When I arrived in Chiang Mai I had every intention of getting a tuk tuk rather then a cab to save cash but the taxi rank was right there so I jumped in one and headed to Divas which Joseph had recommended a few days prior. On the way my taxi driver tried to lure me to another hostel but i told him i had a friend there already J He then asked me to go and check out some tours.. I politely declined but he told me he got a stamp if i went in so I agreed but I told him I was not purchasing a tour. He was fine with it so I went along with my good deed of the day. I turned up at Divas and they had no space in the dorm but thankfully the nice guy Stefan called to Julies across the road and I managed to get a space in a dorm for 80 baht a night (cheap as chips) After having a red thai curry and coconut shake..hmmmm yummy I was about to head out when the heavens opened so the only place to stay was in the hostel. Luckily Julies is very lively and lots of travellers so it was very social. I met Christine, Laura and Ellie and we chilled and spent the evening chatting. Christine and Ellie were both from England and Laura was fromGermany.
The next day my friend Caine popped in around 10ish. Its so funny as we have now met up in a few locations and he is a really lovely guy and very genuine J But that I will come to later. Him, Laura and I headed off to file my police report about my camera and it was a NIGHTMARE.. I was pretty stressed. The tourist police has moved locations about 3 times and the taxi drivers were getting annoyed but then so were we.. spent a small fortune getting around and then I didn't bring my passport (I never knew you had to bring it DOH) They were really SCARY!! So intimidating and asking really random questions. I had to head back later with my passport. We then headed to a plaza to look for a new camera and after hunting around there was not much choice so we headed back to Julies. I collected my passport then we filed the police report, I even had to empty my bag to prove no camera was there. Then by chance the really nice tourist police lady dropped us at the airport plaza so we could look at more cameras. She was very sweet and explained they get a LOT of Europeans trying to claim off insurance and lying etc but my camera was gone so I am innocent. She also warned us about the buses between the Kho San road and Chang Mai and the amount of robberies. The girls I met in Vang Viang had been a victim of that so there was no way I was going to travel by this means. Sadly it seems us English have bad reps with the police and other Europeans. Ellie and I had been told the night before by 2 Dutch guys that they hate the English..we did chat to them all night but it's a bit harsh I think. I do not judge other nationalities but it seems some of them judge the English already J After shopping around I found a Olympus camera I liked. It was not as good as my old one, it lacked some features but i get 7% back in a rebate at the airport when Ileave which always helps J With an adaptor for English it cost me 5,655 baht which should of been about £115 but I saw that I got a rubbish exchange from my credit card cash card and it actually cost £127 (I won't be using that one again) I also got a few free bits so it was all good. I am just so happy to have a camera again J After a long and stressful day we took a stroll back and walked for over an hour trying to find the hostel.. fun fun fun haha. Caine was an absolute legend and a great support through the whole day. As he was Malay I think the police were a bit better with me as he was my friend.
The next day Laura, Caine and I rented some motorbikes and headed off to explore. Thankfully the rubbish weather the few days prior had cleared up and it was hot hot hot..We headed to the Wat Phrathat Dori Suthep which is a massive temples which overlooks Chiang Mai and there were some amazing views on the way up so we got some pictures there. The temple was gorgeous but was under repair as well.After that we headed to the train station so I could collect my ticket for my train to Bangkok on Sunday. We headed for a drive around the moat. The inner quarters are surrounded by a moat which is lovely and also it makes it so easy to find your way back to the hostel. Chiang Mai is gorgeous and its much bigger than I expected. It's a massive city in the middle of the mountains. Laura and I signed up to a trek starting the next day, Friday for a night and two days. I really wanted to do 2 nights but did not have the time in the end and combined with bad weather and a dodgy knee. One night was the way to go. My knee has really started to play up when climbing up and down caves and the jungle which is sooo annoying. I have bought a knee support to help when I do long treks. That night we headed to the night bazaar where I bought a pretty anklet 20baht and a black pair of cropped pants 180 baht. It's pretty big and sells pretty much anything.
The next day Laura and I headed off on our trek which consisted of 2 hr trekking, waterfalls, elephant ride, ziplining, bamboo rafting and white water rafting and we would stay in a tribal village for the night. All food and transportation were included. I was so excited about this as I loved the sound of all of it and I was happy with the cost of 1300baht- so cheap really. Our guide was a man from Chang Rai called Yo Yo and he was very sweet and was great guide and spoke excellent English. Him and I did practice a few letters of the alphabet as he had a different way of saying 'h'. There was 7 on the tour, Laura and I.. Jess who we had given directions to Julies only a day prior tagged along.. a Korean couple and two lovely girls from Amsterdam called Joose and Mia. Our first stop of the day was an Orchid and butterfly farm but I had seen it all in Malaysia so wasn't to fussed. The next stop was supplies so we stocked up on water and Oreos J We then drove for an hour or so until we were in the jungle and we ate our lunch which consisted of chicken fried rice which was delicious. It was then we were told it was actually a 4 hour hike.. whoops. I did not mind at all but hoped my knee would hold up. I felt sorry for Laura as she had been pretty unwell a few days earlier so this was a big one. We headed off up the mountain side and into the jungle. We stopped at a bat cave and took some pictures and then carried on. We then passed through the Lucha tribe village and met some cute kids who made friends with the girls and help hands. We then stopped in a hut for a break and had some mountain tea which was very refreshing..we carried on our trek, up and down the jungle.. across streams. I somehow almost always ended up at the front trying to find the way up and down which is probably a bad idea but my knee slowed me down every now and again as I could feel the pain when it twinged L It was a great trek and I could of actually lasted longer which was good as a test of my fitness haha. All in all it took almost 5 hours until we made it to the longneck village. There are about 60 in the village and the women wear bracelets around their necks. These are put on them from the age of 5 and they never remove them.They seemed use to us foreigners and were very friendly. After a shower and some rice and potatoes I was happy indeed. The only thing which drive me crazy was the mosquito bites.. they had a serious feeding frenzy on all of us.. L We headed off to our bamboo hut and played some cards for a while.. during the night it started to rain so we all got a bit wet and had to move around to dried spots where the rain did not come in. Highly amusing and something that I will never get to do again so we laughed about it. I ended up sleeping in a cardi and rain proof jacket.. highly attractive ;)
The next day we woke up early and yes I did sleep somehow. We had toast with a boiled egg and headed off for an hour trek to get back to the road. Our next stop was elephant riding but we did not enjoy it. They hit the elephants with hard objects to get them to behave.. NEVER AGAIN!!! I bought my poor elephant some bananas as I felt so guilty..We then went ziplining, there were 19 platforms with some which meant you 'dropped' from a top platform to a lower one and it was BRILLIANT.. I loved it! The last one went over the river and you could not hold on so it was such a cool feeling..LOVED IT J After some lunch we headed off to do the white water rafting.. After the rain we could not do bamboo rafting as the current was to strong and we could see that on the way up there.. the white water rafting was good fun but I wished it could of lasted longer..I will definitely do it in NZ.. After that we headed back to Chiang Mai.. it was a really wicked trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it.. That evening we met back up with Ellie who was back from her tour and we hung out. I did a bit of research on the next part of my trip down south and just ate and chilled out. I also handed my trainers in to be washed and they came back as good as new today for 30baht so I was well chuffed.. I hear OZ is strict about dirty trainers so these should now be cool.
On Sunday I had a thai massage where I got stretched every which way forward J It was great though and I needed it and for like 160 baht who can complain..and I had a massaman curry- YUMMY before I headed off for my train to Bangkok. I chilled out on the way down. I did not sleep well the night before so I was so sleepy but the scenary was beautiful.. green green and more green which a random stop at a town every half an hour or so and when it got dark you heard the jungle come alive.. it was a brilliant end to my trip in Chiang Mai.