Published: January 5th 2008December 24th 2007
With a sigh of relief we got out of Bangkok - a city that's just far to hectic and polluted for our liking. Got a pretty uneventful sleeper train to Chiang Mai and from the second we stepped of that train we knew that this city was going to beat Bangkok by leaps and bounds. For starters the temperature was far nicer, the air much cleaner, the streets less smelly and best of all the taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers no where near as annoying!
After settling into our lovely rooms we headed off to look around the town for somewhere nice to eat. Two hours later and after a lot of head scratching we finally found something that resembled the town centre. I think even the people that lived there weren't sure where the town centre was! Headed to the famous night market that night which is just streets and streets of people selling clothes, watches, jewellry and other souvenirs. We were there for about 3 hours and we still only saw a fraction of it!
The next day we set off for our trek, 2 hour drive to the drop of point which was interesting for a number of reasons, mainly because our driver was holding a baby in his arms while driving, and the scary thing? He was actually driving a lot better then some of the other cars we had been in. Met our guides, Mr. Song and Mango, two lovely guys one of which had a huge knife which I couldn't decide if it was a good thing or not. What kind of animals are in this jungle exactly? (Apparently tigers, but it's the smaller things we should be worrying about like black widows and snakes - nice)
The trek started nice and easy (that's how they get you!), walked for about half and hour through rivers and sand, all very lovely and pretty. Got a bit tougher after that, 75 degree angles are no fun in that type of heat. I don't need to tell you how out of breath and red in the face we all were! Stopped off for lunch in a wee bamboo hut where we were fed rice and bananas just of the tree - all very nice! Started off again and more sweating and moaning ensued but we made it to our "hotel" in the end. Not the comfiest mat I've slept on or the warmest room (why did we not listen to the organisers when they said to bring a heavy jumper! I think we may have even laughed about how Thai people just weren't used to the cold. What fools were we!!) but the little village was gorgeous. If the odd motorbike and satellite dish could be ignored you'd think you were in an untouched part of Thailand!
Next day there was more trekking but a lot easier, only about half an hour of angles that I don't like! Stayed in little huts that night at a beautiful waterfall, nice and refreshing! The next day was the grand finale, went bamboo rafting which was great craic and then we got to ride the elephants! Yaaaay! Pretty scary at first, they're quite large animals in case you need to be reminded, and they're walking over uneven terrain. Once you got used to it it was great but god help you if run out of bamboo or bananas to feed them!