Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, April 4, 2010

Made it to Chiang Mai and we only were about 3 hours late on the sleeper train so 17 hours instead of 14. Pretty standard for the train system here I guess! One of the first things we noticed when we stepped off the train was how much cooler it felt as well.

We had been pointed towards Libra Guesthouse by some travellers we had met previously so we headed there via taxi. Lucky for us they had room and we liked the look of it, so we stayed there.
The first night we were was Sunday, so we got some advice to go check out the Sunday Night Market. It was almost as crazy as Chatuchak, and since we had done this the night before in Bangkok we only managed a couple of hours, before finally getting a good nights sleep.

The next morning we were woken up early for our jungle hill tribe adventure. We signed up when we got there as this was something we both really wanted to do. Our tour guide, Bee, was awesome and we had a great time joking around. Our first stop was a waterfall where we splashed around for a while, then drove further to have some lunch. After lunch we had another 30 minute drive to some hot springs where we had the chance to relax in the hot water before starting our trek.

The trek was 9km and we started at about 2pm. It was moderately difficult terrain, mostly because it was so hilly, and the heat was fairly stifling as well, but everyone managed. We made our first stop in a local Karen village and learned a bit about village life and had some refreshments from their 7-11. Their 7-11 was also underneath a sleeping hut right beside where the cows and buffalo lived. After that we hiked for another 2 hours before making it to a 2nd village and stopping for more 7-11 warm water goodness. Then one more hour to our last stop for the night where we would stay in a village. We made it at about 6, right before the sun went down so we went and showered in the river. Dinner was good, massuman curry and stir fry with rice. Our sleeping arrangements were a basic bamboo hut, but it was roomy and we had mattresses on the floor and mosquito nets, so it was actually not too bad!

The next day was the real highlight of the trip. After an early breakfast we heard the elephants wander into camp. It was pretty cool seeing one of these animals up close for the first time. We got to ride them for about an hour and a half as they walked downstream. it wasn't that comfortable, but it didn't really matter considering we were riding elephants in Thailand! After that exciting moment we met up with our bamboo raft and rafted the rest of the way down the river. Bee and Mr. Lossa, our other guide were obsessed with anacondas and chased after 2 snakes in the river like little kids. Both were funny moments. The bamboo rafting was quite good and also challenging. Most of the time the river was calm, but there were a few rapids we had to navigate down and with 8 people on one long raft it can get quite tricky. But eventually we made it and had some lunch, and then drove back to Chiang Mai after a successful adventure.

Chiang Mai was pretty cool, it seemed to be cleaner than most other places we had been, and the people were all really good. We had some more good times just checking out the city, and hanging out with people at the guesthouse and with Bee, who seriously loves Anacondas.

The only other place C and I are going before she flies back to Canada is Siem Reap in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. So we made arrangements for the train back to Bangkok and we are trying to figure out the best way to get to Siem Reap from here.

Travel places are just starting to open up as it is now 9 in the morning so we are off!

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