Sally's Adventures in South East Asia
Chiang Mai is Thailand's second city so a bit like their Manchester I suppose. It has incredible food and shopping. I spend most of my time reading, eating and enjoying the great chilled-out nightlife. After a week of doing mostly nothing. We head east to Chiang Rai. CR is a small town with a great night market and I had the most delicious fish dish of my life in their night markets - chilli, lime and garlic - incredible!!! Whilst in CR I decided to do a two day trek in the mountains and spend the night in a hilltribe village. This was quite an experience. Clare, myself and our guide, Min, head off in a longtail boat for a couple of hours down river, stopping off for lunch at an elephant camp where we can feed elephants sugarcane and bananas. We then visit amazing natural hotsprings before meeting our Akha hilltrip guide for our trek uphill to the Akha Hilltribe village. The only way to get to this village is by trekking uphill in the heat. It nearly killed me. However, we got a chance to cool off in an amazing waterfall where our Akha guide made me laugh by sticking his head under a very heavy volume of water and screaming. We stayed the night in a traditional bamboo hut on stilts. It was not comfortable, there was no electricity and the toilet conditions were diabolical but what beautiful scenery and the starry sky was amazing. Clare and I had amazing food - tuna curry and sweet & sour chicken cooked by our Thai guide as he informed us that we would not be able to eat Akha food. We played cards by a combination of torch light and candlelight until about 5 hilltribe women descended on us with their wares, embroidered clothes, silver jewellery and woven friendship bracelets - talk about direct marketing!!! The Akha allow only a few farang (foreigners) to stay at any one time in their village and trade is an implied term of this agreement. Clare and I were given our own bar which was a bucket of cold water with some cans of beer in it - we paid the next day for what we drank. The next day - thankfully - it was downhill and we got the chance to swim in some hotsprings to relax.