We will always remember this trip. We had a great day with many great moments. It was a lot of fun, sweat and a little drama!
There are so many things to do in and around Chiang Mai, that choice is really difficult. Originally we were debating going for 2 days, 1 nite trekking+ rafting + home stay with Thai family in the small village. As this is our first “nature” experience in Thailand we decided to go for a “safer” just 1 day option. I turned into Trip Advisor for suggestions on one day trekking. After quick research we decided to go with Something Different Tours. What convinced me were: 5 star reviews, price of 1800THB (39EUR) per person with lunch, insurance, and small groups of 2-6 people.
Booking was easy. We were picked up from our apartment at 8.30 and were taken to SDT’s office for coffee, payments and insurance. We also met great German couple who joined us on the trip. It was great surprise to find out that our group of 4 will have 2 guides.
We were driven to our destination in a new air conditioned jeep (about 1.5h away from Chiang Mai). We stopped in 3 different locations to pick up the best food for our lunch. First stop was in the local market were we had nice walk around, tried couple of local products, purchased fresh pineapple and “monkey apples”, then we stopped to pick up BBQ chicken and the last stop was for Pad Thai.
First highlight of the trip was soon after we started trekking. We spend couple of minutes enjoying this spectacular waterfall.
Then we continue walking up the hill. If you planning to take this trip you should have a good fitness level. Although the whole trip was only about 15km long – most of it was up the hill and some paths were tricky.
On the way through the forest our guides were stopping and pointing out cool things. For example we saw this massive termite nest …
… and learned (or should I say attempted to learn) how to use leaves to make music! Well… that was not that easy at all and even beat-boxing skills did not help!
But Romo was not sad for long as he quickly received a very fashionable hut which made him forgot about his musical failure with a big leaf quite quickly 😉
The trip took us through mountains, rice fields and scenic waterfalls. After reaching the top of the first mountain I was relieved naively thinking that now it will get easy but soon enough there was another hill and even more breathtaking views. The whole trip offered a great sight seeing.
After at least 2 hours of trekking we stopped for half an hour to have lunch. We have eaten in a bamboo shelter and enjoyed previously purchased chicken, sticky rice, vegetarian fried rice in banana leaves (originally it was supposed to be Pad Thai but we were not disappointed)! Food was delicious. It really does not get any better than eating tasty food, after 2 hours of trekking on the top of the hill with those scenic views.
After lunch we had our energy levels up and were ready for new challenges. I was ready to take on more hills but was not prepared for crossing the river via bamboo bridge. Believe me it looked way more scary in real life than on the photos but you can see the video for a better idea. The bridge was not stable, it was moving. Right and left handrails were too spread so you could not really walk using both of them. It was one of the scariest walks. Also because bridge is not super durable – only one person at the time is allowed to be on the bridge so I had no assurance. And whats under you… fast running river full of stones… that was scary!
Thought out the day we met few animals but I am happy to say that mosquitos and other bugs were not too annoying. We used twice natural bug repellents and were fine.
After successfully crossing the bridge I was so proud of myself. If I did that… I could do everything. I though… We continue the walk. For the more challenging parts of it I was putting camera to the backpack and was not taking any pictures.
At some stage the path become much more difficult. It was very narrow, we were walking on the slope of the hill with fast pacing river below, there were a lot of stones, roots and mug. My ankles were trembling. I got very tired. I remember thinking… what the hell. Just few years ago I have completed Oxfam Trailtrekker – 100km walk within less than 30 hours. We were walking through a day and nite just stopping for few minutes for food and drink. As I was thinking that I lost my balance and slipped over something and fall down the hill. We were very lucky because if that happened in a different place on the track I would just roll down straight into the river. Here, there was another little piece of land before precipice and Roberto and the guide were able to drag me back to the path. Originally we were worriesd about twisted ankle but luckily I just got myself few bad cuts and bruises. Our new German friend had great experience with first aid the guys were able to put me back on my feet pretty quickly. Nevertheless to say that the further walk was very difficult and painful. From that time I have not used camera. Below pics were taken with mobile.
We finished our trip in the little village from which Cof was from. It was great as we got to experience “real” Thai village not a fake place built for the tourists. Ok… I lied about not using the camera. When we got to the village I took it out and took few shoots:
Despite my little accident this day was amazing. Trekking was at a medium level of difficulty so make sure you are rested and hydrated, being a fit person would also help. Some parts of the trek were challenging and you need to keep your balance and carefully watch your steps. Try not to overload your backpack with. If you own DSLR the best is if you keep it at the hotel and take little pocket camera with you.
This trip was great also because our guides made it fun. They were super friendly and relaxed, funny and chatty. Cof (one of our guides, sorry if misspelled the name!) said to me:
“No joking – no funny. No funny – no happy!”
Both guides were very knowledgeable about the the place which made this trip very interesting. Guys were also extremely carrying and helpful. After accident they were constantly checking with me how I am getting on and Cof demanded that I give him my backpack to carry.
To see more pictures from the trip please visit my photography website – www.annasieniawska.smugmug.com
If you are planning to go for a trekking please make sure you take with you first aid kit (and know how to use it!). The items which I used were:
- First Aid Antiseptic Non Alcoholic Spray (this one came from Stefan’s first aid kit; using non-alcoholic spray will not hear you as much as the spray with alcohol however it looks like all antiseptic sprays in Thailand are with alcohol)
- First Aid Antiseptic, pain killing, antibiotic cream (came from our first aid kit – we actually purchased it in Thailand for some small scratches few weeks ago)
- Few large compresses (came from Stefan’s kit) which went between injury and bandage; we only had small ones which were not large enough for the injury
- Elastic adhesive bandage (came from our first kit) – it was a great discovery for us. Its a type of the bandage which does not require any pins or plasters. You just bandage the leg and it sticks to the previous layer.
- Pain killing tables
If you would live to book One Day Trekking Trip with SDT contact them directly at Something Different Tours.