Our Intrepid group for Chiang Mai consisted of: Effie and Anna, 2 girls from Blackpool, Catriona and Suzanna, 2 nurses from Glasgow, Emma from Milton Keynes who works for NVQ, Lisa who has been travelling for 2 years and has no fixed address! Fiona, a dentist from Scotland who is going to work in Oz and Jan who is also from Scotland.... No boys so we can look as minging as we like!!
We started our tour of Chiang Mai on 7th September and left Bangkok by overnight train which left at 5:30pm and arrived at 7:30am. There was a bottom bunk and a top bunk but Sam and Vicky decided to share the bottom as it was big enough and the top one looked a bit dodgy. We got a nice dinner on the train and it was lights out @ 10:00pm.
When the train arrived in Chiang Mai we went straight to our hotel (Hotel Serenity) and had a chance to do some activities or look round the town. We decided to do a half day bike ride which took us to a temple, where the monks live, and then to a rehab centre where people who have had accidents live and sometimes never go home as they like it so much. They have the chance to work and we bought some handmade gifts from the shop. We had lunch on the way back to the hotel and then went to the Chiang Mai Zoo at 2:00pm. That was really good as we got to see pandas, kowala bears, giraffes, white tigers and many more.....after that we chilled out at the hotel and had dinner in the night market and had a quick look around.
The next day we got woken up @ 7:30am as we had to leave @ 8:30 to travel up to the jungle to start our 3 day trek. It took about 3 hours to get there and we stopped for lunch on the way.
The first walk took us 3 hours and we got to a little village at about 5:45pm. It was very basic accomodation and we had to wash in the stream which was an experience. We had a really nice dinner that was prepared for us, chilled out, and our tour leader Tony performed magic tricks which were amazing, then we all went to bed. Another wake up call at 7:30 and we left at 9:00 for our 4.5 hour trek to the elephant camp. We got there in the nick of time as it just started to chuck it down as we were close to the camp. We had to walk up Mamma Hill which was really steep and then down hill to the camp which got a bit slippy in the rain and Sam unfortunalty lost her footing and went down like a sack on a tree root. It really hurt!! We also had to jump a stream and Sam lost my footing and submerged a leg and had sloppy walking boots after!!! We rode the elephants for half an hour which was amazing. A short walk to the next village and another stream wash later we had dinner again which was yummy and then played all sorts of games with our leader Tony and his helpers Mister Andy and Mister Song. They were so funny and Vicky describes them as your annoying brothers.lol. We decided that the games would make good drinking games so will be trying them when we get back!!
Next day: Wake up @ 8:00 am and then we got on a raft at 10:00 which was made out of bamboo and our bags where hanging off a tripod of bamboo at the front. They didnt look too safe but then again neither did we as we were just sitting on this raft with no sides. We had Tony and Mr Song punting our raft and they decided it would be a good idea to chuck us all in the river. It was funny and quite refreshing but after 3 hours we all started to get a bit cold. We had 6 people on our raft: Sam, Vicky, Emma, Lisa, Catriona and Suzanne. And on the other: Anna, Effie, Jan and Fiona. We finished the raft and had lunch then got on our buses to travel back to central Chiang Mai which took 2 hours.
Back at the hotel we were all in need of good showers so after we were all clean we met for dinner @ 7:30pm, had a starbucks and went back to the hotel by Tuk-Tuk, some of the others stayed out and went clubbing. Sam and Vicky didnt feel like it (which may be a surprise to some) so went back to the hotel with Lisa and Emma. Sam came across Die Hard on TV so watched that and then went to bed.
The next day we just wandered around and we got some rings from a silver shop (really cheap) and then boarded the overnight train back to Bangkok @ 4:30pm. There had been some quite heavy rain and in the middle of the night the train had to stop for 4 hours due to flooding so we were delayed arriving back in Bangkok till 11:00am. The train was infested with cockroaches and we stopped counting at 70 of the b*****s that were running out from under the beds. It was horrible and some of the girls didnt sleep it was that bad.
The 2nd leg of the tour starts tomorow and joy of joys we have another overnight train. Some of our group leave and we have more joining us and a new leader... Next stop Malaysia!!!!!!!!