Caught the exciting 20 min flight from ...

Trip Start Oct 25, 2001
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2002

Caught the exciting 20 min flight from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son. The runway at Mae Hong Son is not very long, and has steep hills just beyond the runway, so landing there in a 737 was a landing like no other!!!
We came sweeping over the surrounding hills, skimming over the towns main road and touching down onto the uneven runway. The pilot wasted no time in putting the engines into reverse thrust and we came to to a standstill with only 15 metres of runway remaining. -brilliant!!!!
I wondered what would have happened if we had overshot the runway. The pilot would have had put the engines onto full power, climbing as high as he could, and work his way through the hills directly infront of him.-Lucily that didn't happen today.
I had 3 full days in Mae Hong Son, and wasted no time in visiting the Long neck hill tribes. Circular heavy rings that the tribal women wrap around their necks, keeping them on permanetly. (sometines as many as 24-26 rings)
Some say that the more rings you don the more beautiful you become. Looking at them gave me the impression that the rings had stretched the neck, but in actual fact the lower rings crush down on the collar bone creating the 'long neck' appearance. Most of the long neck villagers are Burmese refugees that have fled their home country and settled around the Thai border for a better quality of life. The first 2 days i took guided trips to a few of the long neck villages, then on the last day i rented a motorbike and travelled there myself, spending as much as 2 hours wandering around mingling with them and getting pictures.
One of the villages also housed the 'long ear' tribe...Yes you guessed it they had long ears!! All wore large circular silver rings stretched inside the ear lobe- Looked painfull
The long neck, and long ear tribes really didn't mind you taking photos of them. They're used to travellers wandering around their villages (some in large groups) most with cameras and camcorders wrapped round their necks, taking pictures of themselves posing next to them.
During the 3 days i visited the villages i managed to get through 7 rolls of film!
After the 3 days in Mae Hong Son i caught the return flight back to Chiang Mai where i made final plans to travel overland to Laos.
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