Today I went to Star Bucks to use the wireless internet but they were charging a fortune so canned that idea and since it was Sunday and Chinese New Year’s Day as well I walked the streets to check out the market stalls.
Today I booked into a tour of Dui Inthanon (a region north of Chiang Mai where the highest mountain in Thailand is found) The trip was pretty simple, we visited two water falls, grabbed lunch and then went to the kings temples (one for himself and one for his wife) and then went to the highest point in Thailand before returning home. The following pictures will describe the tour along with the beautiful gardens of the kings national park.
The past few days saw me depart on another trekking tour, this time with a more extreme twist, rappelling (abseiling down into a cave and climbing back up the ropes out) In order to do this me and the other tour members (two girls from Denmark) had to go through a training course. The course started in the afternoon on the 20th and we had to descend a climbing wall in
the middle of Chiang Mai.
I arrived a bit late as I was not expecting the tour to leave so early and I had only just returned from another tour of Dui Inthanon. I descended the wall pretty easily so the trainers didn’t think I needed any teaching for that. I climbed the rope 3 times in a row and they seemed pleased with that so I got out of doing it another 7 times like they first said. The other two girls unfortunately had to do it a lot more since they did not seem too comfortable.
By the time the training had finished it was about 10:30pm and I felt like I wanted to go out, the Denmark girls were tired and wanted to go to bed so they left and I went out. I first went to rooftop bar then by 2pm went to spicy bar. I met some cool people from England and partied till 6:30am. I realized I had better get some sleep so hurriedly went back to my guest house and got 2 hours sleep before the tour guides came to pick me up and head off to Pai (a region known
for it’s beauty and found in the northern most part of Thailand).
The trip to Pai was slow and windy and took about 6 hours. Once we arrived we were greeted by the local tribe which were very much secluded but still had electricity… Anyway after we handed out some treats and settled in the tour guides cooked us some local food then we sat up and drunk scotch and soda for hours till finally turning in. The night was so cold no one got much sleep but come breakfast time everyone was forced to get up and ready for our trek. The walk was all up hill and took a few hours till we got to the cave (which was more like a volcano) Only way in was by rope and the only way out - the same.
The local tribe members unloaded all the climbing gear (of which was a lot) and some supplies of water and food. Then we had a snack and got into our gear. The walk to the descent position was fairly short and before we knew it we were ready to setup. After some time preparing some local bees had located
us and must have found we had something they wanted (probably salt) for we were pestered by thousands and thousands of these little slightly bigger than a sand fly type insects crawling all over us (lucky for me I had purchased some insect repellant before leaving and that seemed to ward them away from me) Finally the setup was complete and time to descend. The two girls were first and I don’t blame them taking a long time to get down let along to the edge of the face as below them was 530 feet (or 200 meters - 2 football fields, 4 Olympic swimming pools) worth of free falling air.
Once it was my turn I didn’t really seem to be worried at all, I clipped in and was eager to get off to take some pictures. The guide only had to tell me to slow down a few times but the descent still took about 20-30minutes (I wasn’t timing) down the bottom it was like an unforgotten forest, The ground was like volcanic and in some places lots of powdery dust settled then in others thick muddy like soil with a thick growth of trees, vines, ferns
and other assorted plant life, I heard some noises but did not see any more than insects. After a break we had to change into our climbing gear and then proceeded to climb our way out of the cave.
The climb out took a long time but I have no idea how long it actually took since I was stopping frequently to adjust things, take pictures and just take in the experience. After we had all alighted from the volcano’s mouth we headed back to base camp and had a feast of simple noodles with egg and tofu, with some local food which was cooked in bamboo over a bed of coals.
The bamboo food was very interesting and I found out it consisted of locally grown black rice, coconut milk, some sugar and some salt and poured into the top of a bamboo stem then laid onto a bed of coals and cooked until the outside of the bamboo was charcoal. Then the outside charcoal was cut away and served, to open one only needed to peal back the bamboo husk and break away a piece of what was like sticky rice. It tasted subtle but sweet
after a while.
After heading back to the village we showered and boarded the van back to Chiang Mai. Once getting back to Chiang Mai at 10:30pm I checked into my room and got changed then went out to. On my way out I bumped into one of the tour guides from the guest house (a good friend named Tuy “Toohey”) Him and another tour guide named Tan wanted to come with me so we headed off only to bump into another couple of guys from France who wanted to come also. Tuy wanted to take us to some place so we followed but the place turned out to be a strip bar and I said I wanted to play pool so we changed direction and found a bar with a few pool tables. After a few games we desided it was time to find a club to have a dance and the time was not after 2am so we went to spicy but that didn’t seem too fun and was over crowded so we then jumped into a tuk tuk and went to V club.
After driving around in circles for a while finally the tuk tuk driver spoke to another driver and got the directions so we arrived around 3am. The place was a shock… last time I was there I thought it was cool and there were Thai and Europeans dancing but this time it seemed like a different place. When we arrived about 15 pretty Thai girls came running to us and took us by the arm into the club. At this stage I knew something was wrong.
There were girls dancing on the bar, I realized this was not a club tonight but something else. One of the guys spoke to one of the girls and found out they were selling their “time” (one would pay them to sit with them talk to them and who knows what else) so we finished our drinks fast and left. This time we decided to take a walk so we walked all the way back to spicy bar (this took us a little over an hour) by this time it was going on 5am.
I spent most of my time dancing in spicy and chatting to people, by the time I left it was daylight so i headed back to my guest house to go to bed.
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