3 Day/2 Night Trekking

Mae Rim Travel Blog

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After finding ourselves (Kenji and I) a reasonable travel agent, the sales agent at Agape Tours generously gave us a huge discounts (after a bit of haggling, and telling my life story in Vietscam).

In the morning we dropped our big bags off at the travel agent and set off on our 3 day/2 night trekking tour, up in the north around Samerng. We hopped into a mini Sawntheaw, and met a Japanese couple, Hatsumi and her partner. We then went to pick up the rest of the tour group, Martin from Switzerland, a Polish couple (forgot their names), and a mother and daughter from Brazil, Sarah and Eloisa.

Our first stop was a local market, where we bought some simple supplies, and then we drove some more to stop at a Hmong Village. The Hmong village was very quiet, but we enjoyed the mountain scenery and saw some not so traditional Hmong houses.
With tourists, and modernization most of the houses in the area have changed.

We got dropped off further up the mountain and then started a 1 1/2 hour hike through the mountainous countryside. The journey was amazing, much better than the hikes I did up in Sapa in Vietscam, however Vietscam Sapa had beautiful rice paddy fields but the whole trek was out in the open. The trek in Samerng area was all through bushes and so fourth.

Along the way we stopped at one of the hilltribe villages, the Karen. It was a very small village, but we stopped for a breather, a drink and of course a toilet break, or as our tour guide (need to get the tour guides name from Kenji) called it, "the happy room". After about 30 minutes we continued on with our trek to our base camp.

As we entered the village it was entertaining to see the little children chasing after some very ugly looking piglets. We were literally living as the locals, in our dormitory like shack. We all chose our matresses and settled in.

As the tour guide and the locals were preparing our meals, we toured around the village and sat around the bon-fire. It was dark by the time the food was ready, as we gathered around the commune table and had a sizeable feast.

Sitting around the bon-fire, our tour guide was trying to get everyone to sing along as he played his guitar. After all his effort, and all his talent in playing the few tunes he knew, he was out of luck as out of the whole group, NO ONE knew how to sing. LOL.

After failing to persuade people to sing, he asked if anyone had any cards and to play a game.
I of course had a pack, stashed away in my backpack and I pulled it out. The so called game that he was "teaching" everyone to play was the children's game Go-Fish, that we all used to play when we were little kids.

However to make it more interesting, the winner had the opportunity to swipe some charcoal from the frying pan and draw on the losers face. It was all full of fun and laughter. Throughout the night Hatsumi was trying to get out of the game because she was losing so much. By the end of the night Hatsumi had the most charcoal smears on her face, covering pretty much every part of her face. Every single person except me! yes except me had at least one smear on their face. I'll post the picture of the group when I get back home :) There were panda bears, pirates, cowboys, and of course poor Hatsumi! IT WAS SO COLD AT THIS VILLAGE!!!

The following mroning, we thanked the locals and continued our journey into the wilderness.
It was only a 30 minute trek before we arrived at one of the elephant camps, where we went on an elephant ride for about an hour. That hour was god damn quick. The elephants went through the bush, through rivers and streams and it was amazing. Luckily Kenji and I were leading out front on the biggest elephant, while the Polish couple was behind and suffered many smelly elephant farts! The elephants were very intelligent creatures as it knew the 1 hour path through the bush and through the streams without any mohout in front leading him.

After the elephant ride we trekked for a further 1 hour before splitting with the rest of the group. Originally the Japanese couple were also planning on a 3 day/2 night trek, however since they had very little time they decided to change their tour so they could go see the Long Neck Karens.
So it was just Kenji and I who continue deeper into the wilderness, whilst everyone headed back to town.

We stopped off at another Karen village for lunch, after trekking for about 30 minutes. At the Karen village we witnessed many daily life things such as; weaving, basket making, roof making, moving a giant tree log (Kenji and I helped a bit before we were called for lunch) and of course the simple life of taking it easy and just watching the clouds go by.

After lunch Kenji and I wandered around the village and stumbled upon a Kindergarten which had a good 30 kids doing what kids do best, mucking around. We were invited into the room by the kids, and while we were there the teacher seemed to take it easy and just sat in the corner and relaxing, as we drew pictures and mucked around with the kids.
Some of them were very eagered to learn, and were showing off their little translating skills from Thai to English. We were there for probably an hour before our tour guide recommended that we continued our journey to our camp at the base of the waterfall.

We continued our hike and passed two deserted camps, before arriving at our camp. We were going to go for a swim, since we didn't bathe the day before, however as we arrived, I sort of did not want to as the water was dead set dirty. The toilets plumbing nearby also went through to the river, so I can only imagine that the 2 other camps we pasted upstream would be the same. I washed my shoes in the water and I was glad I didn't jump in as it was FREEEEEZING!

That night we played a game called shithead, and at the start I kept on losing LOL.
. I guess I used up all my luck the night before with Go-Fish. To our surprise, it wasn't that cold even through we were at the base of the waterfall. We slept well considering we had heaps of layers of blankets, well I piled 14 layers! The sleep was amazing, as I slept with the frogs croaking and the waterfall splashing... back to nature...

The following morning, we took our time as the only destination was the bamboo rafting and then home sweet home, Chiang Mai. We walked to for a while, till we reached a Jungle 7-Eleven. It isn't really a 7-Eleven, but just a simple hut that sold cold drinks, smokes and other minor things.

The Shan village we passed wasn't all too great as they have already assimilated and the houses all look "Thai". The Shans are originally from Myanmar, however the word Shan is a corrupt alteration of Siam that the Burmese labeled the Siamese back in the days.

Bamboo Rafting was awesome!!!!!... unfortunately I didn't dare bring my camera because after hearing stories of being splashed by the locals on the river, I could not afford to lose another camera. But I sure wish I had a waterproof camera, sigh. The journey was fairly peaceful, until we reached the minor rapids and of course other tourists, it wasn't the tourists that was the probably it was the damn bamboo raft rowers who were splahing everyone and starting a waterfight!

The journey lasted for an hour, before coming to an abrumpt end, where we jumped on a Sawntheaw and headed back to Chiang Mai. We were very lucky with this tour as throughout our journey we did not bump into any other tourists, besides the central bamboo rafting area. We were also thankful as we saw some other tourists just riding the elephant through the all so modern Shan villages, and the not so interesting main road, compared to our elephant ride in the bush, and through streams.

That night we settled into a guesthouse, and then visited the Night Bazaar. The Night Bazaar was HUGE! Kenji saw some red lights moving high up in the sky and was like what are they.... missiles??... in the end after much curiosity we realised that it was just candles and a big paper balloon LOL LOL.
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Mae Rim
photo by: droonsta