Dan and Claire go worldwide
Chaing Mai is in North Thailand, and was our only stop in this part of the country. It is referred to by many as Thailands 'second city', and is surrounded by an enormous jungle. Our main venture here was heading into the jungle for a one night/two day trek. The first day started with a brief trip to the local produce market to pick up fresh food for our adventure, taking in the not so delightful aroma of thai markets! We then headed off into the wilderness, and trekked for 3 and a half hours up and down the mountains, continuosly slipping down the tracks as the rain was on and off, and it turned into a slip and slide mud bath!! We passed through a tribal village inhabited by the Karen tribe, before stoping at our second Karen tribal village where we stopped for the night, sleeping in little huts on the floor. After a suprisingly good nights sleep, we headed out for an early morning trek for about an hour to the elephant camp. When we arrived, we got on our elephant called Sinchang who was 40 years old, and took a scenic and actually really relaxing ride on the him for an hour and a half, going through the jungle and wading downstream through the river. They were all so well behaved and it was such a lovely experience, apart from Dan nearly falling off and breaking his leg when we tried to get off!! After being dropped off by the elephants, we got onto our last mode of transport to get us back to our truck...a bamboo raft!! We watched our guide build it with hollowed out bamboo and reeds to tie them together. It looked really cool, until it sunk when we got on it!! After some re-adjustments we were on our way, although it was far from sturdy to say the least!! It was nice and relaxing floating down stream until we realised that we were actually going to be taking on serious rapids with this crappy little raft..oh my gosh it was so scary! The boys had to help paddle with sticks and after getting through a couple, we crashed into a big rock on on our third rapid and had to abandon ship onto a rock before it sank! We all slipped onto this rock and one girl sliped off totally and got dragged under by the current and got trapped under the raft..it was chaos!! We got her out, and a local jumped in to help repair our battered raft, and we were soon on our way again downstream again holding on for dear life!!The Thai style of doing things around here really is crazy! We got through the rest of the rapids ok, with no more crashes or accidents, and arrived safely and hour and a half later at our destination. Phew!! After a Thai feast, we headed back in our truck to Chaing Mai town, where we spent a night browsing around the fab Night Bazzar, before retiring for a well deserved rest. Final stop, Bangkok round two......................