Jan 18, 2013
Jul 08, 2013
Naturally it wasn't the best nights sleep and I awoke frequently to the nibble of ants on my legs but it was certainly the unforgettably authentic experience we were after. The next day after a breakfast of barbecued river fish, chilli paste and rice we set off trekking again with our rather irritating guide who babbled away non-stop in utterly incomprehensible English, barely stopping to draw breath. When he wasn't talking he filled the silence with some extremely painful Thai singing to "keep away the snakes". (It was enough to keep anyone away). He seemed to enjoy our company and "intent listening" rather too much though, and as the sun began to sink in the sky we soon began to wonder whether he had actually planned any means for returning us to Chiang Rai. The simple answer was no. It soon became clear that the only way back was to hitch-hike on the back of trucks with our guide sweet talking the drivers as we went. Four trucks later we were back in our guesthouse, much to verity's amusement and my sheer relief! Undoubtedly one of the most memorable experiences of our trip so far!
In case anyone was worrying we did make it back safely...just! After a gentle cruise down the Kok river watching Thai children wallowing alongside the banks, the trekking began. It was a lot more strenuous than we had expected as our guide took off at great speed along windy jungle paths and up steep waterfall rocks- all in the full heat of the midday sun. By the time we made it to the village where we'd be staying we were dripping in sweat and feeling fairly shattered. However it soon became apparent that a good night sleep was not in order as we were shown to the corner of the bamboo hut where we were to sleep on the floor alongside the rest of the native family. Next to us was an open fireplace where our supper of sticky rice and young fern shoots was being cooked. Unlike some of the more frequently visited tribal villages this one was totally without electricity and there wasn't another tourist in sight. After a wash in the river much to the amusement of some young male villagers spying from the bushes we returned to our hut to discover our hosts puffing away on their opium pipes! Although we declined their courteous offer to join them we did willingly accept a traditional massage from our high companions, one of which was breast-feeding her baby with the one arm whilst massaging with the other. Quite the multi-tasker! It was certainly a very surreal feeling going to sleep next to the light of a candle on the floor of a bamboo hut filled with opium smoke and alongside a family who didn't even speak Thai let alone a word of English!