One of the main activities that I wanted to do in Chiang Mai, was trekking. I booked a 3 Days 2 Nights but ended up doing only 2 Days 1 Night with a local agency called Panda tour, which was acceptable, but I don’t fully recommend it.
When I booked this tour, which was a week ahead, the agency told me no one else had booked it. So, I was not expecting much company. However, when I was picked up at the hotel at 9 am I was nicely surprised when I saw the rest of traveller, a group of cool and fun people.
Firstly, we drove approximately 1.30 hrs to a market to buy water and snacks. It was an extremely hot day, over 38° Celsius, so I was literally melting away. We drove towards Amphoe Mae district, and at around midday, we arrived at Baan Tunglaron Village where we had a basic but tasty noodles lunch. After that, the group was split for those visiting the Elephant camp (which included me). We then trek for a couple of hours through natural views and various vegetation until we arrived at the Elephant camp.
At arrival, we were welcomed by a couple of volunteers, who gave us information about the camp. They told us that these elephants were used and abused in the wood industry, so there were rescued and now this camp is now their retiring home. The camp has a no riding policy, which is the reason I chose this activity.
I researched and found a divided opinion about riding elephants. I knew I did not want to ride one, but I was not sure if this camp was good at looking after their retired elephants. I believe that there would be no riding at all but another thing that as long elephant is ridden without seat should be fine. I only saw they were being ridden by the manhut to translate them from their feeding place to their bathing place and apparently sometimes travellers ride them too. My fellow trekkers enjoyed bathing the elephants but I only observed since I thought the pond seemed very dirty. I was left with mixed feelings and don’t think I would do such visits again in the future.
After the camp, we then continued the trek and stop along the way in a bat cave.
I was boiling hot, this was a very challenging trek for me, not for its terrain level which was fine, but because of the crushing heat. I literally felt my body and head toasting. I don’t think I ever sweated so much in my life, it was super uncomfortable. The cave was interesting, although the place was foul-smelling, I guess from the bat excrement so I tried to hold my breath at times.
We then continue the walk for around three hours going to different types of terrain, jungle and natural views, despite the intense heat, I did appreciate the natural views and loved the many butterflies “dancing” along the way. At around 6 pm we arrive at a tiny village where we would spend the night. I am not sure of the name, because I asked our guide, and he hesitated before answering “Pradeang”, I checked in Google Maps and it seems to be a small village near Lahu Village.
I don’t know for sure. As soon as we arrived it started raining like there is not end!
After a very nice snooze, we all had dinner at this trek lodge. I must say that it was delicious and plentiful. Despite the many insects trying to steal our food, we managed to enjoy this very delicious meal.
We started early morning with a very energetic breakfast and then continue to enjoy two hours of trekking, where we enjoy various vegetation, flying butterflies our way and even a snake.
We had a break to enjoy swimming and refreshing at a peaceful and quiet waterfall nearby, (which again the guide did not know the name). We then continue until we arrive for lunch at a nearby village. Again, this lunch was plentiful and delicious.
That was the end of trekking for us but not the last activity, after lunch, we were driven to the departure point dock and we enjoyed bamboo rafting for over one hour. This was a very lovely experience we could see the river and local houses, I also saw some people doing zip lining.
After that, we were driven back to Chiang Mai to our hotels. I manage to persuade the others to meet up for a mini post trekking drinks so we could say goodbye and enjoy a little bit of partying before our next destination.
Although our tour guide was very nice, funny and friendly, I found his tour guiding and knowledge extremely poor. He hardly knew anything about the area, or so it seemed, when I ask him questions about different topics such as village names, the name of animals, plants, he never knew the answer. This is not a complaint but merely an observation.
I was lucky to share this experience with nice like-minded travellers, which included people from Scotland, China, Germany and UK!.
Happy travels everyone and thank you for reading!
YOLO (You Only Live Once)
Love from Jenny 😊