First day of our trek and staying the night in a hill tribe!

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Luckily Wieteke came and knocked on my door in the morning because I didn’t hear my crappy alarm at all and would have slept right past the meeting time of 9:30am. I had a quick shower and finished packing since I had to check out for the two days I was going to be gone so someone else could stay in the room. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to eat so all I could do was pray that the bus stopped somewhere close to a food source on the way. At 9:30am on the dot a big tuk-tuk pulled up and the 12 of us from Julies piled in for the drive up to starting point of the trek. On the way we stopped at a gas station so I quickly ran in and got some food to go which consisted of yoghurt, milk, juice and sugus chews(amazing candies). Our second stop was an orchid/butterfly farm that really didn’t serve any function other than to waste time as there were hardly any butterflies and not many other than a few girls were interested in staring at hundreds and hundreds of different flowers. Once we finished up there we had a good hour or so drive up the side of a mountain until we eventually reached the starting point of the trek which was also where we had lunch and got to ride elephants. Lunch was nothing more than chicken fried rice but I was hungry so it didn’t matter as long as it filled my stomach. After lunch we got to ride the elephants for an hour which was a pretty interesting experience to say the least. For 20 baht(about 75 cents) you can get a big thing of bananas to feed your elephant but right as soon as the elephants see that you have bananas they immediately try to snatch them from you and a few of the people lost their whole bundle of bananas before they even got up on their elephant. I was lucky though and kept my bananas under my shirt and although they knew they were there, they had no way of getting them cus I’d run every time they stuck their trunk out. It was actually quite funny to watch everyone scamper away from the elephants trunks that kept trying to snatch the bananas. Wieteke and I shared an elephant since we had to get in pairs and after a lengthy process of watching everyone get up on their elephants, we finally got to climb onto ours. I gave Wieteke half the bundle of bananas so she could feed our elephant as well and it seemed like about every 5 feet or so the elephant would stick his trunk up looking for a banana. I couldn’t stop laughing about half way through the trek when she kept getting attacked by other elephants with their trunks trying to steal the bananas in her hand. They didn’t seem to bother me at all but always went for her and she would freak out and everyone would laugh. We spent about an hour or so riding the elephants before getting back and having to do final preparations for our 5 hour hike up the mountain side.

We set off around 11:30am or so and didn’t get to the hill tribe village on the top of the mountain till close to 5pm or so. I found the hiking fairly tough, especially close to the end when we were doing a lot of vertical hiking but luckily so did everyone else so I didn’t feel too bad. One guy gave up only an hour into the hike and had to be picked up by a motorcycle and taken to the top. It was only an extra 200 baht(roughly $7) to do this but the embarrassment was a much bigger cost for any of the others to swallow. I think if I hadn’t have spent the last 3 months working out and playing hockey, I probably wouldn’t have made it up as easy as I did as some really struggled at the end. I think the most annoying thing for me was the sweating, the sweat was just dripping off all of us the whole way up the mountain. I don’t even sweat that much when I play hockey, my clothes were drenched from head to toe. Once we got to the top we all had a much needed shower and had just over an hour to kill before supper so a bunch of us went and walked around the hill tribe village. We ended up running into some local kids and played with them until supper time as they seemed to love being around us.

For supper we had a mix of curry chicken and rice with another dish that I don’t remember and sat around in a circle singing songs that one of our tour guides played on his guitar. The rest of the night we spent getting to know each other in between singing songs and sharing stories. I met a couple from Wales that were sooo funny together, always cracking jokes about each other and bickering back and forth in a funny matter. I spent most of the night talking to them as we drank Lao Lao whisky and had Chang Beer. Our guides were awesome as well and would teach us Thai songs that we heard in bars including Do Ta Tum which was my favorite out of all the Thai songs I have heard. Eventually everyone started making their way to bed as most of us were pretty tired from the hike, I think we were all in bed by 1:30am or so.

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Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes