Day 44-49 in the world of Sam and Dani: What ever possessed us to travel the day after the Full Moon we will never know! After checking out of our resort at 12, we got a 3hour boat (which was rough) to Surat Thani, then got a bus for 1 1/2hours to the train station. Next we got an overnight train to Bangkok, leaving at 18.30 and arriving at 06.15am the following morning, before getting a flight upto Chiang Mai. Alot to do in 24 hours, especially as we only had 2 hours sleep. It was a good job we were tired though because beds were made and people had to be quiet on the train from 9pm, and carriages got locked so you couldn't travel through to see other people.
Once we arrived in Chiang Mai at lunchtime we went for a lil nap (a well deserved one we think) before going to the Night Bizzare and Sunday Markets. Our haggling skills are getting very good now, even Dani is improving! So after a mooch around and a few bargains we went back to prepare for our trek the following day. Now, once again we didn't think things through.. planning a 3 day and 2 night trek after the Full Moon and 24 hours of travelling is not one of our best ideas, despite saying that we did enjoy ourselves (eventually!).
We started off by going bamboo rafting down the river up in the mountains, which wasn't what we quite expected, it was nice and calm, chilling out down the river while a thai pushed us along. There were 8 of us on our trek so for the rafting we were split into 2 groups, one of the lads on the other raft fell in bless him, very funny tho! After that we drove to a small village where we had lunch before setting off on a 2 hour walk to a waterfall where we were spending the first night. Now, as you know we aren't really into our trekking (we have cars) so when we booked the trip we didn't really consider the full meaning of the word 'trek'.. Walking up mountains in the jungle, creepy crawlies all over the place, no hot water, no electricity, no bed, and not even doors to our lil hut.. We were in for a shock!
The first 20minutes of the hike we quite hard going but mainly because we have done 0 exercise since leaving home, but after that it was ok. When we finally arrived at the waterfall we all got in because thanks to the very hot temperatures we were all in need of a freshen up, yep lovely! We were all settled in the camp when it suddenly decided to chuck it down, and if you think we get heavy rain at home, think again, we've got nothing on this, pure monsoon style! Because there is no electricity in jungle, once the sun goes in its bedtime so we possibly had the earliest night ever.. although just because we went to bed early don't be fooled into thinking we had a good sleep, no no.. We were sleeping on wooden slats in an open hut with only a mosquito net as protection, and with Dani flinching thinking there were things on her and in our net, sleep that night was pretty much non-existant =(
Obviously that made the next days walking even more fun, but just incase you thought we'd be ok, it decided to once again throw it down, and not just for a little bit, but for the full 3 hours we were walking in the morning, then the hour in the afternoon. The hills we were walking up had water gushing down them, making it even more difficult to climb. Luckily, it stopped by the time we reached the village so we were able to start (attempt) to dry our clothes and get showered etc. When we say shower, we mean a cold water tap in a hut they call the local toilet- very smelly and full of spiders! That night we all sat playing games etc before once again having an early night due to no electricity. The next morning we got up and set off on the last 3 hours, where we were being met to go elephant trekking. On this walk we saw deadly scorpians, massive spiders and snakes.. this was enough, time to leave the jungle! When we got to the elephants it began to once again chuck it down so we ended up riding the elephants saturated and hanging on for dear life because the banks were so slippy. Our elephant was naughty too, wanting to do its own thing, making us pretty nervous. After leaving the elephants we headed back to civilisation- we sorted out our mountain of washing then met up with the people on our trek for tea as it was one of the girls birthday.
Although we were completely out of our comfort zone on the trek, we really enjoyed it- not at the time, but looking back it was brilliant! We got to spend a night in a village with people who have never been outside of it, and got to see how their culture works. Each house (hut) has a buffalo underneath it and there are cats, dogs, chickens and pigs all over the place, and they have one kitchen that the whole village use. The tour guides also made it very enjoyable, one of the guys (renamed crazyman) especially made it fun because he was a complete nutcase! He knew so many tricks and facts about wildlife and always kept us entertained by some comedy noises or simply by the fact that he was drinking whisky from 8am until he went to sleep!
Our last day in Chiang Mai we decided to do a thing called Jungle Flight which was recommended to us by Bec. We worked our way around 34 platforms in the biggest and highest zipwire activity centre, 1000 metres above the rooftop of Chiang Mai. Dani was in her element doing the 40m drops and 300m zipwires through the jungle, and even though Sam isn't great with heights she enjoyed it too! It once again began to rain so we ended up soaked but we're not even phased by rain no more, ha! We spent the day there before returning to our hotel where we were getting collected at 8pm for a six hour bus ride to Chiang Khong ready to cross over into Laos. We have heard that this 2 day slowboat trip isn't very enjoyable, but we will soon see.