March 31, 2019
Jungle Tour + Chiang Mai (Day 5-7) 🐘 🏞 🐍 ⛺️
Day 1 in the jungle:
Many of you have probably been waiting for the report of our 2.5 day jungle trek. So our adventure started on Friday. We had up to get early in the morning in order to have some breakfast to prepare for our long ride to our first destination. At 8:30 a big pick-up truck approached our guest house. They had already picked up 4 people who were going to join us for the next 2.5 days. As things turned out four Germans. Even though they were a little older and close to finishing university their travel plans turned out to be quite similar to ours. On our way to the local market we picked up two more hikers, an elderly couple from the Uk.
After we bought some snacks for the first hike on a local market we continued our ride towards a marvelous waterfall, which was located in the middle of nowhere. Accordingly, we were almost the only people at the waterfall apart from one other trekking group. The waterfall was absolutely stunning. Not only did we enjoy the beauty of scenery, we also went for a swim in the crystal clear rock water.
The next proposed plan was to have lunch at a restaurant next to the road, also in the middle of nowhere. Except from the road the only visible things were nothing less than woods. The food was fantastic! We had a soup, rice with chicken and lots of vegetables and a great number of fruits. Shortly after lunch we arrived at our starting point for the jungle trek. The temperatures had been climbing throughout the day and reached its peak, probably like 35 degrees. Added to this it was extremely dry, which I hadn’t really expected from a rain Forrest, but I guess we have just picked the “wrong” season. Not bad, considering that the dry season also means less mosquitos. Nonetheless, the first thing we were doing was to make sure to cover every single part of our body with bug spray.
The hike led us right through the jungle. It was a little humid and the path was densely covered with many different kinds of plants and trees. We came across many different fruit plants, birds, small snakes and also a great number of small insects. Unfortunately, we did not see many big animals on our first day of hiking. The guide told me that big animals like monkeys or tigers are extremely rare, as humans have been shooting at some of the monkeys. Thus, many monkeys keep distance from any human being and stay in the deep woods. The path was a mixture of up and down and definitely fairly exhausting, with the result that everyone was happy when we approached the small Village.
Soon after that the guides made dinner for us. I have to admit the food had been delicious throughout the whole trek, even if the food was mostly compromised of rice, chicken, eggs and vegetables. After dinner we exchanged many experiences and had some very interesting conversations.
That was the view out of our cabin that we were staying in for the night:
Day 2 in the jungle:
The next day packed a punch. The walk ahead of us was somewhere around 15 kilometers. Up and down with pretty high temperatures. Fortunately, we crossed a few tiny villages throughout the day, where we were able to buy some water off from some local people (taken for granted we only purchased sealed bottles).
Unluckily, some of the woods were on fire and the air accordingly full of smoke. It was such a shame but anyway, we did not want the air to destroy our whole adventure. Following a succinct lunch at a cabin right near a creek, we struggled to hike to the top of the mountain. Right after we had a low we were fast approaching the big river as well as the village, where we were going to stay our next night. The village was only composed of a few cabins. In order to get to our cabin we had to walk through the river though. Personally, I think no one has really cared since everyone was looking forward to swim in the river. Our second and at the same time last evening was so much fun. Not only the food, but also the games we played such as those called “magic games”. The guides obviously also had to show us their so called “happy water”, their local booze. Well, the evening ended with many drinking games.
Day 3 in the jungle:
On our final day we have done some rafting with bamboo boats.
It was totally different to the white water rafting, I have recently done in the alps, as we were standing on those bamboo rafts trying to get around all those rocks while skimming over the rapids. On the 2 hour ride the guides made sure to take a few breaks at some calm places in order to go swimming. On our rafting tour we passed a few animals like buffalos as well as some wild elephants. The last scheduled destination was an elephant park where we got the chance to feed the elephants and take a bath with them in the river.
Of course, no one rode any of those elephants. That was a actually very important to us when we booked that tour. I had been reading many blogs, where people were warning of those dangers and people, who were offering tours like this. But I do not think anyone should support people abusing those animals. Animals should be not be hold in cages and also should not be used for riding. So if you think about booking a tour like this, always keep that in mind and look out for a sustainable agency. All in all It was an unique experience I will probably never forget.
Well, the resume of that adventure is definitely positive as the guides and all those people were super friendly. The food the guides cooked for us was also very delicious. In addition to that I think seeing extremely poor people like this, who live in the middle of the jungle has definitely widen my horizon again and made me appreciate my German life. To my mind, we are all super lucky to be able to eat whatever we want 24/7 not having to work for hours to look for some food and eat rice all day. The only disappointment: Personally, I had expected to see more wild and special animals. Additionally, the air could have been a little nicer. But apart from that, we had some wonderful days.
Tonight, Johannes and I went to visit another local market. On Sunday, there is a huge market in the center of town, where you were able to find literally everything, food, spices, paintings, clothing, smartphone supplies and so on.
We got something to eat, drink and treated ourselves with a foot massage that only costed us 80 Baht (2,22€) for 30 minutes. Definitely something you should do at least once when coming to Thailand.
Tomorrow we are heading to Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island in order to begin our island hopping. That’s it for today. See ya!