Well hello everybody
So we were supposed to go to Laos next but it wasn't possible to do this so instead we went into Thailand to go North and then into North Laos. Our bus trip to Bangkok was eventful! It was tiny to start with, had no boot for the bags and the seats we tiny so no leg room and air con did not exist!! So all the bags were in the back window; in the aisle and next to the driver. We had to climb over the bags to get out which was interesting and if that wasn't enough to contend with we got a puncture!! This bus took us 5hrs over extremely bumpy mud roads to the boarder where we went into Thailand and changed buses to a mini van with air con and a little more leg room!! However the extremes in temp and the general rubbishness had already hit me and my asthma started and I got a cold! Great!! Dan was absolutly fine which was good! He just had to put up with my coughing and snottyness!! NICE! Anyway we got there and spent a few days in Bangkok whilst sorting out how to get north. We had lots of fun in Bangkok and actually really enjoyed it much to the surprise of everybody. A few chang beers later and we had lost 6 hours in bars and in general merriment! We later found out that Chang Beer is not regulated and it can range from 4.2%-12.2%! I think we got all of the 12.2% but we had lots of fun!
We managed to book a trip to Chaing Mai. We started the trip which was trekking and meeting hill tribes etc, in a massive storm with downpours! We got to our accommodation which was a long house (Akhu house) in the Karen tribe. Our guide left us and we did not meet the tribe which was a bit of an arse, as this was what we were all looking forward to! We were all soaked though too so trying to get warm was a mission! The next day was ace! We did hardcore trekking though an actual jungle. I was a little scared of the snakes but Dan helped me through it! There was 6 of us, me, Dan, Mark. Donna (who we met in China), Selina, Carrie (who we met in Cambodia) Jason and Kristin (a Brit and a Swede who we met on the bus to Thailand!) It was so much fun! Really hard sometimes and we had to cross lots of rivers and climb under and over things! Very fun! We also swam in waterfalls which was very Timotai advert! We then slept outside in a half open long house next to the river. We learnt a new game from a member of a tribe called tigers and birds a combination of draughts and 0 and X's! Selina and I were champions!! The next day we rode some elephants and these were so well looked after. They had no cuts or scars and the handlers did not even ride them they just spoke to them. It was so natural. We went through the jungle on these elephants, so beautiful! We both regretted gong on the poor little elephants in Vietnam as they we not well looked after at all. A shame. Then we did white water rafting, grade 4!! So much fun!! It was way better than any theme park! We just wanted it to last longer! Dan and Carrie were animals in the front of the raft getting battered by all the currents and the waves coming over them! After this we went on a leisurely ride on a bamboo raft down the rest of the river to the meeting point. We were again left here by our guide and were waiting to be picked up for 3 hours! Not impressed. We got back to the hotel had a little bit of a complain about our guide and got a free nights stay so decided to go out and drink! (Extreme drinking to go with the extreme rafting etc we did in the day!!) Lots of fun, got back at about 3am! Opps! We then had a couple more days in Chaing Mai, much more chilled and cooler in temperature too!!
We then went to Chaing Rai, where there are hardly any westerners which is good and we went to a brilliant market where there was a big festival/celebration going on!! It was brilliant! Loads of food stalls and singing etc. It was great a real treat! The next day we just chilled and had real luxury as our accomadation had a swimming pool so messed around in that for a while. We found a good cause restaurant called Cabbages and Condoms. It is trying to make hill tribes aware of contraception and HIV. It's aim is to make Condoms as easy to get hold of as cabbages. It was fantastic food too and it had live music which we all enjoyed! Dan especially loved the Beatles hits!
We said Goodbye to Chaing Rai and made our way into Laos.