The trekking in Chiang Mai was the most remarkable experience of our trip through northern Thailand. We did not know quite what to expect from this activity, nor was it even on the list of obligatory things to see or do on our trip.
The activity began the day before with a briefing. We met our guides and they suggested to take good walking shoes, lantern, repellent, water and some snack’s. Everyone could ask questions and all the concerns were about poiseness animals.
When the day came, we met at the agreed place. We were a group of 12 tourists and 2 guides. We followed by minibus, some in the interior, others on the roof and the adventure started even before entering the jungle.
The first stop was at an elephant sanctuary, supposedly. We know that this is a moral issue for many. In fact, at the time of booking the activity, we had not thought about the exploitation of the animals or how they are treated. Simply the question has not arisen. Anyway, looking back, and although apparently there has been no abuse , we now know that, as a general rule, animals in these activities are not treated well. It might not have been right to feed this industry, but, perhaps, concealing this issue here would be even more incorrect. Today, in conscience, we do not advise anyone to do a trekking in Chiang Mai, which includes activities with elephants.
So we went on our elephant back which, sincerely, seemed to us to be well treated. Unfortunately the bananas ended up half way there. It was then that our four-legged friend, unhappy with the situation, decided to use the trunk to give a sneeze to the dutch girl, who was still sitting on his neck. She was sitting in front of us and turned out to be a kind of umbrella, for which we will be eternally grateful.
After that we proceeded to a restaurant at the side of the road, where we had lunch. Two of us, who were not in the best condition, took advantage of the toilet and took some pills to prevent any unwanted biological process in the jungle.
With a full belly we continued to our destination, passing some rice fields before entering the jungle. There, in a lush and lively setting, we saw tarantulas, banana spiders, waterfalls, and even eaten some ants, rich in vitamin C, according to Lah, one of our guides.
Already at nightfall, after hours of walking and absorbing all that, we reached the place where we were going to sleep. It was not even a village. There was a small shed with a small kitchen, a larger structure for the turists to sleep and eat and, with great prominence, a bathroom with toilet. A luxury, we didn’t expect in our trekking in Chiang Mai, in a place where almost everything is constructed with the materials that the forest provides.
As hosts we had a couple and their newborn, three days old. We were received in the best way imaginable. For dinner, at that exact time, they killed a chicken and joined a lot of vegetables. The result was very good.
Once more satiated, we gathered around the fire, with guitars, rice brandy and changs. We sang Thai music and some universal classics. The intensity of our singing went up as the fiery water went down. In the middle, and still before going to sleep, our host went down to a small river right there, threw the net and picked up a dozen fish that flew directly to the fire. Indescribable!
The next day, we washed our teeth in the river, ate breakfast, and started our way back. We were upbeat, but regretting that we opted for the two day and one night package instead of three days and two nights. When we reached the forest frontier, we also had the opportunity to raft on bamboo, before ending our adventure.
Unfortunately we can not recommend the exact company or location of our trekking. But there are lots of options and routes. Regardless of your choice, do not forget to do a trekking in Chiang Mai.