Chiang Mai

January 18, 2009

TWO DAY TREK

Arrival and Day 1

Chiang Mai is all about elephants, waterfalls and rafting and we did it all!

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We arrived in Chiang Mai, which is in northern Thailand, on Friday evening. We checked into our hotel and left right away to go check out the night market, before we got too tired.

Anyway, the night market in Chiang Mai was my favorite of the markets we’ve visited so far. There’s a big square with rows and rows of vendors. There’s also an outdoor food court and a beer garden, and the best part is, people don’t hassle you like they do in the other markets. It’s nice to browse or shop in peace without someone trying to sell you something you don’t even want.

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After Allison baught some silk bedding, we headed over to the food court where they had costumed Thai dancers on stage. We ordered curry (Yes, again! This time I tried the green curry. There’s red, green and white curry and the curry is fast becoming a favorite of mine here!) and the presentation was so cute I had to take a photo.

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…although when I dug into the sticky rice it felt like I was cutting off the teddy bear’s leg.

The next morning, we met our group at the hotel for our Chiang Mai trek. There wasn’t any room for me in the back of the truck with the rest of the group so I sat up front with the driver. At first I wanted to sit with everyone and meet them, but I quickly realized that sitting inside the vehicle was a VIP spot on this bumpy ride. I was sure living it up when the driver made a quick stop and brought us back a sweet Thai treet: palm fruit in sticky rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Yum!

We took a bathroom break at a local market where we stopped and briefly stretched our legs. They’re always cooking up pots of some delicious smelling stuff at these markets!

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I introduced myself to some of my new trek-mates, and we were off to our first real stop: ELEPHANTS! Allison and I shared an elephant, and our elephant guide just sat on the elephant’s head — with no chair!

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We made stops at these huts on stilts where villagers were selling bananas. As soon as we baught some, our elephant swung her trunk back as if to say, “gimme some!”

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She grabbed it with the end of her trunk and threw the whole thing in her mouth — peel and all. We started handing her 2 and 3 bananas at a time! If we took to long, she would breath heavy on us with her trunk. It was really funny. Allison was grossed out.

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After the elephants, we had lunch together, and then we hiked through the Chiang Mai countryside.

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We just kept hiking up and up and up. It was so steep! We hiked through the banana and papaya trees of Chiang Mai.

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Our fearless guide Pat found a snake slithering across our hiking path… so he decided to catch it and show it to us!

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We soon came upon a waterfall along the way. It was beautiful — but so freezing!

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Our other guide, by the way, was a guy named Rambo:

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After some more uphill hiking, we finally reached our destination: A cabin on stilts with a room full of flat matteresses and mosquito netting where we’d be staying the night.

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It looked sort of cool, but those matteresses were NOT comfortable and the night was FREEZING! What redeemed the evening was how much fun I had meeting the group. We spent the night by the campfire talking, playing games and singing songs. It was a geniune good time.

Judith, Allison, Kelsey, Trevor, me, Deirdre, Darcy, Ben, The Chief, John, Drew, Felipe, Sune and Jeanett

Judith, Allison, Kelsey, Trevor, me, Deirdre, Darcy, Ben, The Chief, John, Drew, Felipe, Sune and Jeanett

After a long night by the fire, we left to our “cabin” but I honestly don’t think ANY of us slept very much that night because it was just so cold. I kept waking up in the middle of the night wishing the sun would come up faster.

Day 2

The next day, everyone was a bit bleary-eyed from the hard night’s sleep (or lack thereof) but soon we packed our stuff and we were on our way.

We hiked past a village where a young woman was about to be married. In preparation for the big celebration, the villagers killed a pig — right in front of us! They started clubbing it in the head and as soon as I heard the squealing, I just had to walk away.

We arrived to the villagers’ elementary school, and that’s where Allison and I parted ways with the rest of the group who were staying on for another day. We walked back through the waterfall to the spot where we had lunch the first day and met up with another group: 6 people from France, 1 guy from New Zealand, and a Spanish guy. That was the group with which we’d be going bamboo rafting.

It was nice to practice my French. I even introduced myself in French! I shared a raft with Robbie from New Zealand, and Carlos from… not sure what Spanish speaking country Carlos was from. Spain? Anyway, he took a lot of photos and videos with his waterproof camera. If I manage to catch him back at the guesthouse later, I’ll try and post some of his pics here.

Anyway, it was a pretty awesome couple of days. The best part about it was meeting all these new people from all over. Even if you travel alone, you’re never really alone. I can see why it’s so easy to fall in love with this kind of travel. If you’ve never done it, you really must try it at some point in your life!!!!!

Well, Darcy, Ben, Judith, Kelsey, Trevor, Sune, Jeanett, Deirdre, John, Felipe, Drew, Caroline, Robby and Carlos — stay in touch!

***Keep checking back for additional photo galleries and videos that I will post later when I have more time to do so.

2 Responses to “Chiang Mai”

  1. Melissa Hecht Says:

    Well, you’ve done it. You’ve officially made me wish I was still traveling. Chiang Mai sounds fantastic – elephant rides, rafting, trekking, sleeping in stilthouses and hanging out by the campfire. And to follow that up with a beach just sounds like heaven. Keep enjoying yourselves!

  2. Tamir Says:

    Boy, that pig thing sure brings me back to my college days..boy those were some fun times…….
    wait….did I say that out loud?


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