Northern Thailand Trekking

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October 14th 2011
Published: August 9th 2017
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Geo: 18.8, 98.98

This story begins in a land far far away, Krabi, as we were bundled in to the bus bound for Bangkok in a hidden bus stop amongst the trees, giving the feel that we were outcasts never to been seen. We arrived with no issues to Koh San Rd a bit before 6 and grabbed some accommodation and caught up on the lost sleep only to wake around 12.30, but we weren't planning on doing anything that day, besides watch New Zealand win in the rugby.
The next day we had bought tickets to Chiang Mai on our 3rd 12hr overnight bus in one week. We consider ourselves lucky to have caught our bus on time.
We knew there were floods but thought nothing of it, but Chiang Mai and surrounding areas had been hit hard with 2 weeks of rain and floods terminating bus and train services. I was waiting for Anna outside the room when I spoke briefly to an American who told us that the area was flooded so we went to the place where we booked the tickets to see if the service was still running and he told us that the bus was leaving one hour earlier as it was taking a diverted and longer route. So we were lucky to run in to that guy, otherwise we probably would have missed the bus.
Before we had to go back to the bank and pick up my bank card, safe and sound and crisis averted. We were eventually on the bus after a bit of waiting around. It was quite uncomfortable but we were all able to stay in a guest house for 200 baht per night which is pretty good.
First impressions after having a small walk around is that Chiang Mai seems to be a town where everything is based around it and nothing really in town itself. You have trekking, tiger kingdom, water rafting, bike riding etc. There are a few nice temples scattered around the town itself but it's nothing special I thought. We spent the rest of the day sorting out our Vietnam Visas and checking out a few temples, but mostly relaxing as the next few days were going to be more active.

We booked a trek through our accommodation that was for two days and one night that included a range of activities, but when we finished we realized that after looking at what we were meant to do that we had only done half.
So we set off at 9am, and after picking up a French couple, Julien and Valerie, we were headed north for the hills of northern Thailand. I can say now that this area is so beautiful and I instantly loved the landscape and surrounds. Lush green jungle, small villages, rice paddy fields, small rivers and hilly. It is a region that is very sustainable, where many things are grown here such as bananas, rice, pineapple, papaya, coffee and tea and even oranges. The jungle is thick with vegetation ranging from banana trees to bamboo and massive hundred year old trees.
Our guide was very nice and polite and did his best to explain different things along the way.

Our fist stop was for Julien and Valerie as they had chosen to see one of the long neck hill tribes, so we had to wait around for about 20 min while they checked it out, relaxing on a bamboo hammock that I am now convinced as soon as we settle I will try and make myself, it seems so simple though!
We were soon continuing up the road to the elephant riding place which is also a camp for elephant washing and mahout (the driver of the elephant) camp, which is also popular around the area of Northern Thailand.
They had quite a few elephants there, including a young one. The ride was really nice but short and we were sitting on a seat rather that on the elephant itself.
We had a bite to eat for lunch and then hopped on the back of a car up the hill to start our trek.
The trek was for about 3 hours through some beautiful jungle, it was really hot work though, but at the end of the trek was a dip in a waterfall, but by the time we got there the temperature had cooled a bit so it wasn't as refreshing as hoped, but nice.

Just up from the waterfall was our accommodation for the night which was a basic wooden hut, mosquito net provided. Already there was another French couple, so I found myself out numbered. That night we had a nice dinner and turned in early.
The next morning took a while to get going and by 10am all six of us walked together for a little bit before the 2nd French couple diverted and we continued to a small village for some lunch. But again we waited for quite sometime to be picked up for white water rafting. We said our goodbyes to Julien and Valerie as they were doing an extra night, and hopped in the car, with yet another French couple, towards the white water rafting.
We got to the white water rafting full of energy and excitement. I had never done it before and I was keen for the thrill. We had a really cool and funny instructor who just laughed and made jokes. Again I was so immersed in the landscape and surroundings. Here we were, floating on a river, flanked by hills with thick jungle. I even saw and elephant rummaging through the vegetation.
The white water rafting was great fun, not too big for a first time, even though the recent floods had added to the water volume a touch. Afterwards we transferred on to a bamboo raft for a little bit before finishing.
We then picked up the 2nd French couple on the way back to Chiang Mai by 6pm.

It had been an amazing few days and I loved every moment of it. I really loved this area of Thailand and it has showed because we ended up staying an extra 4 nights.
There is much to see and do, Chaing Mai is a good base. I definitely recommend this area.

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30th October 2011

How cool are elephants

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