09.11.2009 - 12.11.2009 31 °C
The next morning we packed our stuff to leave The hostel and decided to make our own way North to Chiang Mai instead of getting a travel agent to help us because it would have meant going back to Khao San Road on the roach infested bus. There was a really wierd bloke in our dorm room trying to teach us Thai words when we were all trying to get ready. He would say "who wants to know the Thai word for Toilet??" No-one would answer then 10 minutes later he'd be like "Okay! You say it like this..." haha we were'nt trying to be rude but getting all your stuff together and getting ready in a boiling hot dorm room is enough without learning Thai at the same time!
Anyways we got the Sky Train then a Taxi to the Northern Bus station, got our tickets for the night bus (8 pound for a 12 hour journey!) then we had a whole day to kill so we checked our bags in and went to the park. It started raining so we went back to the bus station.. after about an hour it started torrential raining! It was still so hot though was good to watch from the bus station.
Got on our no air-con, no-toilet bus and tried to settle in for the night. Was okay but the couple sitting next to me (we had the back row) had a White Rabbit in a really small holdall which I thought was really wierd... 12 hours is a long time to have a Rabbit in a bag? Luckily the driver made lots of toilet stops through the night but one place that we stopped was so bad I'v never seen anything like it. The toilets were covered in bugs and insects it was like a horror film...scarred me for life I think!
We arrived in Chiang Mai at about 6am - and got a tuk tuk to our hostel - The Green Tulip - This hostel is amazing it cost us about 2 pound per night to stay in dorms and it was soo clean and bright with a massive roof terrace with deck chairs and you could watch the sunset over the mountains from the actual roof. Really really nice place.
The owner was really nice and showed us all the options for trekking and we chose the 2 days, 1 night Jungle trek for the next day.
The rest of the day we spent at a hotel pool down the road and watched the Sunset from the roof - very cool. Then we went out for dinner and bumped into Anna & Paul from the tour! Had dinner in a cafe and a chat then went back to the hostel - we had to get up early for the Jungle trek!
The next morning we were picked up by Sumit our tour guide and went round to pick up the rest of our group - 4 French girls and a couple from North London. We drove in the Tuk-Tuk Taxi type thing to a market to get supplies for the trip then we set off for the elephant camp which took about an hour.
Once we got to the elephant camp we had lunch then met our elephants! they are huge and beautiful and I was really looking forwardto riding one one once we on I just wanted to get off! Me and Dani sat in the chair on its back and Chi sat on its neck! I felt really sorry for it ahving to parade around with us fatties on it. Also they walked it up this really steep hill with no path and I honestly thought we were going to die! I was glad to get off about 45 minutes later ha! I think from now on I'll just stick to looking at animals instead of sitting on them!
Ater the elephant rides we started the 3 hour trek to the villiage! Trekking through the jungle was amazing and such hard work - it was boiling hot and mostly uphill - some parts were really steep and a bit sketchy! everybody kept stopping for breaks but we got really into it (hardcore) and wanted to just keep going - we made it in about 2 hours instead of 3! There was group of really annoying blokes who kept shouting and saying stupid things so we were walking faster to get away from them! Sumit got toi the villiage about 15 mins after us and we asked him where the French girls were he said he didnt know he'd lost them ha! good guide he just left them in the jungle! They got there about 30 mins later.
The villiage was a bit strange - noone seemed happy to see us there (they must get sick of tourists traipsing through everyday) and there were animals EVERYWHERE! A chicken got its head stuck in some wire fence and was being attcked by another chicken - Dani freed it and it ran off all happy then another chicken attacked it straight away lol - must have really annoyed those chickens! I think they murdered it! Gangland Chickens!
Sumit took us to where we were staying -its a hut specially made for the tourists with mattresses on the floor and a toilet/shower hut haha very authentic! We all had a shower and then ate dinner which was made for us by the villiagers! it was really nice I ate loads! After that it was dark so we all sat outside with a few beers and candles (no electricity). There were so many stars it was really pretty and there was a party going on further up the mountain as the Monks had recieved funding to build a new school! They were setting off fireworks and fire lanterns into the sky! Sumit played us a few songs on the guitar and then 2 of his friends turned up with their guitars - they made up the words to most of the songs as they went along lol - one of them kept shouting "oh my Buddha!" lol.
We were out there for ages playing cards, singing and stargazing - sooo cheesy but really fun!
The next morning I woke up earlier than the others and watched the sunrise. It was beautiful and really peaceful except for the crazy chickens, dogs and pigs making loads of noise. Once everyone was up we had breakfast (scarmbled eggs, toast, jam and watermelon!), got our stuff together and started the trek to the waterfall.
Before we left Sumit showed us the old villiage school which was good to see! It was tiny - just one room!
Going down a mountain is much much harder than going up! Parts of the trail were like slides and my heart was constantly hammering from nearly falling over - v. funny. Sumit told us a story about a man who was using a bamboo stick for balance on the way down and he fell and ripped off a ball! noone wanted to risk using a stick after that! After about an hour we reached the waterfall which was nice but not as scenic as the waterfall in Laos it was also packed out with ppl. Was nice to have a break and a swim!
After another hours walk we stopped for a Pad Thai lunch (yum) and then put on our life jackets and helmets (which smelt really badly) for white water rafting! We started getting nervous when the guide was doing a demonstartion in the raft - we didnt realise you have to paddle and follow commands ha I thought you just sat in it!
Our guide was a nut nut - at one point he tipped us all out of the raft! Everyone got back in after messing about in the river for a bit but i was further away and couldnt walk back against the current! It took him about half an hour to come and rescue me! I was trying so hard not to panic lol. White water rafting is wkd definately something I want to do again - New Zealand maybe? I want to try some proper rapids because we just had a beginners intro.
After awhile we got out of that raft and onto the bamboo raft which was wierd. Its basically loads of bamboo tied together to make a long platform and when your on it its submerged so your half in the water and half out. By this point our guide was getting on our nerves he had been splashing us and trying to tip us over for about an hour and a half! haha luckily we were only on the bamboo for about 15 minutes - we'd had enough river water for 1 day lol.
We met Sumit and dried off abit before getting a tuk tuk back to town. It was an amazing 2 days I tried so much stuff that havn't done before it was soo good (some bits not so good), Sumit was a really great guide (even if he kept leaving us on the trek)! everyone was great in our group, the food was wkd, the weather was wkd - amazing.
That night was our final night in Chiang Mai and we ended up in a sort of courtyard with a boxing ring in the middle and bars all around the outside. We sat down to watch a few Muay Thai boxing fights. I hate normal boxing and this is much worse! they kick as well as punch! it was good to see but horrible at the same time - Chi was happy tho! After each fight the boxers would walk around to colect donations (it was free to watch) - you cant say no to a Muay Thai boxer with blood dripping down his face lol
Before each fight loads of Lady Boys from the bar apposite would do a synchronised dance/parade! after a few drinks we went over to see what was going on they are so fun! Chi wasn't happy at 1st but they even got him dancing on chairs and joining in with their dances lol they were wkd!
On the way home some bloke asked if we wanted to go for a swim in his hotel pool so we went for a night swim - it was a bit random and we had to walk home soaking wet.
The next morning (slightly hanging) we packed up and checked out then went for a huge breakfast. After that we spent the day doing internet stuff - uploading pictures ect killing time before we went to get our night bus to Nakhon Ratchisima (Khorat).
We loved Chiang Mai, its a really happy sunny place and so beautiful! Definately a highlight of the trip so far.