Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Thailand Travels: Day 9, Day 2 of the Hill Tribe Trek

Last night was pretty hard going. It was absolutely freezing in the hut! Mainly because there were huge gaps in the bamboos that made up the walls! I woke up with lots of bites all over my arms and legs which could have be from mozzies or bed bugs, since I foolishly didn't have a sleeping liner. I was also busting for the toilet as it had been too cold and I had been too scared to go outside in the dark.

There are no hot water taps at the village so it was a baby-wipe wash for me. I felt pretty gross, especially after the trekking the day before, but this is all part of the experience and what I signed up for, so I decided to embrace it and not moan. Breakfast was hard boiled eggs, toast and jam and more pineapple! Pineapple seems to be a staple for all meals out here...

We left the village at 9:30am and started on the second leg of our trek. Today was going to involve another 3 hours walking, so I mentally prepared myself for another knackering day, and I wasn't disappointed. I'd worn walking sandals as I knew we were going to be doing bamboo rafting and it wouldn't matter if these got wet but this was a bit of a mistake where the treking was concerned. We were walking up and down slippery hills with loose rock and and pickerly foliage so there were a few times when my open toes were jabbed or stabbed. I also ended up on my bum a few times which Nanoo said meant I had to buy him a beer for every fall... Nice try Nanoo.

At one point Nanoo let us stop and rest for a moment, half of the group sat down on a bamboo bench which instantly buckled under everyone's weight and sent everyone tumbling to the floor. It was a classic you've been framed clip and had our tour guides laughing their heads off at us.

After 3 hours we turned a corner and saw the elephant park. Hurrah! At last my feet can rest!!! We stopped for about an hour and ate lunch provided by the park. It was a rice free day for a change which we all appreciated. We had a tomato pasta with vegetables and it was so good I had seconds. And the staple pineapple made an appearance again for afters. Although, I was so hungry from the trek I literally would of eaten anything. (Bar perhaps one of those bugs from Khosan road!)

Then it was time for one of the activities I have been looking forward to most on the trip... elephant riding! Kirsty and I shared an elephant with Emily, we took the seat and Emily went on the head of the elephant! You wouldn't believe how hairy and prickly the elephants' skin was!!! Emily was cursing that she was wearing shorts as his skin was rather uncomfortable between her legs.

I'd been really excited about riding the elephant but once we started moving I realised that it was actually terrifying! There was nothing strapping you into the seat and as we started to walk down the really narrow paths that sloped downhill I started to panic that either me or the elephant might slip and I would go tumbling down the hill.

"There's no seatbelt" I squealed as the elephant took slow but wobbly steps downhill.

I also had Carlos's camera so I was supposed to be shooting pictures of him and Sarah on their elephant. However I was freaking out so much I couldn't let go of the side bars on the seat. Kirsty, bless her, was laughing at me, which was actually encouraging me you see the funny side of the situation and preventing instead of having a full-on panic attack.

After 20 minutes we reached a halfway point where we were able to get off. We swapped with group that hadn't yet rode an elephant and I got to relax on solid ground again. Ahhhhh.

The final part of the trek was a 2.5 hour stint of bamboo rafting which was amazing for the first hour, when the sun was out and we were having a laugh splashing each other. After a while though the sun started to go in and our bodies were really caning from the trekking and standing in the bamboos. I was wet from an earlier water fight with our bamboos and decided to reach for my jumper and trousers, which were wrapped around my daypack and hanging from a bamboo pyramid at the front of the raft. As I reached for warmth, my clothes tumbled into the river. Bad move.

The journey from this point was pretty hard going. Every so often I'd ask our rafting guide how much further and he'd say half an hour. After a while a realised there's a big difference between an English half and hour and a Thai one. The next time I asked Sek how much longer, he asked me, English time or Thai time? I smiled and realised I wouldn't know until we arrived.

We did arrive in the end and it was all I could do not to flake out on a bed there and then. I managed to stay awake for dinner and play a very funny game called "Hi Harry" which Nanoo taught us. It involved repeating a sentence correctly to the person sitting next to you and if incorrectly repeated you had charcoal drawn all over you face as the consequence. For every incorrect sentence repeated a new marking was made to the players face. The sentences also changed depending on who you were sat next to and how many markings they had on their face. Naturally we used this opportunity to make our group look as funny as possible. So, mono brows, mostoshes, tashes etc.

As you can see it got a bit messy before we went to bed...


  1. It sounds like day 9 was more tiring. Never mind it's all good for you. Enjoy!! x

  2. Day 9 was the hardest day of the trip! But I wouldn't change anything as now I can say I did it all! :) x