Hello everyone, hope you are all well. We are missing you all very much although really enjoying ourselves here!
After spending time in Phuket which was excellent, it was time to head back to Bangkok on another dreaded coach and train journey! We were picked up from our Sweet Home hostel at 7am and were driven to Surat Thani train station which took about 5 hours. Our night train wasn’t till 6pm and so we had to kill a lot of time which we are now well used to! We played cards, used the internet and the lads ate about 5 toastie’s each!
When we were finally settled on the train we were all desperate to find the ‘party’ carriage and so on a mission we walked through about 5 carriages of dodgy Thai men and found it! It wasn’t much to look at, a few tables and chairs, a massive ghetto blasta that kept skipping every 2 seconds, but there was plenty of Chang (Beer) in the fridge and that’s the only thing that really mattered to us at that precise moment! We played a few games of cards, and 21’s and had a few laughs about the gay waiter who took a fancy to Moulder, and then all went to bed for a few hours kip.
When we arrived at Bangkok about 7am, we didn’t really have a plan of what to do next, although we knew we wanted to go to Chiang Mai which would take another 15 hours! We were greeted by a lady who kindly booked us on a coach, and before we knew it, we’d bought accommodation for 3 nights, a 2 night, 3 day trek and a flight plus transfer to the airport! And so, quite pleased with ourselves we headed to get our next coach.
What we didn’t know was 1 hour into our journey the coach would brake down! We weren’t even out of Bangkok yet and still had about 6 hours to go! Tired, smelly and hungry we waited for another coach to collect us and finally arrived in Chiang Mai around 9pm. One thing we noticed when stepping of the coach was the difference in humidity compared to the heat of Bangkok. It was still lovely and warm but with a nice breeze. I was pleased to tell the lads that I wouldn’t be needing the air con on tonight and as you can imagine, they were ecstatic!
We went straight to bed to get ready for the next day where we would be collected to go and do our 3 day trek. Slightly nervous we piled into the back of an open van and after stopping at a market to buy the ‘last essentials’ such as plasters and mossy spray it took an hour to reach our first stop, the elephants! Each of us got onto our elephants, 2 people on each. I was last and so had to get on the biggest elephant there! There was me and another girl plus a lad who sat on the elephant’s neck! We were lead up and down quite steep embankments and every 5 minutes there would be a hut which sold banana’s and bamboo which we would have to feed our elephants to keep them walking! Another way of making money out of us! Carl & Moulders elephant stole a whole bag right from my arms with its trunk, couldn’t believe how strong it was the greedy little sod! We even went down and through a small river where my elephant decided to relieve all the food it had ate from its stomach! There was also a baby elephant which strolled close to its mother who was really cute, I wanted to keep him and bring him home as a pet!
After an hour elephant riding we got back into the van where they took us to our starting point. With our rucksacks strapped tight we began to walk. At first it was all uphill and I started to doubt being able to complete the trek with out breaking my ankle or something. After about half an hour, we reached a beautiful waterfall. Our leaders gave us a bag of rice and vedge for our lunch and we were allowed to go for a swim in the freezing cold water!
After lunch we continued to walk. . . and walk. . . and walk . . until we reached our first nights camp. It was a small village made from wooden man made shacks. There was 15 of us backpackers and we were shown a double open ended kind of long shed with small uplifted mattresses and nets above our heads. We dumped our bags, had well deserved showers using a bin full of cold water then sat down at the dinner table to taste the food our leaders had prepared for us. They had even made squirrel soup for us to try! Some of the lads tucked in, but I was put off from 10 minutes before when the squirrel had first been caught and June (our head leader) had held it in his hands and made this poor little dead squirrel dance while whistling a little song and making its little arms and legs move across the table.
After eating the rest of our dinner which was rice, vegetables and pork curry we were invited by the villagers to stand around the fire with all the little children to listen to them sing. They were all so cute and sang lots of songs in Thai while making actions with there arms to the words. We all clapped and suddenly were told it was our turn to sing! As you can imagine we all laughed and had to discuss a song that we all knew the words to! We decided ‘Wonderwall’ would be the best option but after a few minutes began to mumble and laugh as we had all forgotten the rest! We ended up doing ‘Old MacDonald’ and ‘The Oky Coky’ and even paraded around the fire dancing like idiots as the children watched and laughed at us. I think we were having more fun than they were!
We said goodnight to the kids and sat drinking beer and playing card games. We’ve learnt a new card game called ‘Kings’ which we all love and a new song to sing when someone is downing a drink. We didn’t actually realise how much we were drinking coz we were having such a good time. We made 9 new friends and learnt quite a bit about there lives and how different they are to ours. By the end of the night we were all quite lary and I decided to go to bed and leave Moulder and Tanq to use there charms on 2 Aussie girls who were clearly drunk! Last thing I heard was moulder singing to Jackie as they perched by the fire, and viewed the stars together!!
In the morning we were all clearly feeling a little worst for wear, but persuaded ourselves to get up and ready for 10am to have breakfast and carry on our walk to our next destination. The Aussie girls had to leave earlier than us as they were on a different course, but they all left there email addresses for us to contact them. We started off walking past the tiny village school which was next to our camp. All the children were playing outside with there school books and writing pads. We couldn’t tell whether they were meant to be learning or playtime! It was so laid back to English schools, we were quite shocked. There was also pigs and chickens roaming around in the village too. We saw some baby piglets which were absolutely tiny.
As we walked for another mile or so we witnessed our leaders, Sami and June hunting for anything alive! They loved there catapults and would shoot at anything! We watched as they showed us different nests and types of trees, they knew so much about the area it was really interesting to listen to all their stories. At first I felt sorry for the animals they were catching, but after a while you realise, this is what they do to survive and it’s none the better buying a chicken from Tesco’s than it was to catch your own food.
When we reached 5 minutes before our next camp for the night we were taken to another beautiful waterfall, much better than the first. It was amazing! As we climbed down from the top we were able to see the view all the way down. The pictures do not justify how gorgeous it was. When we were told there were no showering facilities, not even a bucket of cold water, we all decided to take our shampoo down to the waterfall and although I’ve never felt water so cold it was worth going in just to feel clean again, and to watch and laugh everyone slipping about on the rocks!
After another delicious meal prepared by our leaders again we tasted rat and frog which they had caught that evening, then played a few games that June had taught us. It was time to get our heads down early! There were 2 to a hut and I can honestly say it was the worst night’s sleep I’ve ever experienced! There was no mattress, just wooden planks, a blanket and a sleeping bag with no zip! To top the night off it was so cold I thought I had frost bite!
It was quite a relief to get up in the morning. We walked a few miles and saw some beautiful views, then finally reached the bamboo rafting! We dumped our bags into a van then really excited; we walked to the side of the river to get on our rafts! Ginge and I sat in the middle of one raft, a Thai man standing at the front to control and Carl standing at the back who I think was supposed to be helping to steer but spent most of the time wetting us! Moulder and Tanq were on another one with a new friend, Anthony who was a nice lad from Oz. As we sailed down the river, there were fast parts and slow parts, we were getting soaked with freezing water, but didn’t mind as it was all part of the fun! As we reached the bottom, Ginge decided Carl had been way too tough with the water and so he stood up on the slightly tilted raft and began to wrestle with Carl in aim to throw him off. I was in hysterics watching the pair of them. Ginge finally managed to throw him in and then as a good will gesture, stepped into the river himself. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant few days and we are all so pleased we decided to do trekking, one of the best things weve done so far!
It was also nice to get home to have a nice warm shower! We made plans to meet our new friends in a club called ‘Bubbles’ so after a lovely meal and a few drinks we met them and had a good night, thinking about our next destination, which would be our most exciting SYDNEY! . . . .