A Travellerspoint blog

Tiger Kingdom & Thai Cookery Course

Last Day in Chiang Mai

After leaving the Jungle, we arrived back at the hotel in Central Chiang Mai and decided to visit the Tiger Kingdom! This was not quite like walking around London Zoo as we could jump in the enclosures with the Tigers and 'cuddle up' to them for a photo! We were told they are trained in the morning and we see them at the hottest part of the day so that they are tired! This wasnt overly reassuring but nether the less we still headed over to the biggest tiger and got involved! We were allowed to take our own photos as well.

Later that day us and another 2 couples thought we'd learn how to cook some Thai food so went along to a class. We started off walking around a local food market which consists of about 10 types of everything you can find in England. Then onto our class; We were taught how to cook prawn soup, red Thai curry, stir fry noodles and sticky rice with mango desert.

At 6pm we boarded our sleeper train back to Bangkok, said a few emotional goodbyes to the other 14 people (including the legend tour guide Thye) and now we're on our own!!.......

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Posted by pjr6 20:56 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Hilltribe Trek

Soggy Clothes / Soap / Bamboo worms!

As a group we jumped in pick up trucks and headed into the outskirts of the jungle.

First stop: Elephant riding; What an experience! By this point it wa pouring with rain so our ride was a lot wetter than we would have hoped for. It wasn't quite going to be a short 15 minute gentle walk on flat ground, but quite the opposite. The rain had caused knee deep mud, not just for us but for the elephant too which resulted his back legs often sliding around when walking up and down what felt like hills of about 25 degree gradient. By the end of the 45 minute ride we were both drenched and wet clothes were not the best way to start our 3 day trek!

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Second stop: Waterfall & Lunch; We stopped off for lunch at a beautiful waterfall, me and a few other dare devils went in which was fun until a stone fell from the top bruizing my back and I could barely lift my right arm for the remainder of the day. Luckily Nat was on hand with some witch hazel.

Village One: After more soaked clothes we headed deeper into the jungle with a 2hr trek to our first village stop. This was our first real taste of how the locals live and survive and it was quite something. Despite not having electricity or a proper shower we were soon bathing in the river and this is when it happened....

...This was the perfect opportunity i thought (Nat) to try out the shampoo/soap bar that I had hunted for weeks for. Only one problem....Paul used it first and he was actually very impressed as it acted as an exfoliator and lathered up perfectly! He then clumsilly threw it in my direction forgetting we were in a fast moving river and it was gone in a milli-second! So there I was in the middle of the jungle minus my precious soap! We could hardly pop down to the local 'Lush' to get another one when they dont even have showers!

We helped the locals prepare dinner by rolling the spring rolls. After our Thai buffet feast over candlelight we played games with the locals and had brilliant old fashioned belly laughs and beer.

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The next morning one fo the guides took us on a tour of the village, he showed us how the women spend the morning making rice whilst the men are out at work in the paddy fields. It was so nice to see the villagers so happy and with so little. It really made us appreciate how much we have at home.

Five minutes into our 5 hour trek to Village two we came across a local with some worms she had just extracted from a bamboo tree. I thought I would embrace the situation and pursuade Craig (fellow tourist) to eat one with me! Much to the dismay of the girls, we had these live maggot looking things crawling around in our hands and after 3 we both went for it! I strictly chewed on one side, it was actually OK and a bit milky. It was more the psychological damage it caused over the next few hours of walking thinking about what I had just eaten!

We were faced with having to climb what our tour guide Thye descibes as 'Big Mumma' and I would agree that is probably the best way to describe it too. Nat and I were in absolute agony but the stunning views along the way made it easier.

Village Two: Whilst walking into the village we noticed some locals playing football on a field to the right. This was pretty cool as I knew we had a few hours to kill before dinner and after a quick once over of where we were going to sleep that night, I grabbed 'Stuart' (fellow tourist) and we headed back over the field. Well it's safe to say that after a 5 hour trek, 45 minutes of footbally against young fit teenagers was never going to be successful. They even started using tricks on us and one took a shot from the half way line which I was NOT letting in. As I was running backwards towards the goal I approached it a little sooner than I would have hoped and ran straight into it, banging my arm against the bar and ending up on the floor with both feet stuck in the net! With no energy to move and Nats little laugh in the background, I just stayed on the floor and waited for someone to untangle me!
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The evening consisted of more games and beer and another sticky nights sleep!

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Posted by pjr6 03:37 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chiang Mai (The North)

sunny 23 °C

We went to visit the reclining Buddha at Wat Poh - in the heat of the midday sun! Not the best idea but a pretty amazing sight as it is a 46meter long, lying down statue.

After a pretty hectic few days we headed back to the hotel to chill before boarding our sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Our expectations of the standards has been really low which I think has helped as we have been pleasantly surprised now a few times. We were really impressed with the train, large seats which then turned into bunk beds, allowing us to attempt to get a good nights sleep - especially after all of the Chang beers Paul had consumed!

(Paul) Our tour guide "Thye" (who i have taken the liberty of learning his full name: Chumpan Kosomota-Oyutuya) insisted on taking us around 4 temples and giving a 25 minute lecture of the history of each one! By this point we were both 'templed-out' and decided to treat ourselves to a 'Thai style' massage for the mere price of 2 pounds. After 30 minutes of Thai women walking up and down our backs whilst we silently groaned in agony we were aching in places we weren't before.

We are off to the night market this evening with our group, before heading off on our 3 day Hilltrek tomorrow morning.....

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(Any physical contact with the Buddhas is strictly forbidden!

Posted by pjr6 01:22 Archived in Thailand Tagged chiang mai (humid!) Comments (0)

Week 1 - Bangkok

Bangkok

sunny 27 °C

After many emotional goodbyes we headed off to the airport to board our flight - we managed to get an upgrade through our Quantus contacts, we enjoyed a spacious flight with lots of leg room and free champagne :) We enjoyed every moment of it, as we knew this may be our last bit of luxury for a while!!

When arriving in Bankgkok, it felt like a million miles away from home, although cheap, we felt like the only Westerners in a big city, but we embraced the culture and decided to head out to explore - first waiting for it to get dark of course because this made the little backstreets look far more inviting!! Bangkok is also famous for the 'tuk tuk' which is the equivalent to London's Rickshaw (pedal Taxi) but in Bangkok it's motorised and they drive like absolute nutters! We took one for about 2 miles for only 10 Baht (20pence) later to find out that he receives a backhander from the restaurant he dropped us at. This isnt a big problem unless you order the most expensive item on the menu! (thanks Nat!)

After a well earned sleep we got up the next day and began looking through our guide books, we decided to head to Chatuchak Market, which is a huge market (35 acres to be precise!) in Bangkok selling everything you could think of. We managed to get ourselves there on the tube, 15 stops for only 80p each way, then we spent the day wandering around the market, stopping to sample the local cusine and the cheap beers.

We then headed back to our hotel where we met our tour guide and the group that we will be heading to Chiang Mai with. After a brief chat about the trip we all headed out to a local restaurant for dinner together (bit of a bonding session!) We had a lovely meal, and beer all for only 3 English pounds!! The heavens then opened and it poured for the whole evening, but we didnt let that stop us heading out to the Kho San Raod (famous for travellers wanting to party!) with the group for some cheap drinks. Finishing the night of course with a ping pong show, which was an experience!!

We are now off to see the reclining Buddha before boarding our 13.5hour sleeper train to take us up to Chiang Mai in the North to begin our trek!

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Posted by pjr6 22:52 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok Comments (1)

The Countdown.....

28 Hours to go:

Hi all,

Only one day to go and we are slowly getting all of our bits together..whether it all fits in our backpacks is another matter!! Both feeling really excited now but of course a bit anxious, can't wait for the adventure to begin...watch this space for our updates, we will try and blog our journey as often as we can...enjoy :)

Nat and Paul xx

Posted by pjr6 05:52 Comments (0)

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