Located about 800 kilometres to the north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is not only famous for the temples and palaces bearing the remains of the mighty kingdom of Lanna but also attracts tourists due to its scenic and majestic mountains. Chiang Mai is an ideal place to take long walks through the jungle. Leaving the modern life behind, we walked to explore Mae Tang located in the east Chiang Mai.
Overnight at Karen village
For those who come to Chiang Mai at the first time, buying a walking tour of the east or south is an optimal and safest choice.
The price of a tour for 2 days 1 night is 1,200 baht (about 900,000 VND) already listed at most travel agents in Chiang Mai, but we still negotiate the lower price. The first destination about 10 kilometres from Chiang Mai centre, is a small orchard planted with many orchids. Besides the variety of orchids, there are varieties that live only in the mountains east of Chiang Mai, we are also surprised when visiting the botanical garden where many butterflies are preserved.
Leaving the farm, we started the 3-hour walking journey through the jungle. The small road hidden under the tree trunk with hundreds of years of shady foliage to shade the sun to wipe out the hot of summer are surrounded. On sunny days there are many small delegations participating through the forest but very rarely the delegation met each other in this vast forest. During the guide occasionally stopped in front of the huge trunk of about ten people embrace, cheerfully introducing these trees have been taken advantage by ethnic minority people here hundreds of years without cutting them. They use the big branches to make the house, leaves to roof and young tops to make vegetables in the rainy season.
On our way, we visited some caves which are the main habitat of Southeast Asian bats. Such caves are often hidden behind waterfalls in the rainy season, so the water can not enter the cave entrance. But if you go in the dry season, you can look pretty in the cave and admire the thousands of big and small bats parked in the ceiling.
Through the forests, we can admire the majestic mountains with the green extending to the horizon
The sudden rain in the hot days is an unforgettable experience. After 2 hours, we got to Karen Village where the long-neck people were living.
The small village had only ten houses made of bamboo. There was no electricity and internet there. We had dinner with vegetables and potato curry in a hurry because when the darkness falls down all activities here are forced to stop. Only the fire at the end of the pitch was still burning late. The guest house was built on the stilts below were the pigs, buffalo and chicken of the compatriots. The feeling was like I was lying somewhere in a house of ethnic minority in the mountainous north of Vietnam.
Crossing Mae Taeng River by rubber boat
After the breakfast, we continued walking in one hour heading to Chokchai Elephant Camp to take part in activities on the river and riding elephants.
The feeling of the first time controlling the elephant slowly passing Mae Taeng River was an unforgettable moment.
The staff here are not only good at elephant training but they are very interested in developing of breeding elephants. After a hard day working, elephants are not held captive by the iron chains but are released in the forest not far from the river. Probably they live in natural conditions so that every year elephant herd also reproduce. We had grilled shrimp, fish from the Mae Taeng River with sticky rice cooked in large bamboo like Vietnamese rice for lunch.
After lunch, we took part in a very interesting game named Whitewater rafting – crossing the river by rubber boat. The poetic Mae Taeng River became fierce by the sudden bumps. We heard from the instructor “left, right, stop, go, move”. After one hour, we overcame safely all dangerous passages.
It was a very interesting and unforgettable trip that we experienced.
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