Hope this post finds you all well and happy wherever you may be out there!
After a two day trek through the Northern hills of Thailand we have found ourselves back in our near and dear city of Chiang Mai- a place we've grown increasingly familiar with over the past few weeks. Each day has felt so much longer here and it's hard to believe that our trek was just a couple days ago. The first day, we spent around 5 hours traveling to a Thai Karen village where we all got to spend the night together in a giant wooden house- which was awesome, it was like a big slumber party in a tree house (my childhood dream come true!) The second day our trek was about half the distance, allowing us the pleasure of a much more leisurely time which we spent taking in the scenery, stopping for a swim and eating a delicious lunch of noodles and veggies wrapped in banana leaves. Our guides even picked up some bamboo along the way to make us all chopsticks by hand! Afterwards, we trekked the rest of the way up to a Thai Lahu village where we all got to stay in a large hut made out of woven bamboo. It wasn't the comfiest night's sleep I've had but my admiration for the skill it took to build the place made it much more bearable. The next morning we had breakfast and set off for bamboo rafting, which some local men had spent the morning building! I can't even put into words the beauty of the water and the surrounding flora of the river… it was truly a delightful experience that I will never forget. Our guides passed along the responsibility of captain to a few of us during calmer waters so they could rest up for the faster currents. It's quite an exhilarating feeling to be directing a giant bamboo raft! When we finally reached our ending point, we were greeted with a lunch of pad thai and fresh pineapple and watermelon- the icing on the cake of a bustling morning. We then had a two hour drive back to Chiang Mai to rest up and prepare for our next adventure. In a few hours we will be boarding an overnight train to the World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya (see a list of sites around the world here: http://wikitravel.org/en/UNESCO_World_Heritage_Site). Although it is sad to think we won't be coming back to Chiang Mai between our upcoming adventures as we have been, it's exceedingly more exciting to think about all the amazing new places we have the privilege of exploring. Our time in Thailand is quickly coming to an end- after Ayutthaya, we will spend a couple nights in Bangkok and wrap it all up with our mindfulness retreat at Thai Plum village learning about the traditions of Thich Nhat Hanh. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are saddened to leave Thailand so soon but are vastly thrilled to embark on new adventures in Cambodia and Vietnam.
All my best until next time friends and family, take care of yourselves!
The photos below are from our trek- one through the dry rice paddies, one of our group in front of a herd of cattle and one of a local man working on our bamboo rafts!