Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jungle Trekking & Elephants, Thailand

It’s hard to write about Thailand. Even if this post will be about jungle tracking and elephants… It’s hard to think about Thailand because we are already so excited after our first day in Myanmar. The country where men were skirts, people drive cars on right side of street like in Europe with steering wheel on right like in England, country where we make photos with local people, but on their cameras and where there is 30cm of water on the streets after rain. Simply we feel very good here after one day. But about it later. Now if you interested about jungle, rafting and elephants click read more.
Bath with Rufi

So, back in Chang Mai North of Thailand. We booked two day trekking to jungle including some rafting, elephants and guide to jungle. Food and night was also included so price 1100 bath (25eur) per person low season price. Especially Michal was really afraid of this very popular tourist activity. But Gosia wanted elephants, so this was the easiest way.  
Early morning we sit in a car and we went together with some British girls and a French guy to some Butterfly farm and place where they made paper from elephants poo. So tourists crap as expected.
Butterfly from the farm
Things changed a bit when the driver stops somewhere in mountains and say something like two day trek here. We said halo to British girls and together with the French guy we went to small house where our guide was explaining and painting some map to sand for his son. He said just my son - your guide - real adventure. So we were just three, in front of jungle, with obviously very inexperienced guide. In this moment Michal start to like it a bit.
How to go though jungle!
We lost the way after half an hour. Crossing jungle straight without any path was sometimes a bit hard. Machete would be useful.
Trekking trough jungle
Especially Charlie our French friend had a bit problem with the steep hills. His adidas shoes are made more for walk in city than an in jungle. We crossed some hills, met some women picking mushrooms, than a big scorpion, and a man with rifle who saved us just before a swamp and show us the way. After another 20 minutes we lost the path again... Climbing on rocks in jungle in 40 degrees Celsius is a nice activity but we were also running out of water, we had no idea how long is the way to camp so it was really quite adventure.
Another nice meeting with local people was the field workers. They took a break to say us halo. Offer us water, something for chewing (some sour leads with salt) and roll a cigarette with tobacco and something else. They were very friendly.  
Let's smoke
We arrived to camp early. We had about two hours to dinner and nothing to do. Camp was made like for fifty people and we were just three. We explored nearby village, guides father made a nice dinner for us and we went to sleep early.
Empty Elephant Jumbo Camp
Another day we went to swim to waterfall. Nice, but nothing special. On the way back we saw a group of about 15 tourist and we realized that we are really lucky to have such a small group. From waterfall we went for white water rafting there was almost no white water. We start to enjoy this just because it starts to rain. And tropical rain more intensive than any shower. After some time we switched from raft to bamboo raft. It was also fun thanks to the rain. There was no one on the river and we really enjoyed it.
After lunch came the final part, especially for Gosia. The Elephants. We came to place where there was about six of those huge animals. We were standing on kind of bridge a bit above elephants heads.
Michal on Rufi
Mahout (person who cares and train elephant) point to Michal and elephant, like go to this one. So Michal just step on elephant head and went to his back. It was a strange feeling. And Gosia sit behind his neck. Another elephant was for Charlie. We take a ride on our Rufi across river and back.
Later we had an opportunity to wash those elephants in river. Just Gosia and Charlie did it. Michal was a camera guy staying on the bank. 
Washing  and playing with the Elephants
Riding elephants in Thailand like a tourist attraction is a bit dilemma. Elephant is a wild animal and to train elephant takes a lot of mens work and elephants pain. Today most of those elephant camps seems to be eco friendly and care-taking about elephants welfare, they dont perform circus like shows anymore but anyway its a business. We enjoyed it a lot. To be so close to such a big animals is really amazing.
Our last stop was in a long neck village a bit controversial place. Museum like village where you can see women with long necks. Its an old tradition originally from Myanmar. Women are putting metal rings around their neck from childhood. More and more and after years they have enormously long necks. Once sign of beauty is today a huge tourist attraction. We will maybe see those hill-tribe people in more authentic environment in Myanmar and we decide to wait in front the gate and play with local children. Charlies words after he comes back: Very interesting, but its not a village, just shops and it looks like the women wont to be there”…
Uncle Michal
There is one more attraction in Chang May we skipped. Tiger Kingdom. You can make photo of you with live tiger. You can choose size of tiger from kitten to big one, put your hand or head into his mount... Would be pretty cool photo on Facebook, but honestly do you want to have photo with animal on drugs which is sleeping 20 hours a day... Not for us.

So conclusion, our two day track was amazing. We really enjoyed it. But we was lucky to have small group. Otherwise it would be just tourist crap. 


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  2. It was a great treak!
    Alot of suvenires!
    It always fun to read it again and again!