Day trek outside Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Orchid Farm
Instead of doing a two or three day trek, which seems very popular around here, I decided for a one day trek where we'd do some hiking to a waterfall for swimming, elephant riding, white water rafting, bamboo rafting and a visit to a couple villages.

For 1,000 baht, I wasn't sure what to expect and since I was booking through a travel agency, I didn't have contact with the actual company prior to booking. After the tour, I still have no idea what the company name is. At the start of the morning, my expectations were set very low.

Our first stop was the "Mosquito Farm", as named by our guide. It ended up being a butterfly and orchid farm. There were more dead butterflies on the cards in the giftshop than actually in the "farm". The orchids were pretty but not really my thing.
Elephant riding!!
Needless to say, not a very good start to the day.

The next stop was elephant riding (now we're talking!!). The guide asked if anyone wanted to ride on the elephant's neck (where the "driver" normally sits). I was the first to volunteer and was told it would make it more interesting. While the other two people on the elephant sat on a small seat with a bar across their lap to strap them in, I was on the elephant with nothing to hold onto by the other people's lap bar. It definitely made the hour long ride more interesting, although there were several times I thought I was going to fall off.

Afterward the elephant riding extravaganza, we had lunch and could pay 20 baht for a bunch of banans to feed the elephants. As if I'd pass up that opportunity! We also had leftover watermelon that I tried to feed them but the pieces were too small for them to grab onto.
Feeding the baby elephant
Our guide brought out the watermelon and pineapple peelings so we used those. Feeding the baby elephant, and well, all the elephants was a lot of fun.

We then headed for our hour long trek to the waterfall. The drive was up a very steep and very narrow road that was making several people nervous. The waterfall had hardly any water at its base and only appropriate for swimming your feet (see picture). Apparently outside rainy seaon, the vilagers re-direct the water from the river for farming. This was one of the parts i was most looking forward to, so was pretty disappointed by the false advertising!

We then went to a village for a "hilltribe village experience". Upon arriving at the village, a woman came over trying to sell bags for 100 baht (so much for getting a real experience) and the town was also a stopover for people taking elephant rides with a road side gift shop.
The waterfall
It's also weird walking around a tiny village (there were about 10 houses) as a voyeur. Looking into someone's house seemed very odd.

Next stop: white water rafting! Luckily for me, the rapids were about level 3, down graded from the 4 and 5s during rainy season but not as wussy as the 1 and 2s later in the dry season. It was a lot of fun and the guide made sure we got plenty wet. We then traded the inflatable rafts for bamboo rafts and had a leisurely float down the river.

The day ended with one more visit to a tribe, which is where some of the women that dress up and harass you at the markets to buy wooden frogs live. (I didn't buy one).

In the evening, me and two girls I met on the trip (one from England and one from Montreal) decided to go to the Night Bazaar.
The swimming pool :)
It's very different than the Saturday and Sunday markets, which take over a couple streets. This market is centered around the main tourist restaurants, so less vendors selling food and the stalls are set up on the sidewalk facing away from the street. Most vendors are selling t-shirts, clothes, sunglasses and some wooden crafts and way less people overall. We ended the night off with Thai massages and this time, it was much more pain than relaxing, but still very enjoyable. And all for just 150 baht ($5ish).
magnificent says:
Wow, how funny! We were in Chiang Mai about the same time doing the same kinds of things. My highlight was my Elephant experiences. I also enjoyed cooking courses, night market and many things during my extended stay.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, I am enjoying looking through them.
Posted on: May 14, 2010
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Orchid Farm
Orchid Farm
Elephant riding!!
Elephant riding!!
Feeding the baby elephant
Feeding the baby elephant
The waterfall
The waterfall
The swimming pool :)
The swimming pool :)
Chickens in one of the villages
Chickens in one of the villages
Rafting
Rafting
Bamboo riding
Bamboo riding
One of the kids in the village eat…
One of the kids in the village ea…
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes