Trekking is supposed to be great in Northern Thailand and we had been looking forward to a hiking trip in the jungle. It’s really hard to work out which company to go with as there seem to be hundreds in Chiang Mai trying to sell you their services, so we just went with our hostel recommendation for a 3 day trip and we were really glad we did, as the trip was one of the best things we have done so far. It was only Sam and I with one other person and the guide and we didn’t see another tourist the whole time we were away.
We started the trip by visiting a beautiful waterfall, swimming underneath and almost accidentally stealing a little boy that followed us for ages, including swimming in all his clothes.
We then went to the Huay Nam Dung national park, where we started hiking. We stayed each night in local villages, with no electricity, amazing food, camp fires and some great views of the stars. We got up close and personal with some interesting wildlife including a tarantula, a water snake, a green snake and a python, as well as a friendly elephant!
Elephants are awesome.
A hilltribe village
On our final day we went bamboo rafting. This was a proper homemade bamboo raft, made of just bamboo and reeds, unlike the “bamboo raft” we went on in China which had an engine and comfy seats! We stood up with our feet practically in the water, steering the raft with a bamboo pole. It was great fun and a beautiful way to see the river and the jungle scenery.
After 6 weeks in Cambodia, crossing the border into Thailand was a pleasant relief, with paved roads, lots of English everywhere and people driving sensibly on the left.
Crossing the border from Cambodia to Thailand
We’ve realised that we’ve got a lot of Asia left to pack in before our flight to Australia in January, so have decided to head straight to the north after one day in Bangkok and then go to Laos and Malaysia for Christmas. We will have to save Thailand’s southern beaches for another trip.
Bangkok was just like people had described to us – crazy busy and sprawling, so one day was enough for us to see some of the main sights and get started on eating a lot of thai food.
Bus station Thai curry
We saw the world’s largest solid gold Buddha and the world’s largest reclining Buddha and managed to miss any sign of the massive political protests that are going on somewhere in the city.
After some good street food we were happy to get the night train to Chiang Mai, although they weren’t a patch on the Russian trains! Chiang Mai was a nice place to spend a few days and to use as a base to explore the jungle and mountains that surround it.
Our first job was to find a cooking class so we can recreate some of this yummy food for ourselves (and maybe our friends and family) when we get home. We spent an awesome day at a farm on the outskirts of the city learning how to make lots of different dishes, including pad thai, green and red curry, spring rolls, thai beef salad, tom yam soup and mango with sticky rice.
It was all delicious, and hopefully we will be able to find all of the ingredients we need in Penryn Asda.