Chang Mai Trek

Although it was going to be a short trip to Thailand we tried to fit in as much whole goodness as possible in the 5 days available……so…..after a good nights sleep from downhill mountain biking and cooking it was time for us to set off on our 2 day/1 night trek into the high hill jungles of Chang Mai.

It was going to be very exciting….

The first part of the trip involved being picked up in an old pick-up van and taken to a crappy market to buy essential things like bottle water carriers and pig bums???(You’ll have to look at the pics later). The journey almost left a couple of the group behind after the hinge on the door mysteriously opened….

There was around 10 of us, some French, some Chilean and some English (i.e. us). It was probably the first time that we’ve been in the minority but made the best of the situation. It didn’t stop Rach from practicing her French which was quite enjoyable for me.

After an hours drive, we bailed out and boarded the Elephant river express. It was a very amusing experience…..we got to feed it bananas, and as we did it seemed to work much better. As soon as we ran out though, the elephant went on strike and stalled half way up a steep hill….causing total grid lock. It was a real tourist trap and we both felt a little guilty afterwards but saying that the elephants looked in good shape. We sat down for lunch which believe it or not was rice. The group all got on well and the ice had been broken. It was now time for the hard trek up hill to the hill village through the jungle. We were ready…….or so we thought.

Looking at the group, it became obvious that we were in the top 3 oldest and that the whipper snapper’s were leading the chase. The humidity was a real problem. Sweat was streaming and my pants were soggy too but we soldiered on and made it to the hill tribe village where we could shower and prepare for the evenings food and entertainment and watch the sun set with a cold beer. The villagers were very friendly and offered us massages at the price of about 3 pounds…..this however was only for 30 minutes but what the heck, it doesn’t get much better than this. The food was delicious and our guide who was called Nam, got on his guitar and played a traditional song called DA DA DA DA TA TUM which had us all singing along. A couple of us also chipped in with a few songs and that helped make the local whiskey go down a treat. The night sky was absolutely clear and the stars were like diamonds which made this a very special night. The bedroom was just a bamboo hut with mattresses but very comfy.

We arose early, had breakfast, and set of on our way down hill to where we would be doing rafting. The jungle trekking was interesting. The trees had vines hanging so I quickly did a Tarzan impression and collided with a tree, ouch….there were fallen tree trunks, slippery slopes, all which had to be combated…..tsome of the slopes I found easier sliding on my bum……his was not a trek for the beginner. Along the way we stopped off at a beautiful water fall. Rach and I decided it would be a good time to swim in the ice cold water… was very refreshing.

A few hours later and we arrived at the place where the rafting was going to happen. It as however out of season as the river was low but we tried our best. We kited up. 6 in a raft plus the skipper who shouted the orders….this was important because it took all our effort to get the thing to move over the first rock. But once we’d freed we went down the rapids at high velocity….or maybe it was at low velocity…….I know we’ll be doing this again in New Zealand and hopefully it will be more scary than the Teapot ride at Light Water valley. It was still good fun because we were racing the other raft with the young lads in it. We won, but for our victory we got thrown out at the end. To finish the day we did a slow cruise down the shallow part of the river on a bamboo raft with a pole…..Lunch was included and what??? RICE again.

If anyone wants to do the trekking I would definitely say do it….great value, about 25 pounds each and a good way to keep fit. Make sure you have good shoes though. Not like the guy who did it in flip-flops and mangled his toe….


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