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Jamie's Global Adventures

Chiang Mai - Trekking time

THAILAND | Friday, 26 December 2008 | Views [1081] | Comments [1]

Chiang Mai is a great city. The old part of town is surrounded by a large moat and remnants of an old defense wall. We walked most of it in a day, enjoying different foods, researching our outdoor recreation opportunities, and taking in the sites. Oh and we treated ourselves to massages. I got a full body scrub, which exfoliated me in some pretty random places.

Our primary reason for heading this far north was to do some trekking. We signed up for a 3 day and 2 night tour, led by a guide named Ping-Pong. Here’s a quick breakdown of the days:

Day 1

  • We started with a short elephant trek. I've always had a sweet spot for these gentle giants. Our particular elephant was rather rambunctious. He’d climb the steep sides of the trail in search of fresh greenery or he’d throw up his trunk and demand the bananas we bought as treats. 
  • We then hiked for a couple of hours taking in waterfalls and rather bland jungle. It looked like it was pretty well logged and slashed not so long ago.
  • We made it to our first campsite before dark. It was well equipped with a bunkhouse, sleeping bags, bug nets, a cooking hut, and a raging river for cold showers.  
  • Dinner was excellent! Yellow curry w/ pumpkin and sweet and sour stir fry.
  • The rest of the night we sat around the campfire chatting, singing, and “enjoying” Thai moonshine. At one point each group of travelers had to sing their national anthem (Hungary, UK, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Thai, and us screwing up the star spangled banner).

Day 2

  •  They fed us very well once again. A full western breakfast and sack lunches packed in banana leaves. 
  • 4 hours of trekking with much better scenery. The jungle was green and dense and the waterfalls were flowing strong. I love bamboo forests.
  • We reached our second camp in the early afternoon so we had time to explore on our own and play in the river. I slid down a set of rapids and hit a couple rocks. Ooops.
  • Another great dinner – Thai long beans with tofu/egg and green curry with Thai tomatoes. The guide also cooked spicy snake curry for us to try. It had the same texture as calamari.

Day 3 – Christmas!!!

  • Woken up throughout the night by a young boy nearly puking on my head. Not exactely as exciting as hearing Santa on the roof. Several of the campers came down with a stomach bug during the night. Luckily Sebastian and I managed to weather the storm.
  • Walked over to the Karen hill tribe village across the river. This particular group is called “White” Karen because of the color of the traditional dress the single women wear. 70% of this village is Christian so it was a quiet morning with most people at church celebrating the holiday. Those that were around were very welcoming and of course more than willing to show us their craft shops.
  • Another great breakfast. I love the bananas here!
  • Only 1 hour of trekking with a short stop at Mae Wang waterfall.
  • Bamboo rafting on the Mae Wang River. They even let me drive. Sebastian’s boat guide had to have been younger than 12, but handled that river like a pro.

Altogether, the trek was a great experience. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting northern Thailand, even if you aren’t the outdoorsy type. Check out th e

We spent the remainder of Christmas day in Chiang Mai missing family and friends. To sooth our sorrows, we treated ourselves to huge bacon cheeseburgers and fries. We finished the night with drinks at the Root, Rock, Reggae bar which had several good live bands. Even in the mountains we can’t seem to escape the island life.

Tags: bamboo rafts., chiang mai, elephants, trekking, waterfalls, white karen




OK so Santa didn't exactly arrive atop an Asian elephant bearing gifts to faraway travellers, but the Thai jungle is not such a bad alternative to home.

  Rick Dec 30, 2008 10:20 PM



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