This week has been a full mixed bag of everything from experiencing my first hostel stay, chasing some of the best waterfalls I’ve ever seen, getting stuck in relentless Thai traffic, and coming face to face with an elephant whilst hiking at dusk…
Safe to say it’s been an adventure, but wouldn’t change it for the world.
As I previously mentioned in last week’s edition of ‘The Weekly’, I wasn’t expecting much from Thailand, so much so I nearly booked flights straight out of here and to Indonesia. But man, oh man, was I wrong. I am so thankful I had the intuition to stay as this place is unreal. And some.
Highs of the week
- Trained consistently and feeling probably the best I have in 12/18 months.
- Managed to write three travel guides (albeit small, a start).
- Hiking plenty.
- First nights spent in a hostel without being bummed or murdered. Unfortunate, I guess.
- Closed in a deal for Adventure Photography on an Expedition in Nepal this winter.
Lows of the week
- No where near enough reading, and or writing, but a small dent made.
- Nearly getting killed by a wild elephant whilst hiking.
- Not getting bummed in the hostel.
- Losing just ONE AirPod which is a new level of annoying.
Who taught the Thai how to massage?
When you hear the word massage, what do you instantly think?
Relaxation. Unwinding. Warm oils. Stress relief?
I guess you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming all of the above, and after feeling like I needed them all, I decided to get booked in for a Thai Massage.
Now, I won’t go into all the details but what I will say is this:
Have you ever spent 1 hour of your life wrestling a Thai woman who is twice your age, but half your weight?
That’s essentially what a Thai massage is. A fucking wrestling match where there is only one winner, and it isn’t you.
Weirdly satisfied, and a box ticked. Although not sure if I was more relaxed when I went in, or when I came out. But trust me, she rolled me around like pastry and folded me like a pretzel for an hour straight.
Not getting murdered…
Having heard so many horror stories about hostels, I’ve managed to avoid them in all of my travels so far.
Not because of that though, mainly because I am a snob. And also because I talk in my sleep and I’d hate to accidentally tell someone what I thought of them whilst sleeping…
Anyway, it was time to check in for my first hostel experience.
At £6 a night you really can’t grumble, can you?
I was fortunate that my first ever hostel was Box Hostel in Chiang Mai.
Weirdly though, the first night was just me and one other in a 4-bed dorm. Then Joe left and it was just me by myself for a night. Then I was going to switch to a different hostel but decided I liked it so switched to a 10-bed dorm…
…only 3 of us!
All in all, a good experience and met some great people in the 5 days of staying at Box. A few nights of football, an odd beer, and some games of pool are good to get acquainted with someone in the short space of time you’ve got together.
Definitely will be using hostels for the rest of the trip, that is until someone is sick on me, or pisses the bed when I am on the bunk below them.
Then it might be time to go back to privates.
Chasing Waterfalls… Sorry TLC.
If there’s one thing Thailand has plenty of it’s ladyb… waterfalls.
Despite it not yet being the rainy season, some of the waterfalls I’ve seen this week have been incredible. I can only imagine how they’d be during rainy season. Wetter, I guess.
That being said, I’ve had lots of fun chasing different waterfalls this week. Notably on one day I managed to bag 5 different waterfalls in one day. A massive drive through the Doi Inthanon National Park which itself is absolutely beautiful. But home to many an incredible waterfall!
I’ve been driving for close to 6-7 hours at this point. A tiny 125cc scooter between my legs. Some of the most winding roads I’ve ever driven. I’ve stopped and hiked at 5 different waterfalls at this point. It’s been super hot all day and I’ve barely eaten or drank enough for a human half my size.
There’s one more pin on my google maps.
One more waterfall.
One last hike.
The sun is setting.
The road turns from a tarmac to a dirt trail.
From dirt trail to overgrown jungle trail.
I’m close, but it’s about a 2km hike through a thick, dense jungle. With the sun setting, the light isn’t great and I can hear the rustling of birds and small animals all around me.
Trying my best to bushwhack through the thick branches and leaves.
I hear it.
But I’m too high and need to scramble down the side of this hill to get to the river so I can follow it upstream to the incredible falls.
Then I hear something else.
A tree falling.
A large clatter and bang to my left.
I stumble and slide 4-5m down the side of the hill.
What the fuck was that?
I get up slowly, turn around, and holy fuck..
It’s an elephant.
No kidding. A huge elephant stood probably less than 25m away from me.
What on earth do you do in that situation?
I tell you what you do…
You strap your bag up, tighten your laces, and give it absolutely big licks back up the hill, into the forest and you don’t stop until you’re back on the scooter you arrived on.
Honestly, a wild experience for sure. But looking back, SO funny.
I’d not realised I’d driven past an Elephant Sanctuary and actually taken the old path to this unfound waterfall. It’s now where they let the elephants graze of an evening, in peace from humans.
Then this big dumb Welsh idiot comes clambering down the side of the mountain to look at some H20 coming down a hill.
Couldn’t write it.
Writing more Travel/Adventure guides
Alongside documenting my travels through The Weekly, I also want to write small travel guides to showcase hikes, waterfalls, and cool spots I visit on the way.
Selfishly, I want to grow this website as big as I can get it. With the aim of getting 5000 monthly visitors by the end of the year.
Secondly, because I always get asked “Where’s this?” it’s an easy way to show you not only where it is but give you all the juice on it too.
Here are this week’s Travel Guides:
Mae Ya Waterfall, Doi Inthanon – Travel guide
The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, which I am so grateful for. If you’ve any suggestions, any help or guidance, then I am an open book and welcome all feedback and criticism!
That’s it for the week. An amazing week in the bustling Chiang Mai. Spent well doing all the things I love and enjoy.
Training at a good gym. Hiking and adventuring. Drinking good coffee. Eating out at good restaurants. And enjoying some good weather!
Chiang Mai is definitely somewhere I could base myself for further SE Asia exploration and something to consider for the future.
Today I made the journey to Pai, so expect next weeks Weekly to be filled with adventure.