Chiang Mai and Trekking

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
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Trip End Oct 02, 2005


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Sunday, October 10, 2004

We left the Bangkok at the unearthly hour of 4.30 am in order to catch a connecting flight up to Chiang Mai. Finally out of the red hot and smoggy Bangkok it was up to the slightly (but not much cooler) Chiang Mai. We were picked up at the airport by Eagle House Hostel (a friend of Sarah's knows the owners so we were in safe hands). We had a cracking double room with en-suite facilities, however we still have to get used to the Thai method of using the toilet. A plastic buket with a pan shaped implement used to clean your nether regions after you have been. Andrex hasn't caught on up here yet.
The first day took used roaming around the city. We found our legs after walking aroung Bangkok so this place was a breeze. The city is surrounded by a wall wherein there are numerous Temples and Chedi's. Some Thais live in real run down shacks yet there is always money to be found to lavish upon these Temples. We visited the Sunday Market running from TaePae Gate and had a street massage. Doesnt half sort you out. The next day we decided to book ahead and organise a 3 day trek through the Jungle of northern thailand. This is where we see if the money we paid for all those lovely injections pays off. We covered the trek over the 12th, 13th, and 14th of October. We were on the trip with a family of 3 from the states, John, Kaleb and Megan and a brother and sister combo also from the states, Turner and Emily. Eagle house gave us the following itinery to which a few things have been added by me:-

DAY 1: Depart 8.30 am sharp by truck from Chiang Mai. Drive and stop at a bustling local market

(to buy food for the next 3 days).

Drive one hour to visit a Buddhist cave with huge caverns, stalacmites and stalactites

(and also lots of bats which left Sarah with a parting gift by poo-ing on her. Twice).

Drive to a Hmong / Meo Hilltribe village. Lunch. Drive to a Karen Hilltribe village. Then its Elephant riding two hours through gushing rivers and up mountain trails.

(We also got to feed them. Even threw longons (a fruit) in front of the elephants and they sped up to chase them).

Walk half an hour

(through leech infested waters, which decided not to bother us I'm glad to say)

and overnight with Karen Hilltribe.

(where we slept in bamboo huts and ate bamboo worms, which were slightly crunchy with a soft centre. Sarah wasn't too keen. The hill tribe kids didnt know much english and constantly said "sing-a-song" so we sang happy birthday to one of the guys on our trip, and they knew the words. They even knew who David Beckham and Michael Owen were. And we are in the middle of no-where here!)

DAY 2: Walk two hours

(More like 3 and all uphill).

Lunch. Walk two and a half hours

(Once again mainly uphill then practically down a 90 degree slope for 30 mins)

to overnight with Karen Hilltribe in their village or their raft camp.

(Where the tribesman collared my knife and proceeded to shave with it. Also we played a camp game. Please note that if you step on money you are stepping on the king in Thailand. We played a game which involved putting coins in-between our bum cheeks and dropping them in a bowl. Dont know what message that sends out.)

DAY 3:Exciting bamboo rafting two hours on the Mae Cheam River

(magnificent, I had a go steering and the bamboo stick used to steer kept breaking against the rocks. Also Turner got taken out by a riverside tree but luckily stayed on the raft).

Lunch

(at a roadside cafe we had pad thai, and saw a traditional funeral procession going by).

Drive to a magnificent waterfall for swimming

(which was not allowed but we did it anyway).

Drive to the top of Doi Inthanon mountain for a view of the whole of Thailand. Return 7 pm. to Eagle House.

.......and to their credit it was stuck to! It was a magnificent experience all round. (www.eaglehouse.com)If we come back to Chiang Mai we'll do this again. Well worth every penny.
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