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Village Lifestyle Simplicity

Today, Thailand has bustling cities, with all the traffic, skyscrapers and myriad entertainment of urban life anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, it's in the villages that the Thailand of old lives on, and it's there that one can best appreciate the unique spirit of the Thai people. A Thai poet once had this to say about returning to live in his ancestral village after a period spent away in cities.

no presents to give anyone
no melody and clamorous symphonies
no beautiful colors, lights and concrete roads
no noisy sounds of confusion or heaps of noise from engines,
no cries for freedom or honor and rank,
no talk of systems and technology,
no textbooks or classrooms.

Only quietude, life, love and work
only goodwill, warmth and kindness.
which, together, mean"village"

Each northern Thai village is surrounded by paddy fields ( in the lowlands) or (In the uplands) by field crops, by streams, swamps and grazing lands. The roads or paths to a village are not superhighways or other asphalt reads, but only dirty trains that turn to mud when it rains. Many village houses are bamboo, in front of which a ladder leans, and those roofs are grass or leaves. Large families -- grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, and children -- live together, and also have buffalo or cattle underneath the raised floor of the house.

When dawn awakes, smoke drifts overhead, as aged ladies prepare food. Then everybody wakes up and goes to the fields to plow the land, to grow food and harvest it. When twilight comes, they wend their way home, and sit down to dinner and the latest village news, or men may visit the homes of their favorite ladies to help her and her family do some special task, or simply to talk or to play tradition songs.

When the rainy season is over, rice and other crops are ready for harvest. On the rain fed agricultural land, the fields lie fallow during the dry season, so village people to go the mountains or forests in search of wild tame, brushwood, herbs or fish rom streams.

Young people may go to town to hire out as laborers, waiters, drivers, for a little extra temporary income, before they return home again when the next year's rain begins to fall.

As another write once described village life:

On the road from village to the paddy fields, no trace of "life" apart from "Work" no trace of "Education" apart from :"Life" and the only words "plow", "buffalo" "labor," and "raindrops" speak the language of hope.

Country life in the north of Thailand is somehow blessed with a wonderful balance of nature: away from the cities are hills and mountains; streams, irrigation canals, and rivers; rice fields, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens, fresh air and unlimited photographic opportunities.

Northern rural life is basically organized into groups of houses which form villages, with the farmed lands surrounding them. There is usually a stream or river nearby, and of curse at the center of village life lies the village monastery, or wat, which in the north, even at village level, are the most elaborate architectural constructions in the country.

If you visit an "ideal" northern village, you will be treated to colorful scenery, our Buddhist cultural heritage, a range of handicrafts, and the age-old arts of agriculture. In a typical northern village there is no heavy industry, except for perhaps a rice mill and or a saw mill.

Any visitor serious about seeing the extraordinary beauty and color of village life must make a point of leaving the main roads that lead from city to city and travel down less-frequented byways. Seeing village life in its natural state requires some commitment. Entering a village on a tour bus full of tourists, for instance, will only disrupt life as it is normally lived. The best way is to go alone or with only a couple friends; travelling with a Thai would be even better. And if you are a photographer, use tact. Ask permission before taking any close-up photos; usually the answer will be will be affirmative, even if it is just a shy giggle.

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