Trekking in the Thai Jungle
I took the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai, a 14 hour long journey with a lovely Puerto Ricon man travelling on his own. Upon arriving, myself and the two Canadian guys opposite where I was sleeping, were greeted by an energetic Thai guy with our names on a sign. We jumped in a safari vehicle and were taken through the busy streets of Chiang Mai to our Hostel ‘Baan Elephant Home”. I immediately booked onto a quad biking tour, little over my budget at $100AUD but it was well worth it. A full day of driving these awesome dirt bikes through the outback Thailand was just the kind of adventure I was up for.
I got the bike to myself and it didn’t take long to figure out how to ride it, I was making jumps by the end of the day. We stopped in at a local village, a community of descendants from China that had created their own language, one that is not understood by either Thai or Chinese people. The kids came out to play and were posing and giggling while I took their picture and were running after my bike as I drove away. We then drove up the mountain and walked down into the grasshopper cave. A sacred cave where a whole village of people took shelter for many months while they waited out the Japanese invasion of Thailand.
The following day started bright and early packing the last essential items into the smallest backpack in the world, for our trekking adventure through the forest mountains, rice fields and local villages of rural Chiang Mai. The trek started off quite perfectly as we had lunch, fried rice wrapped in a banana leaf with some fresh cut pineapple, by a beautiful waterfall.
We explored the waterfall a bit before beginning the hike. But all glamour would soon fade as we faced 3 hours of steep uphill climbing. Our brilliant guide “Nuki” was struggling the most saying “too much beer last night, oh too much beer”. We would later find out that this was his 40th day in a row trekking these mountains! We passed through a local village where we saw pigs tied up to peoples houses, this became more and more noticeable within the village, everyone has a pet pig!
We stumbled onto a sensational lagoon,I was the first to strip off and jump in. After a long swim we all continued onto our camp for the night which was a bamboo structure overlooking the rice fields.
Our hut was filled with small thin mattresses lined up next to each other with children’s pillows (banana in pajamas brand) and a mosquito net hanging from the ceiling. As soon as we sat down, Nuki brought out the esky/chillibin/cooler of Chang beer (6% alcahol)!
Our wonderful cook was busy preparing green chicken curry on her simple kitchen with no gas, electricity or running water.
After a delicious meal we retreated down to the campfire and continued drinking, sharing stories and playing the guitar
The next day was a bit rough but it was a short hike through the rice fields and onto elephant riding. Seeing the state the elephants were in, being used and abused for the tourism industry was enough to turn all of away away from riding them. Such a cruel sight where these animals were chained and beaten for the tourism trade, it was not something we were interested in supporting.
So we continued onto bamboo rafting, which after an awkward sleep on bamboo with little blanket to keep us warm the previous night, we were all up for. We leisurely sat on these bamboo rafts as we were guided down the river. It was so peaceful and relaxing, until the two English girls i was with decided they wanted to have a go at steering the raft. We almost stacked it into the river and the guide steering us could do nothing but laugh.
Tomorrow I help bath rescued elephants!