up & over Paradise Road, then through the flat rice paddies & R1016, to hook up with the Mae Salong Road R130 & back into the mountains, to the Akha Sam Yaek turn off & then down that amazing road into Thoed Thai.

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Daddy's Coffee is my new fave stop on R1130 for a cuppa & a pee with a view.
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5.40PM is my check in time at the Rim Taan Gh, my fave GH in North Thailand, & what a gem of a place it is. Everyone should stay there sometime!
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My fave restaurant the Saraburi, run by Lamduan has moved & is no longer so attractive in the new location; so the Ting Ting it is from now on for the old GTR fellah. And they always have good anyway, so zero complaints.

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Night night from Thoed Thai
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More to come...
 
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DavidFL

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Brekky the next morning was some good coffee & "mediocre cream donut balls" at the Wang Coffee.
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A cool little coffeeshop right by the morning market, that sadly only opens at 8AM.
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The staff are always friendly & a lot of fun, & you soon forget the soggy cream donut balls.

Thoed Thai - Phayaprai is one hell of an amazing road.
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Only 14 kms but what a ripper it is winding along that ridgeline.
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Probably right up there with the steepest in the country.

Before departure from the Rim Taan I had a long chat with John the owner, trying to confirm the exact location of the right Lahu village for the event.
I had misunderstood that it was actuallly a village on the Hua Mae Kham road, but the local knowledge won out of course & I never made an unfortunate wrong way ride.
There was no mistaking the turn off either once you got on the right road.
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Turn off & away you go for a roller coaster ride
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Once in Lao Jo it more like a dodgem cars & bikes ride there were so many people out & about for the event.
Secure parking was dificult to find but old some GTR fellah magic worked & I got to park my bike under cover at the home of the local mini mart entrepeneur. I struck up a coversation with his outgoing daugther, & incredibly of all remote drug smuggling border places, learned that she had just returned a month ago from 6 months studying English in Sydney!!! How cool was that I thought.

The festival venue was a mere 360 metres away, on a small cleared hillock.
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Smiling friendly Lahu greeted you along the way the way.
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It is a while since I've been greeted with so many friendly hellos, waves, smiles & even wais.
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The Lahu folks ot Phayaprai certainly weren't shy in being friendly & happy to the farang.
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And on the day I was there, I was the only white guy I saw.
It really did feel a bit like a Nat Geo moment being out there alone I thought.

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Mutliple stalls lined the road to the venue.
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Relaxing for the event.
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DavidFL

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Dancing round the "spirit tree" & pole.
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This was a truly amazing colourful spectacle & one not to be missed in 2025.

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Some vdo from the day.
1. Walking to & entering the scene.


2. Dancing


Lets rock again 2025 @ Phayprai for Lahu new Year,
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Interested in Lahu New Year?
Some earlier Lahu New Year Reports on GTR










Some earlier GTR reports with Phayaprai, Choui Fong Tea, & Hua Mae Kham.