Thanks for all the messages! Really good to hear from you all! You’ll be pleased to know we made it out of the jungle ok! Well it was an interesting few days…..
Firstly we made the typical British mistake of going for a quiet beer the night before the Trek, of course this turned into a big session – Johns Place a bar where I went last year is lively and we ended up staying there till 4am or so! We got picked up to start the trek at 10am the next morning – I was fine (aside from a bad head) but poor old Tom was feeling more than a bit ill! We got picked up on a 4×4 Nissan Pickup with a bench each side of its back for about 10 people to sit on. We were the last people to be picked up, there were 6 other people on the truck – all German! Tom and I got on and Tom was immediately sick! Oh dear! We then drove for 2 hours or so to the mountain area to the North of Chiang Mai. On the way we stopped at a village in the middle of nowhere to have a walk round – unfortunately Tom was sick again!
When we arrived at the foot of the mountain we started trekking, we walked for about 2-3 hours up the steep mountain through the jungle, which was brilliant – well I thought so, Tom was throwing up again! Our Thai guide was 71 but he was very fit and spoke good English, the pace was not slow! It was hard work and the heat was intense, my T-shirt was absolutely drenched in sweat – nice! We reached the top of the mountain though and made our way to the village of the Karen Tribe where we were to stay the night. What a view! The tribe live a relatively simple life, mainly there harvest coffee that they sell in Chiang Mai. There’s no electricity and you can only get there on foot. It was really nice to get out of the city, away from lots of people and traffic! The air quality was so much better! We stayed in a bamboo hut (basically built for tourists) on the floor, it gets dark here at 6pm and it was pitch black – nice view of the stars though! Unfortunately I forgot my torch (not good when you need the loo), but they lit a fire though and had a few candles which made for a nice atmosphere. We ate a simple meal of rice and vegetables prepared by the people in the village. We went to bed at 9pm (Tom went to bed when we arrived at the village) – which was surprisingly comfortable although the temperature really dropped at night.
In the morning we walked about another 2 hours (Tom was back to his normal self by this point) to another village, which was more developed – they had solar power for lighting! We then headed down the mountain to the river, where we had lunch before taking an elephant ride. Somewhere over the course of the morning I lost my camera 🙁 which I had in my pocket at the ready to take photos. Absolutely gutted! Aside from the financial loss, all my photos were on it – really really annoyed with myself!!! I had a great photo of tom being sick in the jungle! We were getting in and out of trucks to take us around and I think its fallen out in one of those – I went to look for it but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Hopefully i can claim for it on my insurance – what a melon! Anyway the elephant ride was ok, cept it kept sneezing, so we got covered in goo – lovely – not that it made much difference as we were filthy anyway (no showers in bamboo huts)! We then headed to the village where we stayed the night – on the bank of the river.
Again it was pitch black at night – but they sold beer which was nice to have around the fire! The Germans were a good bunch and all were fluent in English – plenty of German England rivalry but all good natured! Food again was simple rice and veg, but they had soy sauce to give it some flavour! It was even colder that night for some reason – and I spent most of the night needing a wee – but didn’t go cos I couldn’t see anything!
On our final day we walked up river and did some white water rafting, which was good, followed by bamboo rafting – much more leisurely! Before returning to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon. We then returned to out 1 pound a night guest house (which wasn’t great) – we had to stay there as I applied for a Vietnam visa which was to be returned there this morning at 10am. Kindly Tom didn’t mind and we put up with a not so nice guest house! The Vietnam Visa thing was worrying me, as my passport was basically picked up by a guy on a bike – who assured me it would be returned today (4 days application process) by 10am – obviously I was concerned when he rode of passport in hand weaving in and out of the traffic! But that’s Thailand – you cant judge it on western standards! All was well though and my passport was as he promised returned to me at 9:30 this morning – I have to say I felt better when I got it back though! No doubt there’s a Thai person called Stuart Shepherd now……….
Last night we went to a Thai reggae bar – loads of Thais with dreadlocks – which was fun! We meet zee Germans from the trek and drank lots of Chiang beer (again!).
Today we’ve been really lazy, as soon as my passport arrived we checked into a nice hotel with a pool, where we stayed last year – The Chiang Mai Thai House, which I’d recommend if you come to Chiang Mai. Just been relaxing all day! Tonight we’re off out for some food (no booze!) and then an early night as we are up early tomorrow to get the bus north to Chiang Rai. We then plan to go to the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet – should be interesting. On Tuesday we fly to Bangkok where we will then take a train to the Cambodia border on route to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat – really looking forward to that – Travelling is brilliant!
Keep the messages coming – really good to hear from you all! Oh and does anyone want to rent a house in Wolston?? Check it out here 😉