Back in Bangkok I booked a hiking trip through the jungle close to Chiang Mai. Looking back, I could have gotten it way cheaper if I had not booked it there and I could probably have been more selective about the kind of hike I booked, but I am still glad I did it this, because I met a group of amazing people.
Arriving in Chiang Mai
After a ‘quick’ 10 hour night bus ride to Chiang Mai I checked in at the pre booked Hotel. After a nice nap and some ‘not doing anything’ I met the group that I was gonna go on the hike with the next day and we all went to the night market together.
It all started off with a 2 hour drive and a visit to the tourist police, which is mandatory for anyone going into the national park. After that, the first item on our agenda was the elephant riding. When I booked this hike I told the lady at the agency that I did not want to do it if the elephants were treated badly. She told me they were treated well, which was one big lie. When we arrived at the shed where the elephants were chained up I was shocked. I knew about this problem, the fact that elephants were abused just to make money with tourists, but seeing it like that gave me shivers. I didn’t ride the elephants, actually the majority of our group didn’t do it, we only fed them, as we couldn’t bear actively supporting that kind of treatment of the animals. Elephants are amazing and sensitive and they shouldn’t be treated this way!
If you ever go to Thailand, make sure you go to one of the elephant sanctuaries, where they rescue abused elephants and give them a better life, instead of supporting this crap that I had to witness.
After this awful start to the trip it took all of us a while to get back into a good mood. We had lunch and then started hiking. 2 hours, uphill, 38 degrees. Needless to say: we all treasured the waterfall the we could jump into after this. Another hour hike later we arrived at the village where we would stay for the night, got some yummy Thai food, a few beers and went to bed quite early.
The next day we hiked for another 5 hours and ended the trip with an amazing ride on bamboo rafts. This was so much fun and the perfect ending to the exhausting but beautiful trip.
The chance to hike trough the jungle with a more or less funny guide and sleeping in the village on top of a mountain was definitely worth all the sweat and exhaustion.