Hill tribe trekking with no hill tribes

Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Up early again, today is hill tribe trekking day, Paula still not feeling 100% but went ahead with the days activities regardless.

Our pick up arrived and in the back we hopped, sitting along the side benches we bid good morning to four Dutch tourists, what we assumed to be two couples until one guy jumped out shortly after to go on a different excursion. Our transfer to the foothills included a stop off at a local market, and whilst the tour guide did some preparation (buying our lunch I think) we were encouraged to take a look around the stalls to see what was on sale!

Well, we soon discovered that if it wasn't being sold here then it probably didn't exist.......heads, feet, hearts, intestines, insects, frogs on skewers and god knows what that grey looking tripe was.... Borough Market has got a lot of catching up to do. Paula wasn't too impressed and her stomach wretched a little at the smell of a few delicacies but Vikki, the vegetarian, was fascinated.

The drive took us away from madness and chaotic roads towards greenery and dusty back roads, sleepy rural villages and one in particular where we parked up and started our hike into the hills themselves.......the day was sunny and a little hot but as we headed into the hills we were afforded respite under the shade of trees and with cold water at hand we soon settled into a walking pace.

Paula still feeling a little weak in her lungs and legs struggled on the steep inclines and so we stopped at intervals to catch our breath and make sure she wasn't going to pass out. Determined, she carried on and after about 3 hours we were rewarded with a waterfall (just not the waterfall in the picture we were shown on booking this excursion!). Rather small and with a shallow pool at its feet, a tired and sweaty Paula was the first to enter its icy waters and cunningly held her shivers and enticed the rest of us to have a swim....brrrr!

The hike after that got a little steeper for a while and we were worried at our ability to stick with it, but we did, and with a final flourish up a very steep hill we hit what was supposed to be the highlight of our hike, hill tribes............unfortunately we only saw a couple of villagers selling bracelets from a table outside a stilted house, no long ears, strange clothing and painted faces and definitely no long necks....not even the cute litter of puppies in the middle of the village could make up for the lack of weird looking long necked hill tribespeople.......a bit gutted! We made a mental note at this point to crutinise every element of every excursion we book in South East Asia and not assume that what is displayed on an advert is what you will get.

After much more sweating and some sore feet we arrived back to where we'd been dropped off, almost eight hours of hiking later and a set of fallen arches for Vikki we sat down to a cold Sprite not feeling very spritely, but definitely glad of the exercise. Listening to the Thai man over the way laughing at his TV screen as some wacky Asian comedy played out turned our exhaustion into giggles, and so we joined him on the matted floor seating for a few minutes to see what all the fuss was about.

A hour or so later we were back at good old Chiang Mai and turned out into the streets near our hostel, a night market was underway blocking off our minibus' root so we hopped out into the madness and had a look around at some more weird and wonderful sights.

After a dinner at the bamboo swing restaurant we headed to Green Tulip and requested our passports back to begin preparing to pack up for our border transfer via Chiang Rai tomorrow.

Showering away the days grime we climbed into bed and drifted off. 
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annewardell on

Please, please don't eat anything even vaguely meat-ish, just in case it's made from those guts....or the pig's head....or the frogs....! Xxxxx

Sue on

...and don't eat that cute little dog either...

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