When you first arrive in Huay Pakoot, you are greeted by the cheerful sounds of nature and the bright sun dancing across the mountains. Each way you turn, there is a fantastic new sight to take in. The houses are built with such craftsmanship, sitting atop their wooden stilts and nestled into the hills, that they put many westernized homes to shame. Endless mountains envelope the entire landscape, as if to comfort and protect all within its embrace. Animals live among humans in the village, so it is not unusual to cross paths with dogs, chickens, buffalos, pigs, geckos or even an elephant throughout the day. A multitude of other living creatures can be heard if you take a moment to pause. The forest calls out with the gentle humming of crickets and ringing of cicadas accompanied by a chorus of tropical birds. It is a tender reminder that we are not the only ones inhabiting this land and it is not exclusively ours to take from, so we must tread lightly.
Walking amid the trees, you may hear the soft clanging of wooden bells in the distance. Then, just over the next rise you come into view of a beautiful, towering elephant. Seeing and interacting with an elephant for the first time is an experience not easily forgotten. The sheer size, strength, and gracefulness commands awe and excitement from all onlookers. An inquisitive trunk inspects your body, searching for food and reassurance. Her eyes stare into yours and her mouth opens slightly, as if to smile at you. And as soon as you’ve shared this moment, she walks off once again, tunneling her way through the landscape. In the hours you spend watching these gentle giants, they never cease to amaze you with their intelligence and human-like character.
As vibrant as life can be living among wildlife, it can be equally as peaceful. Every once in awhile we can all benefit from sitting down, breathing the mountain air, and appreciating what is around us. Let your worries slip away with the setting sun and new hopes be born with the sunrise. In Huay Pakoot, you relearn the value of our most fundamental possessions. It is not a life of excess, but it is basic and blissful. Family and community are what matters most, which you can be a part of if you choose to make an effort. You’ll find the people are kind hearted and youthful; even the elderly retain their vigor and a twinkle of humour. They all put in a hard day’s work, and for them the best reward is enjoying time with loved ones.
There you have it, a brief glimpse into life here in Thailand, although words cannot do it justice. So come see for yourself, and experience the little joys here in life among the giants.