Chiang Mai: Trekking and Hill Tribe Stays
Chiang Mai offers many cheap-ass trekking trips, white water rafting and hill tribe packages. Many also include elephant riding, however please take a quick read of this to educate yourself on the reality of elephant tourism and make an informed decision.
The jungle is beautiful, and treks often include stopping at waterfalls and organic slides for refreshing swims. Treks all differ, lasting one day, overnight or up to three days in the wilderness. Overnight stays are usually at various hill tribe villages, which you walk all day to arrive at and be greeted by delicious local cuisine, friendly children, chickens and dogs. If you’re lucky, the women will come to sell handmade jewellery and offer Thai massages. The massages are highly recommended for sore, strained muscles.
White water rafting takes you down rapids on a blow-up vessel or a serene row down the river on a traditional bamboo-made craft. You can do this as a day trip or it may be included in the tour.
My tip is to get a good night’s sleep before the big adventure. I made the mistake of staying out partying until sunrise, forgetting I had booked a trek for 7am. I had to walk up mountains for six hours with a throbbing headache, nausea and sleep derivation. Not as fun as it sounds.