I am gonna try and blog all that has happened to me in the past week and I dont have a lot of time so bear with me. So I flew from Sydney and Bangkok with my friend Kevin and we got there and 1 am in the morning (Bangkok is 4 hours behind Sydney) on the plane we met a really cool guy from England named Tony and he didn't have anyone to travel with so we said he could come with us. The more the merrier. So by the time we got situated, ate and all that it was about 3am.
We had planned to stay a few nights in bangkok but, Tony decided it would be better to go directly to Chang Mai 10 hours north of bangkok and we quickly agreed. So we got a taxi ride to the bus station in bangkok. We paid about five American dollars a person for a 45 min taxi ride. That is right when I knew Thailand was going to be amazingly cheap. So we get to the bus station and book a 10 hour bus ride to Chang Mai for 17 USD (US Dollars) this bus had AC,awesome seats and a driver who spoke semi good English. All in all it wasn't a bad trip at all I had a big seat to myself.
So we get to Chang Mai not knowing where we will stay, we get off the bus and a Tuk Tuk driver (Thai taxi driver) tells us he can take us to a good hostel. We haggle with him on the price of the taxi ride ( I love haggling and am quite a pro now) we get the ride for about 60 baht. 24 Baht is 1 USD so for roughly 3 dollars we got all the way across town!
So we get settled into our hostel and we decided to pay for a week's stay there. It cost me 35 dollars for a whole week. That is what I paid for 1 night in Sydney. It wasn't a bad place at all. The hot water in the shower is a little dodgy but other than that it is good. We are quickly persuaded to go on a 3 day 2 night Elephant Jungle Trek by the owner of the hostel. He charged us about 150 USD everything included. I also wanted to add a little note here about the toilets in Thailand. A lot of the toilets here are "squat toilets" basically just a bowl that you squat over and no seat or rim. So, you have to hold yourself up with your legs and it does take some leg strength. Not only that but, they aren't a fan of toilet paper here so you have either a hose with water to squirt your butt with or a bucket of water you use to wash your butt. It is an interesting system for sure haha.
Before our trek started we randomly met 2 people going on the trek with us. Scott and Ashley also from England ( I am so outnumbered by the English now haha) and we quickly become fast friends with them. The 5 of us are now "The Wolf Pack" a la "The Hangover". We ate together and checked out a night market for supplies for our trek the next day. I managed to haggle a shirt for 120 baht down from a starting price of 800 baht so I got a shirt for about 4 dollars. I love haggling! I got some other stuff too but I just really enjoy being able to haggle.
That was one of the most amazing experiences of my life our guide her name was "Is" and she was amazing! She totally made the trip. So the first day we trek 6 hours into the jungle after a 3 hour truck ride and let me tell you they didn't baby you at all. You had to walk and walk hard for sure! My shoes are wrecked. So we walked all day until we got to our elephants and we each rode an elephant 3 people to an elephant. There were 10 total people on our trek. We met 3 other English guys and a Czech couple. We also really bonded with the English guys. They are super cool.
So we ride our elephants for a while after walking all day ( I was super tired) then we finally arrive to a village with no running water or electricity and had dinner that consisted of every food I hate haha. Lettuce, tomatoes,onions the works.... even tofu! But I was so hungry I inhaled that entire bowl of food! You would be proud mom. We also did a 4 hour night hunt from 8pm to midnight after trekking all day previously and I was so dead tired. I at first thought we were night hunting just for the experience but I later found out we were actually hunting for breakfast. Hunting because we HAD too not because we wanted too. But, with 10 people stomping thru the jungle and couple that with the fact we literally had black powder old school rifles we didn't manage to get any meat that night. So we had a veggie and noodle breakfast.
So second day we get up and and trek all day until we stop for lunch and we had to cut and make our own bamboo bowls and cups with the knifes we bought for about 100 baht which is roughly just under 4 dollars. I almost didn't buy a knife but I am so glad I did because I used it ALL the time! I really took my life in my hands climbing down this crazy steep mountain to go cut bamboo and climb back up it. Considering how many times I fell down or almost fell down on this trek. Everyone who knows me knows I dont have the greatest sense of balance in the world and that coupled with the fact that I just had tennis shoes, and a giant pack on really sometimes I just toppled over. I got quite banged up but, nothing bruised or broken just scratched. My new friend Tony really got a laugh out of all my falls but it was all in good fun.
For lunch we ate bugs we had fished for and some rat we trapped. I wanna add that I was the only person in the group to eat a "Bug Sammich" I managed to eat about 8 bugs all mashed together along with some rat as well. Everyone was quite impressed and this American showed the British how it was done haha! We trekked all day once again to another village where we stayed the night this time in the chief's house. They spoke little to no English but they were so kind and helpful really loving people. It was so awesome the chief of the village opened his personal home to us and the kids of the village sang us a song as well. For dinner that night we ate "Jeremy" a chicken we butchered ourselves which was actually quite good. Although, I did get chicken blood on my shoes. We had BBQ chicken along with veggies and noodles and it was a very filling meal. Honestly we ate more than those villagers get in a week im sure. But we did share our food with them as well.
The 3rd and final day we trekked to a river where we got to go bamboo rafting. This was really an amazing experience. After swinging a tree vine close to the river which was really cool we got on our flat bamboo rafts with 4 people to a raft. plus our captain. We had no instructions whatsoever and our guide didn't even speak English haha. I pretty quickly got the hang of how to guide the raft but managed to fall down some too as you can imagine. We named our guide "El Captain" and had a great enjoyable rafting trip down the river.
After that, our trek was over and we had a 3 hour wild truck ride back to Chang Mai. It was a total blast and totally worth it. It was extremely punishing on my out of shape body in bad footwear ( I left my boots in Australia thinking I wouldn't need them here) but I loved every second of it for sure! and our guide was totally amazing as well she is such a sweetheart.
After we got back to Chang Mai we got proper Thai massages for Thai women prisoners. They have a work release program where the women give massages and some of the money they receive goes to help them when they get released. They didn't speak much English and bent my body into positions I never imagined it could go haha. But they were the sweetest ladies ever! The best part was a full hour only cost me 7 USD! After that I also got my feet done by those "sucker fish" you know you stick your feet in the tank and they suck off all the dirt and dead skin. It felt SO weird but after it was done it was amazing! my feet were so dirty haha that cost me 100 baht for 20 minutes. That is about 4 or 5 USD.
We have just puttered around Chang Mai and done some amazing stuff so far. I am loving every minute of it and price wise it is so much better than Sydney! Today I leave for southern Thailand with my new found friends and will have a blast! I will try and update this as much as possible, im sure I have missed a few little things but I will keep in touch and I think yall are all updated now. I will upload all my pictures to Facebook as soon as I get a chance. Hope you enjoy it. -Ty