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Well after our very productive day of sightseeing around Chiang Mai we got up early the next morning to head off on our three day trek. At the meeting the night before we had met our group (2 Yanks, 2 Kiwis, 2 Dutch & us three) and had been told what to pack (as little as possible as we had to carry it around) so we were all set. We were bundled into the back of a truck... yes like something the farmers would use back home, two benches down each side and no windows and sure seatbelts - what are they?! Anyway the drive took about one hour getting out of the city and we travelled further and further into more rural parts.

First stop was the elephant ride!! This I have to say has been the highlight of my trip so far... mainly because I have never laughed so much in all my life... I’ll explain... We pulled up at the elephant camp and saw all the elephants at their posts. Each pair was allocated an elephant as there was just about room for two people on the seat, of course there are three of us so one person had to sit on the elephants neck. We didn’t realise this until we were nearly on the elephant and luck of the draw, poor Sophie just happened to be the last to get on and she got the pleasure of sitting on the neck! Problem is you are so high up and there’s not much to hold on to, Megan & I were wobbly enough in the seat never mind down on the neck, and I don’t know if you've ever sat on an elephant but their skin is sooo bristly. According to Sophie it was like sitting on a brillo pad! Of course they had only laid out a wee tea towel for Sophie to sit on so with every bob up and down she was getting her legs scourged! To top it all off its big ears were flapping back against her legs and she was squealing with every step it took!!! So as we headed off.
We would stop along the way you have to buy elephant feed (a bag of bananas) the elephant of course was well aware that we had bananas so up came the big trunk roaming around the three of us looking fed.
Well if you haven’t imagined it by now we were squealing the heads of ourselves laughing as if we didnt feed it BLEW! Yes dirty rotten elephant breathe with elephant spit all over us - YUK!!!!
Again poor Sophie got the brunt of it all - more squealing and laughing!! After the elephant trekked us down some really steep slopes and up some hills we stopped at another post for more 'feed'. At this point we managed to get Sophie up on to the seat with us, no matter how big a squeeze it was, it just wasn’t safe to continue on the way we were! The ride finished with us getting a few pictures with some of the elephants and the baby ones too.
They really are MASSIVE creatures and it was cool to be up close beside them, although as much fun as it was I don’t think I’d do the elephant ride again as its horrible to see them all strapped up with seats and harnesses. If they went the wrong way they make you beat them with sticks. (we wouldn’t hit it!).

After that we drove on a little further and then got told to grab our stuff - the trek was to begin! The aim for the day was to get to our camp stopping off at a waterfall along the way. Of course we knew that to trek up a mountain you have to go uphill but I don’t think we'd really put that much thought into it especially as to how hard it would be in the blistering heat!
About one and half hours of trekking up small narrow paths of uneven ground, crossing streams, making our way through bramble and bushes and getting covered in flies and bugs (sticking to our suncream) and listening to random creatures in the bushes not to mention the few random cows and buffalo that we passed we eventually reached the waterfall. It was just gorgeous and a very welcome break from the trekking! Stopping by waterfalls was the only method of washing that we were going to have for the next three days. After an hour of jumping in and out of the waterfall and lazing about the sun we headed off for another couple of hours trekking. As usual the three Scottish girls were lagging behind and its not like we are totally unfit but hello, you would have needed to have done some training for this type of exercise! Plus with the huffs and puffs of us and the three red rosy Scottish complexions I think the rest of the group thought we were going to have heart attacks!

We eventually reached our camp... a small wooden hut with a few logs outside arranged so we could have a campfire. Hardly 5 star but we wanted to live the jungle way of life so this is what we got! The wooden hut had 9 groundsheets laid out with a few blankets out mosquito nets draped over them. The cooking was to be done by the tribe people living in the neighboring hut and the toilet of course was another hut outside (basically a hole in the ground). After dinner which I have to say was lovely, it was getting dark so we lit the fire and huddled around it and starting singing to amuse ourselves. It was good crack, (tragic to listen to) and after a while a guitar was produced and our guides entertained us with some of their Thai music (again their singing voices weren’t X Factor material but it was all very amusing!) The Thai beer is lovely but after all that rice and noodles we were feeling way too bloated. We packed ourselves off to bed (well if you could call it that) searching around with torches to make sure we picked the right bed! Eventually getting some well deserved rest ready for the day ahead.... we were to visit some of the mountain tribe people villages and yes more trekking!!! The guide informed us it was more uphill and over the course of the three days we would trek 28KM in total....AAAAHHHHHH!!!!

Written by Carole McCormack. Aberdeen, Scotland


Chiang Mai

Carole McCormack, Scotland

John Donalds, England





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