Published: August 28th 2007August 28th 2007
At the Waterfall
On the way up to the hill tribes.
So the night we arrived in Chiang Mai we all decided to sample some Muay Thai Boxing at one of the local stadiums. I think some of us enjoyed it more than others! The stadium happens to be in the seediest part of town down a back alley. It turned out to be fine though and we saw six fights, each getting progressively more fierce than the last. The next morning we were up to begin our trecking. We stopped in a market on the way to sample some local delicacies (I think mine was a locust - tastes very salty!) and then went on to swim in a waterfall.
As you can see in the picture, the girls didn't fare too well with the dress code, having to cover up due to local culture. The waterfall was amazing though. It must have been over 100ft high and came down so hard it was practically unbearable to walk under. It was freezing too at first but somehow warmed up? The first incident happened on the way back, with the Japanese girl on our trip (the only non-English speaking person) slipped on the wet rocks and ended up needing 4 stitches
in her head. She was fine in the end but I don't think it made the trip all to comfortable for her....I take that back, second incident, Emma managed to leave her camera in the taxi on the way to the train station in Bangkok much to her dispair (we would later find out that this type of thing happens to her alot!)
That afternoon we started the walking, doing four hours over the slipperiest and muddiest terain to the first village. On the way we all had leaf hats fashioned for us (so many pics, so little space!) and took in the amazing views from the walk. When we arrived at the village we met the local monkey that had been orphaned somehow and the villagers were looking after him (though I think he's off to the zoo soon). He was really friendly and loved to sit on your hand. After that we showered in the stream ready for the evening. Being in the mountains, accomodation was basic with all 11 of us sharing a Big Brother esque room which turned out to be really fun and we certainly missed the games and chatting when we were back
Not really fancy dress!
All the girls had to wear these to swim because of Thai customs.
on our own afterwards.
We had food cooked for us that night and ate by candle light due to the lack of electricity, all very romantic. Afterwards we played some games, one involving puzzles and matchsticks and the other was too complicated to explain but ended up with you getting black smeared across your face from the cooking pots if you went wrong! Some people did well and others, like one of the locals weren't so good and ended up only recognisable when they smiled!
We were up the next morning ready for our four hour hike that day. Again the scenery was amazing and some of the hills we had to walk up were amazingly brutal! At the bottom of one being the first mountain crab I have ever seen, it was really bizzare and pretty angry at being disturbed. It wasn't the easiest walking we've ever done, especially in the heat but it was very rewarding at the end to descend down the side of a valley and to see the elephant camp at the bottom. We had lunch here whilst watching one of the elephants playing in the stream and then watched it being washed.
After lunch we rode the elephants the rest of the way to that nights village and it was definately a memorable journey! We were lucky enough to get the mother of the baby elephant of the group but this did become a pain every time the baby wanted to feed. We were also persued by the presumed father with Rob on his own on the back. His elephant was the least well behaved, constantly throwing mud at him and running off the track into the jungle where he was hit by tree branches constantly. It then kicked the baby and tried to push it off one of the paths down the hillside. At one point we were overtaken by his elephant and we spent the entire rest of the journey with ours trying to get its place back (we did in the end) and sulking every time it failed.
When we arrived at the village it started to pour down with rain but in spite of this we went to the school where we played football with the locals. Not easy in sandals and too stony in bare feet (I cut my foot and had to stop). After that
we went to wash in the river though it was very brown. That evening we followed up the last nights games with a game of 'Bing, Bang, Bong'. Again tricky to explain, but again black from the pans came into it and resulted in the picture you can see. The following morning we rafted back down river to the start to head back to Chiang Mai, We used bamboo rafts and it was so much fun. Thankfully we got the best guides and navigated the 3 hour journey safely, I even got a go at using the bamboo poles to punt along. Not as difficult as it sounds though. But like I said, we were lucky, the other raft boasting the most experienced guide managed to hit a rock and sent everyone into the water and got a few bags wet at the same time. We all made it down safely though and took a songathew for the remaining two hours back to Chiang Mai.
That night we went out for a meal with the guides who I forgot to mention were called 'Rambo' and "Wit' and were very cool. We had a few drinks and a game of
pool and ended up with one guy in hospital...
...I wouldn't end there, he was bitten by something and extremely sunburnt and his foot swelled up a lot. He is better now though after a course of antibiotics!
There are more photos below