After an hour flight from Bangkok we arrived in Changmai. Both Flora and I instantly preferred this city, with less hustle and bustle, road congestion and less Tuk Tuks!Day 1: With no rest for the wicked we enjoyed our 1st outdoor activity in Thailand - Rock climbing. We participated in a one day intermediate top rope climbing course on series of cliffs. One of the cliffs is known as the Crazy Horse Butress, due to its summit looking like a horses head overhanging the trees below, and this one is famous in the climbing world.
We were both slightly apprehensive about how professional and thorough the company would be on safety. Thankfully they were brilliant and even taught us more safety procedures than we had been taught in England! After a pretty tame morning, we got our teeth stuck into a selection of 20m high climbs, one of which was like an ascent up a chimney (see photo album to follow).
3 Day trek in Pai region
With a truck filled with 10 other 20-somethings we headed into the mountainous region of Pai for a dirty, strenuous, yet fun 3 days of trekking.
For 3 days and 2 nights we trekked up and down the beautiful Pai area with a local guide, Louie (a local villager who fancied himself as a comedian) who occasionally took time to educate us about the northern flora (not the lady) and fauna. We slept in hill tribe villages, waking up early each morning to the sounds of the jungle. One morning we even woke up to an elephant traipsing through our village with his mahout (owner/trainer). This was an amazing experience. Neither of us had seen an elephant up close before - we got to touch it and stare it in the eye!
Each day we experienced traditional northern Thai food cooked by our guide and the locals. This was my biggest worry, fearful of a repeat of the diarrohea that hampered my Machu Picchu trek! Thankfully this was not a problem and copious amounts of rice with all Thai herbs and spices sat fine in our stomachs! This was a real blessing with only squat toilets available to help us !!Thai Toilets: A porcalin bowl to squat over and a hose to wash yourself. No paper allowed down the toilet. A bucket in the corner to dispose of any paper. A bucket next to you full of water, with which to pour into the toilet to flush with.
The highlights of the trip were not fighting off mosquitoes, but bathing under a powerful raging waterfall, riding bamboo rafts, and trying our hand at river rafting. Our group was really great too, and we had a lot of laughs.