Saturday, 16 January 2016

Jungle Trekking & Staying With A Tribe

On Wednesday morning we got picked up bright and early and headed into the jungle for 48 hours of trekking, rafting and a lot of eating. 


Our first stop was the Mork-Fa waterfall in Chiang Mai's National Park. About a 45 minute drive out of the city centre, it's well worth a visit. We struck lucky and had the most amazing tour guide, Kalu, who pointed out every little nature-related detail along the way and really did know everything about the place. Our tour group was quite small (only 5 including Kalu himself) but worked out perfectly as it meant we had a very personal and private tour and could ask Kalu questions whenever we wanted. 


We spent a good half hour just paddling in the water and sitting on the rocks before moving onto a local food market and grabbing a bite to eat at a little family-run cafe pitched up at the side of one of the roads. They also had the cutest puppy which made the lunch even more enjoyable!


After filling our stomachs it was time to begin the actual trek... When we were asked at the booking office if we enjoyed walking, we didn't realise just what kind of walking we were going to be doing. Not trying to be over the top or anything but the next 3 and 1/2 hours seriously tested our fitness and how well we could keep up. I think we genuinely thought we'd just be walking on pretty flat land with the occasional hill here and there but nope, full on mountain trekking. It was a little bit daunting at first but once we'd found our pace it became so much fun and the views along the way were absolutely incredible! 


Again, Kalu constantly pointed out wildlife and facts about the jungle the whole time as well as singing, joking and basically keeping us all up beat. He even chopped down bamboo trees and carved them into cups for us to use the next morning with our coffee. Genius. 


After the good few hours of walking we finally arrived at the Maenai village in the middle of the jungle where we were staying that night. We were shown to our room (a wooden hut made out of mainly bamboo) and sat down at the table ready to eat what they'd prepared for us. It was delicious and consisted of spring rolls, a Thai yellow curry (our new favourite), sweet and sour tofu/chicken and plenty of veggies and rice. We then spent the rest of the evening sat around the campfire chatting under the stars and singing along to Kalu playing the guitar. He even got us to write a wish onto a paper lantern and released it into the sky with a small firework attached which was quite cute.


We were so shattered from the whole day we were in bed by 9:30! But it was quite cosy sleeping next to eachother under huge mosquito nets. It was colder than we'd expected being in the middle of the jungle in the evening, but we pretty much fell asleep instantly ready for day 2!

There's so many different sites/booking offices offering you treks (which can sometimes be quite pricey for a not-so-great trip), but we booked ours with Chiang Mai Trekking - By Piroon. It cost us 3000 baht (just over the £50 mark) and included pick up/drop off, a 2 day trek, accommodation in the village we stayed at, all food included, bamboo rafting and our excellent guide - Kalu. Many tours offer a cheaper price in Chiang Mai but you're often with a larger group and don't actually go to proper tribes. FYI, the 'long neck' tribe everyone raves about is made up purely for tourists. 

I'd definitely recommend who we booked with as it was well worth the money and such a fun 2 days! Here's the link if you fancy looking into it: 


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