Sunday, July 10, 2005

Our Trek through Chang Dao

Our Chang Dao trek (pictures below)

So for the last few days of our time in Thailand we took the overnight train up from Bangkok to Chang Mai where we took a taxi/truck to Chang Dao where we did some treking. We hooked up with a great company, Chang Dao Nest Treking, who set up a three day trek for us where we were to visit several hill tribe villages and hike to see some waterfalls, caves, etc. We were also set to ride elephants through the jungle and do some bamboo rafting.

The train ride up from bangkok was great. It was an overnight train and we ate and slept on the train. It was pretty comfortable and it was a great ride up there, even though we were 2 hours late when we arrive. We got there and took the taxi/truck up to Chang Dao where we met up with Stuart from Chang Dao Nest Treking. They have a mini resort up there where his wife make some awesome looking food. I want to go back just to eat there. But we were running late so they packed us some sandwiches and we headed out to to the first village. We arrived at the Lisu village and met up our our first guides Ma-ta and Elopa. Ma-ta took us through the jungle and up a river to a great waterfall. The treck was tricky. We had to cross the very slippery river many times up the trail. Chara fell in once, but Ma-ta was there to grab her. he was great. By the end our shoes were soaked with water and mud anyway. We came back to the Lisu village where we slept that night. The Lisu people were great. We stayed up and played card games that made absolutly no sense to us whatsoever and drank their moonshine.

The next day we got up and treked to the Karen village and to another cave and waterfall. We met up with two new guides for this. John, a mid twenties Chineese man, and Sam who was a 63 year old Lisu man who kicked our butts on the trails carrying more than any of us. They were awesome. They took us treking through the jungle all day (and i mean all day). We stopped and had lunch at a waterfall where John cut down a bamboo tree and made dishes,and chopsticks out of it. (see pics below). After lunch we treked the rest of the day to reach the Karen village. About an hour after lunch it began to rain. And it rained. and rained. and downpoured. and rained. The trails became rivers. And there was plenty of mud to go around. It was kind of nice as it distracted you from the hike, but it was plenty wet. We arrived at the Karen village and rested. We had a bit of dinner and played cards with Sam and John and then passed out early. we were tired. The strange things about these villages (at least to me) is that they are somewhat remote as it could take a bit of treking to reach these villages, they have modest structures for houses and such, but they all have TV's. So as we are in the jungle hearing the livestock and jungle bugs/creatures make noises i hear the THX logo in the background as the village is starting a movie in the hut next to ours. Strange...

So day 3 we have to make it back to our train that night to head back to bangkok and the airport to catch our train so today we only hike a couple hours to get to a car who takes us around a couple more villages and to our elephants and bamboo rafting. The elephants were a bit disapointing because first, chara didn't get to take one home and second it was really uncomfortable on those metal platforms you ride on, especially after hiking for a few days. So it was fun, but got a bit long. Similar for the bamboo rafting. It was fun, but after sitting on bamboo in the hot sun for an hour, your kind of done. But we enjoyed it.

After bamboo rafting we hopped back into a taxi/truck and headed back to Chang Mai to the train station. We found that we could take a shower at the train station for 5 Baht, which made us very happy. I ran around the corner and found a used clothing store where i bought some new clothes to change into as most everything i packed at this point was muddy and sweaty. We showered and got on the train for a nice ride back up. I slept great. Chara stayed up all night worried that our train would again be late and we would miss our flight.

The train was on time, we made our flight and we are now home.

The trip was great. The trek was great. Thailand was great (aside from being sick)

There are some things we miss about Thailand, and there are some things we are happy to be home for.


See pictures of all the things described above below...

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