A common place for backpackers in Thailand is Chaing Mai. Most backpackers travel in a circle visiting the large cities and using them as base camps for tours in the area. Chiang Mai is the largest city in the north of Thailand and offers a perfect base camp for jungle trekking. As a tourist you can’t hike alone in the jungles around Chiang Mai because it is hard to navigate and easy to get lost. The Thai government insists tourists in hiring local guides for bringing welfare to the poor jungle tribes that have been overrun by tourist the last year’s. The financial support also helps the support to nature preservations. If you go on a Chiang Mai trekking don’t expect to be alone, you will hike through the jungle in a group of 10-15 people. Nevertheless it is a wonderful experience to get familiar with the jungles of Thailand.
Chiang Mai trekking of three days
We reviewed one of the Chiang Mai treks since they are popular among young hikers and offer a great experience. You will learn about Thai mountain tribes and get respect for Mother Nature. Booking a Chiang Mai trekking is easy, ask your place of stay where to book the best trip, they probably offer trips themselves
Jungle trekking Chiang Mai
Starting the day early in the morning around 06:00 a.m. we are waiting for the pickup trucks that are bringing us to the jungle border. The trucks arrive and we jump in the back of the big pickup, pretty cool experience since we are driving through Thailand outside the main tourist routes. Before we head for the forest we visit a local market to buy some fresh supplies like fruit, drinks (yes, alcohol), snacks and a warm noodles meal for our first meal/breakfast. It is around 11:00 a.m. when we arrive near a small river that splits the farmland and the jungle. We have our daypacks with us since we don’t have to carry any supplies like food and camping gear. The only hike equipment we took is some bug repellent, flashlights and a knife. Clothes filled the rest of the daypack.
Crossing the river brought us to the jungle where we say our first signs of animal life, a small deer looking at us from a distance. We walked through a pretty dry jungle; totally different from the cloud forest we visited in Boquete Panama. It wasn’t hard to get through the forest since the vegetation wasn’t dense at all, and maybe because we followed a trail that was used by many local jungle tribes. After six hours of walking we arrived at the first camp, it was now 06:00 p.m. and we were pretty tired. The path was easy accessible but the hike went up and down the mountains. Darkness was falling and we where appointed to our beds to clean ourselves and prepare for diner. The diner was pretty casual but not that bad at all, spicy and spicy. Since the night was dark and the weather was not that good everybody went to bed early, our alarms set on 06:30 a.m. since we had to walk over ten hours the next day.
Day two in the jungle
The night wasn’t that bad at all, we slept on bamboo floor with mosquito nets over our beds. The morning was early but worth it since we heard animals everywhere around us, howler monkeys in special. The rain made the road muddy but we where on our way to the next location. The guide told us he was from the next village we passed so we could meet his family. After five hours of walking we reached his villages and got served lunch and socialized with his family. Really awesome experiences to see how basic and without stress these people live. They only use what they need from their lands and trade the rest with other tribes. But after one hour we had to move on since the second base camp was still five hours away. Moving through denser jungle we did not see many signs of life, some birds and insects. We arrived in the second camp where we had a nice view over the valley. Our beds where hammocks and the shower was a waterfall, beautiful! The water was refreshing and clean so the swim and shower where a nice welcome after almost eleven hours of hiking. In the evening we sat around the campfire, told stories and drank our alcohol since the last hike shouldn’t take much longer then five hours.
Last day of the Chiang Mai trekking
The last day of the trekking was harder then the days before, we were hangover and the long hike of the day before was taking its toll. To make it worse the road was very slippery and wet because of the rain. Walking was hard and slippery but everybody tasted the mud and in the end it we where all mud man. The last mile wasn’t that exciting since we walked alongside a river on a road. The weather was nice! We arrived at the pickup trucks that brought us to the jungle, next destination? To the elephants!
Review of the Chiang Mai trekking
Scales consist of points ranging from one to being easy or not cool to ten being awesome or very hard.
|Elevation level||0-2000 meters|
|Distance||35 miles/ 15 of it on the second day.|
|Climate||Wet but not that humid|
|Temperature||Around 25-30 degrees Celsius|
|Best shoes to equip||Light hiking boots or normal hiking boots|
|Hike equipment||Flashlight, mosquito repellent, knife and a simple medical kit|
|Kids||Possible but they have to be in a good condition and at least 12+|
|Worth tracking?||Yes, but expect other tourist and not so unspoiled nature|
|Most beautiful aspect||Getting to know local cultures and tribes|