Hilltribe Village, Thailand

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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Hangin' with the Tribe

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

A few years ago, we visited a hill tribe village just outside of Chiang Khong in Northern Thailand on the Mekong River bordering Laos. We marked the location on our GPS and wanted to return.  On our previous visit, Billy took many photos of the locals there.

We were intent to come back to this same village and show them, via our computer, the photos of their village and its people from the years' past.

At 55, we are still spry enough to hop rides in the back of pick up trucks going in our direction.

Off to the village!


This is a typical village wooden hut or house. Although there is now running water available to the village, most homes will not have inside plumbing. The top of the roof is changed each year and is made from palm tree fronds attached to a Bamboo stick which they overlap to create a seamless type of roof covering. The walls are thatched also, but from wider bamboo tubes which are cut and flattened out.

Notice the flower pot out front which adorns the entranceway. Very welcoming!


Hill tribe people are generally quite friendly and open. Here, the woman was roasting a sort of seed or local nut in the fire in front of her. She would poke around for the shells and munch them straight from the fire.

The fencing is made from split bamboo.

When we walk through villages such as this one, and meet the villagers themselves, it brings to mind how 'stuff' doesn't make us happy. Relationships, community and health seem far more important.


Western clothing has typically replaced their tribal costumes. This man was pleased to pose for us to take his photo.


Hill tribes are called such because their homes are built up into the hills! The jungle creeps back into any area they have cleared in building their huts, weighing heavily on fencing.

The mango tree on the left there is budding with a dozen green mangos. On the front porch you will see two flags. The yellow one represents the Kingdom of Thailand, yellow being the King's color. The red, white and blue flag is for the country of Thailand. The Thais are very proud of their country.

Here's a question for you: Do you think these people are concerned about their financial portfolios?


This is Phun and his wife who are from Laos. Fairly new to the village, they were not there when we first came to visit 5 years ago. Phun spoke English and was eager to invite us into their front living area.

He opened up the bamboo fencing and his wife cleared off the bamboo matting for us to sit, and quickly gave us cold glasses of water!

We asked if they had electricity, and when they produced an extension cord we then showed them the photos from the years' previous visit. They recognized many of the people in the pictures and were both amazed and delighted!


Another family just up the road waved to us and invited us into their 'front room'.  Eager to see the photos, they, too, produced an extension cord and we proceeded to show them pictures of their neighbors.

Notice the bamboo wall weaving behind the family. This gives you a good look at how the walls of their homes are made.


A neighbor man (in the red shirt), father to the young boy in front, was eager to join in on the fun. The little boy was immensely curious about our digital camera and the computer's buttons. You could see lots of intelligence in these people's eyes.


This is the view from the family's hut. It looks out over a good portion of the village.


Another typical hut built lower to the ground. Bamboo is used for 'everything,' since it is prolific. Actually a woody grass and not a tree, bamboo will mature in 3-5 years after planting.


This village elder is making the roof thatching I spoke about earlier. She will sell it in town, or to neighbors or barter for something she or her family needs. We asked about electricity here, but she is pointing to across the road.


Aaaaahh... finally a larger scale audience. This is the sundry store in the village. It sells ice cream, milk, batteries and other necessities. There is a small bank of computers in the back to the right, and a color television for watching futbol and other sports just behind Billy.

Billy is just setting up the computer here now. Interest gathers!


The woman pointing to a photo on the computer recognizes her father! She is the shop owner. People gather 'round for the free entertainment.


The shop owner an isn't as shy as some of the other locals. She is pointing out some of the other neighbors she also recognizes.


This is one of the photos from 5 years past. It was a Sunday, and the women prepared a full luncheon for the kids. Notice the young boy in front with the tan elephant tee shirt on and his hands in loose fists...


Billy now shows him the photo of him when he was 5 years younger. (The young boy with the tan elephant tee shirt) Chances are good that he has never seen a photo of himself as a child before.


The crowd continues to gather inside the store as everyone wants to see people they knew or perhaps catch themselves in the photo collection.


Locals are very pleased with the show! Again, notice that western clothing has replaced the colorful hill tribe costumes they used to wear.


We hop another truck ride back into town. We are staying in an ancient Thai teak home on the Mekong River between Chiang Khong and the Laotian border. There are lovely river views and the life is strikingly peaceful.

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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