Today I will ride and elephant, jump into some waterfalls and try bamboo rafting, then tommorrow I will play with Tigers.....
10.02.2012 - 20.02.2012 31 °C
I arrived back in Bangkok after a 10 hour bus ride. It was 6am when we arrived so we decided to get some breakfast together and take some random snaps on Koh San Road...
This is how you look after a 10 hour bus ride! Sinead slept like a baby for the majority of the ride and I managed in total about half an hours sleep!
I then made my way over to Pawes as I was staying at hers for 2 nights before my flight up to Chiang Mai on Monday. Spent my 2 days sleeping, watching films, eating and gossiping with Pawes.
I arrived at my hotel in Chiang Mai where I would be staying for the next 5 nights and headed straight down to eat! Afterwards I logged on to check my mail. I met a french guy called Roman in the internet room as he asked me if I had heard that Whitney Huston had died. I said I had and we got chatting. I told Roman that tomorrow I wanted to explore the city on foot and visit some temples. We decided to do this together because Roman already knew the routes to the temples and in exchange he asked for help him with his English. Specifically grammar! He definitely has not read my blogs! I thought Roman already spoke very good English.
One of the many temples around Chaing Mai
Tuesday arrived, I had been looking forward to today as I was elephant trecking! I got onto the mini bus and was sat next to two English girls who were cousins. Katie and Mel. Funny really as Katie lives in Battersea and works in Victoria, remind you of anyone??? It's a small world! Katie was on a 2 month sabbatical from work and had brought her cousin Mel along for company. Mel has traveled Thailand before with a friend.
We drove about an hour out of Chiang Mai up into the mountains. When we arrived our tour guide Dang took us to feed some of the elephants, they would eat banana after banana. Its fair to say at least they were fed well.
Afterwards it was time to trek. There were 11 in the group. The instructor wanted to take 5 elephants out which meant one of us would have to ride in a 3 and sit on the elephants neck/head. Guess who was the lucky odd bod! However lucky I managed to convince another girl to sit up front as I'm not the best balancer in the world and I much preferred to sit in the basket seat on the elephants back.
We trecked for an hour and it was a great experience. The elephants skin felt like hard leather. I guess it was from the heat.
Once the treck was over Dang took us to see some local villagers and their homes. Dang was a good tour guide as he was very informative.
Heres some of the sites on our treck.
More Rice Paddies
The best part of the trek were the waterfalls..... so beautiful! Id left my camera in my bag so didn't get any pics of me in the water under the waterfall. : (
We took some time for lunch and then it was time for BAMBOO RAFTING. This to was sooooo much fun!
The rule was not wet no fun! However at one point rafting down the river it felt like I could have been back in England as I was that cold! The Thai guys steering the rafts were pretty fun, they said the Japanese always hated getting wet (why would you get on a raft then?!) and would always try and cover up so they would always purposely tip the rafts so that they always fell into the river getting soaked!
On Wednesday I had planned with Katie and Mel to go to Tiger Kingdom. We took a tuk tuk to Tiger Kingdom which was about 45mins out of the city.
We opted to go in to see the large, small and smallest tigers. I was a little scared at first which can be seen in some of the earlier pictures, but I soon forgot my fear and the experience was excellent!
My last 2days in Chiang Mai were pretty much spent by the pool sunbathing as funds were low due to more security issues with Barclays! You would think after the sixth time of telling them that Im traveling they would register this and stop blocking my cards for security!
I had even gone through my emergency stash of cash! Katie and Mel took me to the night market to cheer me up - however I did have to stop and question Katie - you took a girl with no money to the biggest night market??? I still had a good time though and was glad I went.
In the morning the girls left to go to Laos. I was off up to Pai. The bus journey was 3 hours. My lonely planet guide states its a hell rising trip... so I was prepared. Basically we were climbing higher into the mountains and the roads were extremely bendy. If the bus went off track it would have gone crashing down the mountain! I survived and arrived in Pai. I had to look for my accommodation on arrival. I was walking up the road with my backpack when a 50 something Australian man stopped on his scooter. He asked if I was looking for a place to stay as he ran a guesthouse. I said yes and got onto the back of his scooter balancing my backpack on my back! We wernt going to far thankfully! Its funny as you would never just get on the back of someones bike in the UK. However that was nothing as taking on this trip solo I have found myself in many a funny/crazy situation in Thailand!
Yes it really was that cold at night that we had to wear Jumpers!
I checked into the guesthouse and again I put my bag down and went to the bar where I met Adam and Silas. Adam is from Derby, UK and Silas is from Copenhagen, Denmark.
I spent the next 3 nights with the boys! The boys were pretty much on a lets drink our way round Thailand trip.... I decided that I would join them for this in Pai! I later discovered why Adam's trip was about drinking and having fun- I could now understand why. One thing I have learnt from my short stay in Pai is that from all the different travelers I have met and spoken to on my trip, we are all pretty much face and going through the same problems. It's comforting to know this and that actually when we think it's is just us facing them really everyone else is too!
Adam was originally traveling with his friend Monk form the UK but he had to unexpectedly fly home - they had met Silas who was traveling on his own and they've been traveling together for the last 5 (ish) weeks.
Silas is a carpenter who is about to go back to Copenhagen to go back to school and study to become a youth worker.
On the Saturday I got the guest house bar man, Tor, to drive me on his scooter to a pool he knew off. Tor kindly dropped me off and would pick me up 4hours later. It was perfect, the pool was set in the mountain on a fruit farm. The only other people at the pool were 2 mums with their children. It was nice to hear the children running around playing in the background. For me this was the first time I had taken some time out alone to sit, relax and sunbathe in a peaceful surrounding. I really enjoyed that day - if I had have had longer in Pai I would definately have gone back.
Saturday evening I went for dinner with the boys, we had now met Oli, Nora and Lena. Oli is from the UK who was traveling N.Thailand before going back to Indonisia where he had worked for a year. The girls were from Germany and traveling SE Asia for 3months. They had just spent the last month in Laos. In Pai it gets very cold at night around 8pm ish. Its that cold that everyone wheres jumpers and trousers to eat out. I didnt have any but luckily Adam lent me his big Superdry hoodie. I was very cosy! We were watching the football it was the FA cup. (I think) Adam supports Everton. The score was 2-0 so they had made it through to the quarter final draw. I think the match was Everton v Sunderland or Southhampton!
My team Arsenal sadly got knocked out!!!! : (
Nora and Lena
Boys most likely in deep talk about the football
On Sunday I was very excited as I had booked myself into a Thai cookery school. The day before there were 10 students, today it was just me!
How lucky as I got 1-2-1 tuition! The course again was so much fun, I made, Pad Thai, Yellow Paste Chicken Curry, Stir Fried Veg, Spring Rolls and Sticky Rice and Mango. I ate so much foood!!!!!!! My teacher said to me, 'so you don't cook at home do you!' - and that I needed to do lots of practice! : (
I think the cooking course is a top highlight of my trip and I expect that's also due to the 1-on-1 tuition.
My springs rolls were the best Ive had in Thailand so far!
Yellow Paste Chicken Curry
Sunday was the last evening in Pai and I had seen a street artist at the night market that I had wanted to visit for a portrait - so as I had eaten all day I left the others to dine.
The artist was called Uncle Bob?!?! I sat down and he said I looked 19, when he had finished my portrait he apologized as he said I now looked 30! The excuse was, you are very beautiful and it is very hard to draw beautiful people. He had already said this to me half way through the drawing so I wondered if he was building on this to use it as the excuse at the end. I can say i was disappointed with the outcome as I had watched him draw other tourists spot on! I could see Bob was also disappointed with his work but by this time the guys had caught up with me so I paid Bob and thanked him for the portrait.
Maybe I look at it when I reach 30 and it will resemble me more - the hair is spot on though!
Monday I bid farewell to Pai. North Thailand has been fun and again I met many a backpacker! I may meet up with Katie and Mel again at the full moon party in March - as this is the one thing you must go to with a group - mainly for safety reasons.
I now fly back South to do some Island hopping. First stop Phuket!