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Go to an undeveloped village where elephants coexist! Hair and makeup artist Haruka Tazaki travels around the world and travels alone 【No.2 / Chiang Mai, Thailand】 | Vogue Japan

Go to an undeveloped village where elephants coexist! Hair and makeup artist Haruka Tazaki travels around the world and travels alone 【No.2 / Chiang Mai, Thailand】 | Vogue Japan


Arrive in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand. The capital of the independent state of the Lanna Dynasty until 1558, it is one of Thailand’s major tourist attractions, with remnants of a thriving religion and culture, and numerous Buddhist temples, to be felt throughout the city. My destination this time is on the mountain about an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai.

Chai Lai Orchid, an undeveloped resort in the mountains of Chiang Mai

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Chalai Orchid is a popular secluded resort that attracts tourists from all over the world.

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Coexistence with humans is a big problem as many elephants inhabit the area.

“Chai Lai Orchid” is an undeveloped eco-resort deep in the mountains of Chiang Mai. Let me start off by saying that this is a highly recommended place for those looking for an extraordinary experience. You can bathe with elephants in the breath-taking nature, experience the wonderful life of ethnic minority Karen villages, learn jungle cooking and traditional handicrafts and many other activities, you can enjoy. If you stay in one of the lodges on site, you get fantastic service, with elephants bringing you breakfast. It’s like Disneyland! ! The cabin, which allows you to live a unique experience, is so popular that people wait half a year to book it.

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Empathize with various issues such as the environment and human rights

Moreover, this facility is not just for enjoying the natural beauty of Chiang Mai. They also work to protect human trafficking (which remains a social problem), provide relief to minorities and refugees, and protect statues that are being misused for commercial purposes. Alexa, the New York-born shop owner, said she herself was a victim of human trafficking as a child and moved to the land after starting a group called Daughters Rising to eradicate the problem.

The facility’s policy is “Employment + Education = Self-Confidence” and most of the staff are Karen villagers. In addition to work, you can also receive training in foreign languages, hospitality skills, entrepreneurship and more. Interestingly, it not only creates employment opportunities for them, but also expands their life options. And all profits from the facility will go towards the education of the children rescued here. In other words, we’re a great system that’s supported as long as it stays. I had heard about this event before and was so intrigued that I put it on my “hot spots I want to visit someday” list.
Although Chiang Mai is a place to protect nature, there are also many problems. The air pollution in the city is one of the worst in the world, and during my few days in the city, on my way home from work in the morning, I had tears in my eyes and a burn from alcohol in my throat, my The nose was so dirty I thought it had black rouge in it.

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Visit Keren Village where our guide Sang Ye lives. The road was harder than expected due to humidity and heat.

We arrived at the “Chai Lailan” built on the top of the hill, and the view was so good that the blurred view we had just seen seemed to be lying. First, the point of travel is not to have a sparkling dream experience, but to interact with the people who live in each land and nature. I decided to take part in a program called “HOME STAY”, where I could experience the real life of local people. In no time we met three girls from Turkey and Norway, and were taken by the super cheerful Sun, our travel boss, to a Karen village deep in the mountains with no radio or electricity. He is also a Karen who was born and raised in this village.
When I bathe my whole body in negative ions, my five senses feel the gift of nature. Jungle trekking in the high humidity and scorching sun (personally feeling the temperature was 50 degrees!) completely exhausted my energy.

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The cold stimulation stimulated the flushed body. Let’s have fun with everyone in the waterfall basin that appears along the way!

On the way to Hell, a waterfall basin suddenly appeared. The tension among the four of us exploded all of a sudden, and we got into the water without hesitation! However, the water temperature was so cold it felt like a punishment game and everyone went “OMG!” After all, eh? Wait, my pants… are gone! While I had the strength to laugh out loud, I didn’t have the strength to look for it, so I continued jungle style! This sense of enlightenment is not bad.

Tonight’s accommodation is in a Karen village with no radio waves or electricity.

Arrive at Keren village and spend the night before sunset. There we see people living self-sufficient lives in settings far removed from our everyday lives. While Sun was preparing dinner tonight, I had a problem with my phone battery draining. power cable. The few solar panels in the village are supposed to be a vital lifeline for storing electricity, and I’m ashamed of my stupidity.

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San expertly prepares dishes using local ingredients. Both the aroma and the color are appetizing.

After walking around, I was hungry. As we returned to the bungalow, lured by the aromas, we were greeted with a series of local dishes prepared with ingredients from the village. “

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Tender and delicious! Traditional Karen cuisine will warm your tired body.

I’m sure I’ll never forget San’s love of home cooking and the time we spent together. After thinking about it, I drank three more glasses. There is no electricity in Karen Village, so it is already dark at seven o’clock in the evening. I slept under the stars, listening to the gurgling of the river and the chirping of insects, wrapped in a thin blanket, and fell asleep to the sound of cocks in the morning.

Irreplaceable time communicating with elephants

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It’s like an amusement park attraction! Take a bamboo raft down the river.

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Another attraction is that you can get up close and personal with the statues.

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The long awaited elephant shower! “Actually, splashed a lot of water and had a runny nose (laughs).”

The next day, we took a bamboo raft down the river in the morning, and played with the elephant on the river in the afternoon! Water droplets are amazing, but so is a runny nose (laughs). At first, I was afraid to even give him a banana, but as time went on, I found it odd that Daxiang and I started opening up to each other. It’s the same with humans. If you don’t open up first, no one else will.

It’s finally time to say goodbye. Although I only stayed for two days, I was still very reluctant to part with this place, the sun, and my friends, we talked to the end. We were born in different places and grew up in different environments. This time is very precious and special. As a testament to the bonds born here, the four of us returned to our respective destinations wearing anklets handmade by our Karen grandmothers.

Where is my life going? These questions kept running through my mind as I boarded the Songthaew and looked at the shrinking Karen villages.

Photo and text: Haruka Tazaki
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harukadebeau/





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