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The Seasons Episode 12: Steps of the Paddy Fields

Ban Pa Pong Piang in Mae Chaem district of Chiang Mai province is a small forested village surrounded by high mountains. Due to its location, few can expect that beyond its natural wall of green lies a highway leading to the city. Despite the increase in modern development in this village, the native Pgaganyaws—or Sgaw Karens—still preserve their culture with tenacity.

Today, most of the locals still keep their original way of life. Midday is the time for embroidering cloth,  and twilight is reserved for singing and dancing.  At daybreak, they march to their sloping terraced fields in the valley to tend to their rice plants. They are fully aware that the seasons in their mountainous world rotate in an unchanged cycle. Their rice paddies become lush green every rainy season, before turning golden yellow comes the first winter breeze in September. Local Karen farmers grow only one rice crop a year, which is sufficient for household consumption. This is their traditional farming method, which they have been practicing for over a hundred years. It is a secret of a peaceful, simple way of life conducive to human-nature coexistence.

Thanks to the local inhabitants’ mindset, Ban Pa Pong Piang remains so fertile that it attracts group after group of visitors from the outside world.

The downpour that marks the farming season energises this village. Today, the locals’ terraced fields have become a new rehabilitation destination for those escaping from a busy, hectic life to relish joyful moments amidst the serene nature here at Ban Pa Pong Piang.

Location: Ban Pa Pong Piang, Chiang Mai

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