I had always wanted to take a ride on an elephant so after I had been in a relaxing position for a couple of days after my arrival in Chiang Mai I decided to pop to my hotels’ booking desk and inquire about the trips that were available.
After looking through the many different options, I decided to go for an elephant trek, followed by a visit to two hill tribes before finishing off with a trip down a river in a Bamboo raft.
The next morning , around 8.30 I made it to the hotel’s lobby to meet my guide who was waiting to meet me. We exchanged pleasantries and I was ushered in the van. We picked up four other adventurous travellers from different accommodation options in Chiang Mai. I was the first person to be taken away.
After about an hour of driving we reached the camp of elephants after which we jumped out of the people carrier and walked across a tiny rope bridge, where our next transport was enjoying a meal of palm leaves. After an introduction to the camp and a short discussion from our guide, we headed on our way. Visit:- https://treladatthanh.com/
It was easy to climb on the elephantbecause there was a wooden platform that we could sit on at elephant’s height.
It took us approximately an hour to ride through the woods. It wasn’t like we were following a particular path. We just fell through the trees. I’ve always imagined an elephant ride to be a lot smoother due to some reason, however it was more of an enjoyable ground ride however this could have been due to some connection to the sloping of the incline we were ascending or the fact that my animal was far too attracted to eating everything it saw rather than following the instructions its Mahout was barking out.
The toughest part was getting off the elephant. The dutch couple was first to attempt to dismount the elephant, this time on a wooden platform. However, as the lady stepped onto that platform her elephant decided to walk away. One of the tour guides attempted to hold it but she lost control and fell 10 feet to the forest floor. I don’t know how she escaped, but maybe she was an acrobat.
After the incident, I was relieved to know that my animal stayed where it should and I got onto the platform safely.
After saying good bye to the elephants, we returned in the people’s carrier and we drove for 30 minutes to visit the Hmong village, which is an indigenous hill tribe in which the women were still weaving in the traditional manner handed down through generations over hundreds of years. Children from the village had the opportunity to rob unsuspecting tourists of their money and also make a profit.
After spending time in the village, I was amazed by the enormous pigs that were tethered underneath the homes. Then, we trekked through the forest until we reached the waterfall where we could all take a bath and cool off. Our guide took us for a stroll through lush green forest, which was the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Then, we were taken to a village called White Karens, where we could observe their everyday lives. It was quite humbling to see the very basic way they lived, and I was struck by how content and happy the people were compared to us in the west with all of our modern conveniences.
The food that they served us for lunch was fantastic and was a simple vegetable and rice dish with some omelette and glasses of cold water. It meant we could sit under the shade and chat between us.
After lunch we went for a drive to the Bamboo Rafting, I think that in my head I imagined that they were like tiny boats however it was actually some big thick bamboo poles lashed together and that was all there was to it, we’d be wet!! There were 3 people on each raft, we were evenly distributed along the rafts length, we began our journey with our driver’ standing at the front, using an extremely long, thin pole to pull us in any direction. It was a calm and slow cruise along the river. There were times when we were interrupted by kids diving into the water from the banks. It was my favorite part of the day, just floating down the river and listening to the birdsongs and insects.
It was wonderful when I was able to stand up and utilize the pole to guide us, I felt like I was back in time, even though the ‘poleman’ who was on the raft in front of me was thinking it would be extremely amusing to throw his pole next to me as to try and scare me so I might slip, but luckily I had the strength of a sea and was able to just smile with him, while keeping my equilibrium.