Workaway at Homtel
We signed up for Workaway in April, and were stoked to finally approach our first scheduled arrangement. We had a week set aside to work on a family farm in central Thailand. It’s called Homtel Farmstay, and we had pretty much no idea where it was. From Chiang Mai, it was a journey to get there. We flew to Bangkok, took a train to Pak Chong (4 hours) and the next morning a bus ride (2 hours) to the village of Wung See Sote. The farmstay is owned by a family. We loved getting to know them and the story of how they ended up there. Dawn is from the US originally, but her family moved to Thailand when she was 16, and she’s been there ever since. She married Tosh (that’s not his full name but none of us could pronounce it) and together they had 10 children, who all grew up on the property. All but the last 2 are grown and away, which means they need some help to keep things up and running. This is why they take Workawayers! We were a group of 8 the week we worked there. Each morning we woke up at 6am for a cup of coffee. Dawn would assign us our tasks for the day and at 6:30 we would sleepily meander to our positions. We would work until 8 o-clock when we’d take a break for breakfast. After breakfast we worked hard until 11 o-clock when we would call it a day- it got too hot for manual labor after that.
Alec’s project was the same all week. He and Ben (Dawn and Tosh’s son) were working on welding a gate for the new sheep pen. They were working in the shade but Alec still managed to get a bit of a tan from the welding torch 😉
Molly worked on a few different projects throughout the week. First, sweeping out the sheep pen and collecting the pellets for fertilizer. Then using that fertilizer to plant a total of 15 papaya trees down by the lake. One day we did a sweep around the property to make sure there were no holes for sheep to escape. After that it was collecting bricks from different area’s around the farm, to use for a pavement in the new sheep shelter. Lots of variety and soaking up plenty of sunshine.
Tosh and Dawn would cook us a delicious lunch at 12:30 and dinner at 6… other than that the rest of the day was ours to do what we pleased. This meant a lot of time spent swinging in the hammocks, chatting with our fellow volunteers, and lots and lots of games.
Two of the afternoons we went to the village school to hangout with some of the school kids. We played games and sang songs… practiced phrases in English. The teachers were excited to have native english speakers hanging out. We had a blast.
The time we spent at the farm was a really cool way to see a different side of Thailand. We would have never ventured that far into the countryside on our own, and we learned so much about village life and farming from getting to chat with Tosh and Dawn.
We left our work away with two of our fellow volunteers, Tahel and Bailey.
We took the 2.5 hour hit train ride to Ayutthaya to spend a few hours exploring what used to be the capital of Siam. Our first priorities upon arrival were food and finding a place for our packs so we didn’t have to carry them around the whole afternoon. Once our stomachs were full and our backs empty we headed off to find town center!
We caught a tuk tuk a few miles in to check out some of the ruins of palaces and temples dating back 700 years. We spent the day wandering between different ruins, the occasional park, and 7-eleven. Walking among the brick remnants that had been standing in these places for so long was quite an incredible thing.
One of the famous landmarks in Ayutthaya is the Buddha head in the tree. No one knows where the body went, but the head is in a perpetual rooted state, and it’s pretty impressive.
We went back to the hostel where we had left our bags, had dinner and said our goodbyes! Bailey and Tahel stayed to catch their overnight train to Chiang Mai, while we headed onward to Bangkok.
We planned a few days to spend in Bangkok before we caught our flight to England. The majority of our time was spent walking around… from a massive shopping mall to the Grand Palace and a load of other temples.
We ate food from the market vendors in China Town and watched lizards slip into the canal as we strode past. Our final evening, a Monday night, we visited Khao San Road. Even on a Monday it was brimming with activity. Excited backpackers and families on holiday, street vendors and blaring music to complete the picture. We enjoyed our final dinner of Thai Curry and a delicious fruit shake before setting back to our hostel.
We will never drink coconut water the same, and have a whole new appreciation for dry climates…. thanks Thailand 😉