Well, 4 days of trekking through the hilltribes, do I have something to blog
The first day started with a stop off at the markets to buy food for the
journey, then we headed up into the mountains in the back of a ute. The road
was incredibly steep and narrow, while it was sealed, there was only really
room for one car on it. There were heaps of blind corners, everytime our
driver came up to a corner he would beep his horn to indicate to anyone coming
around the corner that he was coming. We drove along this road for almost an
hour, before coming to a village, where we met our porters. We then hiked to
our first village, in just over an hour. My group was all very fit, we did the
hike in about half the time that the groups usually do it. Our guide struggled
to keep up with us, while the porters had no problem, because they are locals
to this area and used to it.
In the first village, the women all dressed quite well, wearing purple and lots
of bright colours. There were around 20 people in this village. They all came
to us and did a tribal dance for us, where we joined in. The interesting thing
about this dance was that the music was very simple, they had a 3 string
guitar, and only played 2 chords, with plain straight strokes the whole time.
The dancing was just holding hands in a circle around a fire, and stepping
sideways, stopping every few beats to stomp on the ground. Our guide told us
this is the only dance and song that they do, and they will do this over and
over all night. And they loved it. I found that really odd that they could
get so much enjoyment out of the same simple thing over and over and over
Our dwelling was a simple grass/bamboo hut, where all 15 of us slept. The beds
were simply a raised floor on each side of the hut, with grass matts. It was
very uncomfortable, I hardly slept that night. Our guide made us a really nice
tofu green curry for dinner, I think it was the best green curry I've had since
coming to Thailand, it was very spicey.
I was woken up at 5am by the roosters crowing. All the villages we went to had
chickens, cows, pigs and dogs. I slept in as much as I could before breakfast.
When I went outside, women from the surrounding villages had come and set up
little market stores on plastic matts in a circle to sell hats, bags, drink
holders and jewellery that they had made. The funny thing was that every
single store was the same, each woman had made exactly the same stuff. So,
after looking at one womans products, you had seen them all. But, we still
felt obligated to have a look at every store. It was quite painful, saying no
I'm not interested 10 to 12 times.
The toilets on the trek were probably the hardest thing to deal with. The
toilets were squat toilets, in a little room, some of the rooms were made out
of bamboo and so if you went at night, you had to turn the torch off otherwise
everyone could see in. There was no flush, the flush was a big bowl of water
beside the toilet with a scoop, you would scoop the water into the toilet to
flush it. To shower, there was another bowl of water with a scoop, and you
would scoop the cold water over you. And it was all very dirty and muddy.
Needless to say, I was very relieved to be able to use a sit down toilet when I
got back to the hotel.
The second day was the longest trek, though we did it in about half the time of
most groups. I think our guide said that there are usually some older people,
50 to 60 year olds on the hike, that slow the group down. Our oldest people
were early thirties, and they were all very fit. For lunch we stopped near a
waterfall, and swam there. Seeing as it was the rainy season, there was a lot
of water going down the water fall. The bottom of the waterfall was all
pebbles, and the pebbles would be moving about in the turbulant water so that
it was a little painful to be in front of the waterfall. But exhilarating none
At times the hike was very steep. Going up hill, this was ok, I enjoy walking
up hill. There was a really long up hill bit, usually it takes the group 90
minutes but we did it in 40. That was great. But the down hill was painful.
The track was very muddy and slippery, and so it was very easy to slip over.
Fortunately, I never did slip over, but I busted some pretty mad dance moves.
The scenary was incredibly green, mud aside, the wet season really is a good
time to go trekking in Thailand. I got a number of very nice photos. The
village we arrived in that evening was very basic. There were 2 teenage girls
there that we tried to talk to in their dialect using our phrase sheet, but
they just laughed at us. That was probably the hardest night, because it
rained a lot, the roof of the hut leaked, and everything was just very wet and
muddy. And by that time, everyones clothes stunk. There also wasn't as much
room in the hut.
Day 3 was meant to be a fairly quick bamboo rafting trip. Unfortunately
though, the river level was too high and moving too fast, it would have been
dangerous, because there water was flowing through fallen trees, if the raft
turned over and anyone went into the trees, they would have been dragged under
the branches, and if they got caught underneath, they would have been dead.
So, instead, it was a 4 hour hike. The hike actually wasn't too bad, it just
followed the river, went up and down as tracks that follow rivers do, but
nothing too steep. Everything was very wet though and a number of people,
including myself, got leaches on them.
Our campsite that night was not in a village, it was at a hut beside the river.
Compared to the previous 2 nights, this hut was 5 star luxury, the beers were
cold! That afternoon we went for elephant rides. It was kinda fun, but
elephants are big smelly and disobedient animals, they kept stopping for food.
We had a great night that night sitting around the campfire playing games and
I actually had a good nights sleep that night, they had (thin) mattresses in
the hut, and it had a proper tiled roof. The beer probably also helped.
Day 4 wasn't much of a day, basically we just said goodbye to our porters, and
drove back to Chiang Mai. Our porters were great. Because of the language
barrier, having fun with them meant really basic jokes, mostly about being gay.
The word for lady boy in Thai is ka-toi. So we were telling our porters they
were katoi, and they were saying no, I'm rambo, you katoi. It was all lots of
After getting back to Chiang Mai, most of us ordered masseuses to our rooms.
We then went out in the evening and went and saw some Thai boxers sparring, and
drank a lot of cocktails.