Sunday, 3 December 2017

THAILAND - JUNGLE TREKKING IN CHIANG MAI

So it’s been a while but I’m finalllllllly back posting again. I spent the summer in Thailand for two months which as you can imagine - was pretty incredible, but soon upon arriving back home I fell quite sick and just as I got better it was time to go straight back to Uni, meaning that I never got round to uploading any content (other than the gram). 

I thought id start with my second favourite part of Thailand - Chiang Mai who narrowly misses out on top spot to the hippie town of Pai. After spending my birthday in the city, and just coming from Bangkok, it was more than compulsory for some secluded time in the jungle. I did a three day jungle trek with a company through my hostel (D-Well Hostel) where transfers, accommodation, food and activities (excluding the elephant sanctuary) were all included for around 1690 baht (£40 roughly). 

DAY 1 : BUTTERFLY & ORCHID FARM

Day one starts with transfer pick ups from your hostel which in my case was 7:30am and then onto picking up the remaining people who will be accompanying you on the tour from other hostels/hotels. I did this trek solo not knowing anyone, but within a hours I was friends with 2 other Brits, 2 Deutch chaps and 1 Spanish girl who were all on the same tour. 

On the way to the jungle you have a refreshment stop at a butterfly and orchid farm which was quite the contrary to the usual petrol station back in the UK... Spending a good few minutes having a gander at some of the impressive butterfly patterns and flowers it was time to get back on route. 


THE TREK, WATERFALLS + RAFTING




The trek was split over three days: to the camp, to the waterfalls/rafting and lastly to the elephant sanctuary. Each day consisted off a good 4-5 hours trekking depending on your ability which would mean it would take you two or so hours to get from camp to the next activity or site, then two or so hours back. 

The waterfalls were pretty cool but each tour had a allocated time slot where as you arrive the previous group automatically leave which was good in the sense the falls were never too overcrowded, but on the other hand meant you had to leave fairly soon as the next group arrived. The waterfalls were home to lots of little macaque’s surrounding the water like the little baby one I managed to grab a selfie with. 

Meals were all included but being a vegetarian the options were fairly limited, just rice and steamed vegetables but after trekking and being in the sun for several hours you work up quite the appetite. 

I personally found the trek not too challenging in comparison to this Sapa trek I did in Vietnam a couple of years ago. It was definitely suitable for the who don't have too much experience with trekking.


ELEPHANT SANCTUARY


Most jungle trek’s include some sort of elephant tour in the jungle and with tourism in Thailand being at an all time peak - especially with backpackers, it is scarily common for backpackers to ride elephants which is something I was strongly against. Instead I wanted to find a sanctuary who truly cared for the rescued elephants wellbeing, even if it meant spending more. Even when tourists believe they are going to a sanctuary they can be misled by false advertising and in reality the 'sanctuary' they have visited is no different to the common elephant trek - doing your homework and digging deep looking at reviews and contacting other travellers is the only real way to avoid this. 

And there is a real sheer importance in rehabilitation centres and their contribution to the welfare and development of rescued elephants who have been bred to perform/entertain from a young age - as unfortunately its not as simple as releasing them back into the wild, so spending a few days helping look after them is extremely rewarding. 

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