Trekking it up in Chiang Mai

Trip Start Jun 17, 2007
Trip End Sep 16, 2007

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Arrived in Chiang Mai after a 14 hr train journey on which the amount of sleep I experienced was little to none, I'm sure. The train was nice enough though, but I had the top bunk and was clinging to the side to ensure I didn't fall out!

Sleeper Train

We were met at the station by our tour guides who took us back to the hostel and we immediately went for a walk into the city, which was like Bangkok on a smaller scale, and therefore much more pleasant. Every second shop was a tourist agency or a continental food outlet though, and as there was nothing much more than that, and as it was boiling we headed back to the hostel to cool off in the pool, which was awesome. We had a trekking meeting with our group - there was 10 of us and went off to pack for the next three days (way too much I'm sure... it was bloody heavy!)

The next day we left just after 9, travelled for an hour to a local market for a last glimpse of civilisation and the chance to sample an astounding variety of fruit.

Dragonfruit Galore Matt tucking in

"Do you know where you are? You're in the jungle baby!"It was absolutely roasting when we got out - we were all sweating before we left.We walked for about half an hour at first, through small rivers and sand mostly, until we reached a small farm, with lots of cows, wild pigs and chickens, where we ate lunch and had jackfruit for dessert which tasted like bubblegum!

Trekking Cattle in the jungle All about the walking

The afternoon walk was tiring in the blistering heat as we ascended the hills up to the village where we would stay the night. The trip was broken up by Jo-Jo and Joshua making leaf hats, Robin Hood stylee for people, smearing dyes all over our faces and with general singing and erm... Thai banter?!

Face painting Mmm nice hats

We stopped to cool off at a few streams along the way...

Cooling off Stream Stream

...and ran through a waterfall just before the village which acted as a pretty good shower!

Amazed by the waterfall Having a good wash

At the village we were all staying in a big bamboo hut under the stars - it was awesome.

Our Digs Hillside village

Jo-Jo and Joshua, our guides, cooked for us - Thai Green curry - and we ate by candle light and firefly light outside. After tea, they taught us how to count to ten in Thai and they taught us a little song to remember it by, and then we listened to Westlife on Jo-Jo's phone before going to bed, haha!

There was a rude awakening at 4 am (not even light!) from the village cockerels (how rude), and after brekkie we set off for another full day of walking. Early in the morning we reached the peak of the hill and got to look out over the valley to the other hills whilst taking a well-earnt break...!

View Well earnt break

And down onto the banana plantations and rice paddies below...

Banana Plantations Snack Time Rice paddy

The walking was broken up somewhat randomly by appearance of a blood red dirt football pitch on the hillside (complete with ball and all!) where we stopped for a bit of a kickabout before lunch. After lunch the trail we took allowed us a clear view into the valleys and the villages below - it was really nice to be able to see over everything after struggling to climb it! Whilst on the trails, Jo-Jo would climb trees to pick us jungle fruit which always had a really strong if sometimes completely discernable taste!

Footy! Termite Mound Arty Trees

After a hard days trekking we descended to a large waterfall and the huts beyond where we were to spend the night. We soon found out the waterfall was our shower (pleasant surprise) and bathed merrily in it until tea time - Thai yellow curry!

Lets get wet! Behind the waterfall Waterfall

Then we played more games after tea, which ended up with everyone having charcoal on their faces... trying to wash it off in the river, and loosing the soap downstream... Jo-Jo jumping in after it fully clothed... leaving Rob with a completely black face! Haha.

Fuzzy duck Night 2 Accom Fuzzy duck aftermath

Anyway, I woke up to the incessant yet soothing sound of the waterfall in the morning and hopped in for a bit of a dip before we headed further down the hill through the jungle.

The terrain was rice paddies, and well, more rice paddies!

Kids... Fuzzy duck aftermath

After lunch we first went bamboo rafting, which quickly descended into splashing chaos, trying to capsize the other rafts, and Lucy rugby tackling the guy steering our boat into the water within the first two minutes!

It was a tad precarious and we ended up crashing into several rocks and experiencing overflow on the raft! However, at least our raft didn't get completely jammed and torn up like one of the other groups! Whilst we were waiting for them, we climbed up the rockside and free-falled into the deep water which was amazo!

Rafting skills We made it!

Completely drenched, we dried off on top of the elephants - Lucy and I riding a baby one which was pretty tempremental, stopping to eat every two minutes and then suddenly galloping off at the drop of a hat. Stupidly, I underestimated the capacity of the sun and ended up with sunburnt knees! I wouldn't reccommend the elephant as a mode of transport - extremely bumpy and getting nowhere fast (much like the Thai sleeper trains..?).

You can stand under my... Hello Feeding time

Anyway, as a parting of ways, the elephants were led to watering holes to wash themselves and get a drink, which resulted in them also washing us, in their manky water, which was lovely! We then got off swiftly and fed them the remains of our lunch which they rapidly devoured.

Mmm, splashing imminent Wash time

It was one and a half hours back to Chiang Mai and quite disappointing to be back in the city really - it was like a dream being in the jungle for 3 days, breathing real air, sleeping under the stars and not seeing cars or hardly any people. Completely removed from Bangkok, it was like a new world - it was awesome, we all had such a great time - shame we had to get the night train back to Bangkok that night and leave everyone behind at the hotel.

My memory card appears to have eaten most of my photos unfortunately (gutted!) so I only have a few from the last day of Chiang Mai... however Lucy my magic hero has come to my aid and sent me her photos now, so everything's fine and dandy!
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
BMP Guesthouse


lizallen on

Great description
We all enjoyed reading about your trek - especially the bit about the baby elephant!



lizallen on

Hello Tranny

I am glad you are having fun. I have convinced Mum to abandon horse riding and take up elephant riding instead. She thinks she isn't big enough to get on an elephant but I've persuaded her otherwise.

Have you got me lots of presents, i.e. a mail-order bride?

xxx Mark

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