Thai Tigers & Treks!

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Feb 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
A Little Bird Guesthouse

Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After crossing the border from Laos I was finally back in Thailand! I got a minibus from the border town to Chiang Mai, and found what turned out to be one of my favourite youth hostels so far. It was called " A Little Bird Guest House" and the house actually looked quite similar to a bird house, it was wooden and painted in bright pastel colours. It had a great atmosphere with floor cushions and low tables on the decking, and the owner, a young Thai girl was hilarious, the first night I was there she joined me a group of other backpackers on a night out and she got just a little bit drunk! Thankfully she was a funny drunk not an annoying drunk.

The next day I got up early to go to Tiger Kingdom! It was BRILLIANT! I got to go into the cage with live tigers!!! I was able to pet them and put my head on their backs – they were very cat like… funnily enough! I had a total of 30min in the cage with Tigers (big ones and small ones) although I could have stayed there all day. Tigers are definitely as awesome as they look! I did very little with the rest of my day except sit about and relax which was actually really nice, as I am so used cramming a lot into a single day that to do nothing for a few hours felt pretty good!

The following morning I set off on a 3 day trek with 11 other people, although half of them were only doing 2 days. This was an amazing experience. Our trek started with a 1hour elephant ride. I ended up with a huge old bull elephant who was grumpy and hungry. He took ages to walk anywhere because he kept stopping to eat! When he eventually made his way to the end point he decided to take an alternative route that involved a 5 min round trip through the camp – I liked him.

We trekked the rest of the day until about 4pm when arrived at our camp for the night which was in a hill-tribe village. The camp was made entirely out of bamboo and was located at the top of a hill over looking a stunning green valley. Some of the local women came out to sell us cigarettes and beer. They also offered us Thai massages that were ideal for weary legged trekkers!

Our guide cooked up a fantastic evening meal which really tasty, and then we just sat around talking, drinking over priced beer and playing cards. It was a very pleasant change to the busy city life.

The next day the “2 dayers” went off on a different route, so our group was down to 6 as we set off after breakfast. We stopped for lunch by a waterfall where we had a very refreshing swim but then as we walked on to the next stop the weather took a turn for the worse and a huge storm broke, with torrential downpour and thunder and lightning! It was fantastic! The dirt path we were walking on quickly turned into a small muddy stream. We stopped at another bigger waterfall beside a bamboo shelter where a Thai woman and her daughter were selling snacks so naturally we swam in the waterfall watching the storm rage while enjoying a cool refreshing beer. It was one of those surreal moments; there I was in the middle of nowhere, feeling the ferocious elements  and the wrath of nature all around me, and yet I was sitting quite literally in a pool of calm blinking rain out of my eyes and enjoying beautiful backdrop of bamboo forests and tree covered hills!

Before long the storm began to lift and had stopped completely by the time we reached out camp for the second night – another hill-tribe village. One of the other guys in the group had a fondness for smoking “green tobacco” and was attempting to make a pipe from a piece of bamboo, when one of the older hill-tribe women came and took it from him and proceeded to make it for him, hacking away with a machete and joining bits of bamboo together! Within 10min she had made him a fancy looking smoking device, it was rather amusing to watch a 50+ year old woman demonstrating this particular skill!

The 3rd and final day of out trek involved a short trek to the river where we were to do white water rafting , although it should have been called “really really lame water rafting” as the water was really low due to it being dry season, and the rapids were pretty non-existent! It would have been quicker to swim! After this we had a go at punting a bamboo raft the rest of the way to the end point, we had a final meal provided for us before being tuk-tuk'd back to out hostel!

I had just enough time to grab a quick shower, pack my stuff up and get to the bus station to catch a sleeper bus to Pak Chong.

I left Chiang Mai feeling shattered but very happy!
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