We checked out of Chiang Mai inn guest house and headed to the travel agents with our big bags. They would be spending the night there whilst we spent the night in the jungle. We had smaller rucksacks loaded with water clean pants and peanuts.
We were picked up by Rudi and his driver at 9:00am. We then did the rounds to pick up our fellow trekkers, her name was Sacha. Just me Garath and Sacha, the day before there were 20 people, today just us 3. It should have been alot easier for Rudi to remember names but he still struggled.
We drove to our first stop, the Butterfly and Orchid farm. It was only small but there were hundreds of beautifull varieties. Our next stop was the market. We fuelled up on whisky and sprite and biscuits and then headed for the jungle. The driver pulled into a dirt road off of the main road and we all got out. We had our lunch of cold fried rice at the roadside, and then said goodbye to the driver.
We began walking. About 20 mins into walking Rudi suddenly ran into the long grass shouting "stay here I'll be back". We watched him run around a concrete resevoir and start hacking at the foliage, he shouted "can you see it? the snake? we can eat it for dinner!" we did see it's tail just sliding away, but Rudi did not catch it.
Our first official stop off point after 40 mins walking was the bat cave. Before entering the bat cave we sat and took some photos of the entrance to the cave. It was a wide mouth shaped opening in the cliff, that went into an area that I can only explain as a open top cave. It was amazing, like a cave, but with the jungle looking down on you. We went into the bat cave, which was pitch black. We shone our torch around, and as we did you could see the bats flying around us. They were huge, with a wingspan of about 80cm, I was freaking out. We left and headed for the mammoth hill climb, it was hard! We were sweating and huffing and struggling but we made it to the top and the view was worth it.
We stopped at the top of the hill to take Photos and change into our long sleeves and long trousers. We were told to do this as we would be going through a malaria zone. Nice! Before we reached the thick jungle that the Malaria zone was in we met a local carrying an Armadillo on his back. We asked if we could take photos even Rudi was getting his camera out, but the local said no and ran off towards town. Rudi told us that the Armadillos are very valuable for their meat, Restaraunts pay from 2000Baht per Kilo and this one was at least 8 kilos, making the man 16000Baht (320 pounds sterling) alot for one Thai man.
We reached the edge of the thick jungle, we headed in with our freshly chopped bamboo walking sticks to bash the foliage out of the way. Rudi froze dead in his tracks, my initial thought was another snake but it was a huge spider. It was black with yellow stipes on it. Garath was almost as un-compfortable as Rudi so we headed on into 'THE MALARIA ZONE'. Rudi shouted "walk fast, run if you have to, we should be out of it in 20 minutes". We got through the malaria zone and Rudi told us that his friend was currently in Hospital with malaria, and that was where he caught it. This is why he was so keen to get though quickly, as he had seen the resutls of not being carefull enough. We rested for a while then headed for the Long neck Village.
We reached the Long Neck Village at 4:30ish and were greeted by smiling faces on girls with brass rings over their necks. They were long necks from Burma who had come to live more peacefully in the mountains in Thailand. We were shown around and shown to our hut for the night. We had a quick nap then hit the showers as we smelt like a rugby team.
Rudi bought out our dinner of Massaman Curry, Rice and Vegetables. A little girl came and sat with us and enjoyed taking photos with our cameras, she was hyper and jumped all over us, but that might be because I gave her some sprite. Ooops. There was a big fire in the middle of the village and we sat around it for a while looking at the stars. I have never been able to see so many. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I could see stars in the jungle, but it was Fire flies. The little girl ran off and started jumping around in them, she came back wirth them in her hands all squished up.
We started drinking our whisky we had bought with us and soon had an old man playing a Burmese flute for us. We gave him a glass of Whisky and he sat and drank with us. Later we sat with the Long neck girls and played Guitar. They made us write our names and then they wrote our names in Burmese for us. Rudi was a little worse for wear from the whisky, and were sure he had been smoking something, probably opium. It was about midnight before we got to bed.
The next day we were woke up later than we expected. Rudi said that he had a truck coming to meet us instead of a 2 hour treck as we all had a late night. Which was music to our ears as we were aching all over. Still it didnt stop Garath from running around and playing games with the village children for a while. We had showers and said our goodbyes to the village. We realy enjoyed our brief time there and the people were lovely. The old man with the flute stopped Garath before we left and asked if he could trade his torch fopr Garaths, as Garaths was a wind up one and his was battery powered. Garath was pleased to help and made the trade.
We walked for about 1hour then got picked up at a Lychee farm. We headed for the river where we did a short Elephant treck and then went on a bamboo raft. The bamboo raft was very simple and we all had a go at steering and pushing ourselves along. We did rather well, even when it came to an emergency stop as the guide had fallen into the river.
We had a spot of lunch which was realy good, noodles, curry, rice etc etc. After we went to the waterfall. It was pretty and had different levels to swim in. We only stopped for 20 minutes and then met up with 4 guys who would be joinging us for the white water rafting. The white water rafting was alot of fun, but it was not as mental as we would have liked.
We began our journey back to Chiang Mai in the Tuk Tuk. We picked our bags up from the travel agents who was keen to know how we got on, we told her how much we enjoyed it and said we would come back later to book a cookery course. We got back to Chiang Mai Inn Guest House and they said they had no rooms for us, we found out later that they did but they would not let us stay there as we didnt book our trek through them. Thats because our trek was 800baht and theirs was 6000baht. We walked back to our travel agents and she showed us where Lek Guest House was. It was lovely much nicer than Chiang Mai Inn so we had a stroke of luck there I think.
We later had a proper western cop out dinner of burgers and chips from Mikes Diner, it was LUSH.