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Chiang Mai

Written on: Monday January 28th, 2008

After a few hours on the mini bus we arrived in the Northern Thai town of Chiang Mai - famous for its temples (there are over 300 of them - urgh) and its hill trekking. It had still been pissing down with rain all day but had eased up a bit once we arrived.

By now I had been in the company of the Argentinian guys Pato and Santi (Patricio and Santiago) for a night and a day and had clicked really well with them, so we all got a room together in Chiang Mai and I joined them on a two day hill/jungle trek starting the following morning. This was pretty tame as far as trekking goes, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The first day consisted of a 3 or so hours walk into the jungle to stay with a local hill tribe for the evening. Unfortunately they didn't show up until pretty late, by which time I was pretty drunk and so I missed most of them. I think I remember seeing one of the "long neck" women (you know the ones you've seen on a documentary with a load of gold rings around there necks) behind the shack style bar they had put in the middle of the camp.

The second day included another couple of hours walking and then Elephant riding. This wasn't as good as you might think, as most of us couldn't help feeling sorry for the poor beasts who were forced to walk around the same circuit all day long carry tourists on there backs.

After this we enjoyed a rather short white water rafting session, followed by a ride on a bamboo raft which was half sunk.

Perhaps the highlight of Chiang Mai was in the city itself, were we spent a day walking around the place and looking at the temples, and stumbled across a Monk habitat without realising what we were walking into. We were greeted by one of the monks who kindly showed us around the place and introduced us to the younger students. A completely unexpected but fantastic experience.