The trek would take our little band of 7 (3 British: Maddie, Abi and Pierce, 3 French: Camille, Myrtille and David, and myself) into the hill regions of Chiang Mai, where we would see waterfalls and stay in local villages of the Karen tribe for 2 nights. On the last day we would take an elephant ride and a bamboo raft ride before heading back to our guest house in the city.
The first day took us through the beautiful bamboo forests, and it was fun to watch our guides collecting fruit for us to snack on. Also, I should note that our guides were high as a kite on opium, in the form of massive hand rolled cigs, which they would smoke at nearly every stop. At one point one of our guides started making a bong out of a hollowed out bamboo. It was funny for sure, but also a little disturbing to be out in the middle of nowhere with guides out of their mind on opium. At one point they left us in the middle of the woods while we were eating lunch, and we really, truely were not sure if they were coming back.
The weather was also not ideal for all day trekking. It had to be 90 degrees and the humidity was rediculous. By the time we got to the waterfalls we couldn't wait to plunge into the icy water to cool off. The villages were just about as rustic as you could get; just little bamboo shacks with leaf or reed roofs, a thin mattress and a worn mosquito net. Not too bad to be honest, but after being shown a taranchula nest right outside our shack and told a big momma spider and her little babies lived inside, I was not getting much sleep.
The home cooked food was really amazing on both nights we spent in the villages. On night 2 we had this delishious pumpkin and egg mixture that I could kick myself for not getting the recipe for. It was out of this world!
By the time day 3 rolled around we were all ready to get back to civilization. The elephant ride was fun, but the best part was probably the bamboo raft, which was just some bamboo poles lashed together. You wouldn't think such a thing would stay afloat with 4-5 passengers, but it did, and we even went through some rapids.
Returning that evening to our hotel, I was happy for a clean bed and a hot shower, a of course was happy to have met some more good people. Unhappy to report however, that I would have to wait another 5 days for my debit card to arrive. I can't fault Charles Schwab though, they handled my debit card situation superbly, and I continue to be so happy I switched to that bank prior to my trip.