AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Chiang Mai: Bike & Hike

Posted on Jan 18, 2014

Finding good hiking in Thailand is proving to be quite difficult. It is either a big, expensive, multi-day, group tour or a one day hike which is only a few hours walking and then padded with trips to ethnic villages where hikers can stare at ‘different’ people, usually elephant rides are added on, etc. We managed to find a company which did do proper full day hiking but at £40+ that made us more determined to find routes ourselves and do it for free. We finally found this, a description of a walk in the forest just outside of Chiang Mai; Perfect. The starting point was a few miles out of the city so we hired a bicycle each and with some water and sandwiches we cycled to the lake. The lake looked to be a favourite for locals to come and relax. The shore of the lake is crowded with simple wooden huts, standing in the water on stilts. Families were sat in there, relaxing and fishing. We sat in a bandstand (no idea what they are called in Thailand but I doubt they are called bandstands) and ate our sandwiches whilst overlooking the lake and a giant golden Buddha. We then set off into the forest. The directions were not detailed enough and we found ourselves going wrong a few times after a very short distance. The path forked many times and we simple e had to guess which direction to take. Eventually I figured a method, using the track loaded into Google Earth and GPS to see my exact location I could follow the track. This was slightly concerning as I knew it would devour the battery and the phone might not last the whole route but it was the best we had. Even with the improved method we still went wrong a few times. We headed up the bank of large stream as it made its way down the mountain side. Then it was a steady uphill until we reached a large waterfall. After the waterfall the going got tough. It was steep uphill for the next hour and combined with the heat we were dripping with sweat. As we ploughed on uphill through bushes, low trees, ferns, etc we were constantly walking through cobwebs and on giant leaves. The paranoia of spiders, snakes, scorpions, etc was starting to take effect, not helped by the fact that we were getting eaten alive; the cobwebs constantly wrapping around ours heads, arms legs didn’t help… By now we were wondering why we thought this was a good idea. We covered ourselves in insect repellent and carried on....

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Chiang Mai: Hike & Bike

Posted on Jan 13, 2014

There is one annoying thing about Chiang Mai, and Thailand as a whole. You can’t just go for a hike on your own. A hike is usually a multi day activity which you have to book, possibly a private tour but usually in a group. Single day treks will usually consist of maybe a couple of hours walking and then visit an elephant sanctuary, do some rafting and visit a hill tribe or two. Almost all the hikes do the same stuff. We finally accepted this fact and booked a tour which consisted of walking in the morning and mountain biking in the afternoon. The pictures looked good so we hoped it would be worth the extortionate amount of cash they were asking for. Morning We were picked up from the hostel around 9am and driven for one hour up to the national park just north of Chiang Mai. This gave us time to chat to the other couple we would be spending the day with, a couple from Auckland, New Zealand. This was interesting as we plan to end the trip maybe living and working in New Zealand and Auckland will be the most likely place we will find work and settle down. We walked for a couple of hours through the forest whilst our guide pointed out the flora and fauna of the forest. Quite interesting, his knowledge and love of the woods was obvious. He didn’t like people coming and cutting down the trees for firewood and building material. “Thailand Beaver” he calls the illegal loggers. The walk wasn’t that great, maybe 4 miles in total (I forgot to start recording the walk when we set off) and took a little over 2 hours. But, it was OK and we learnt some interesting forest knowledge. Our route through the forest © OpenStreetMap contributors Download Lunch We had lunch by a waterfall on the edge of the park. Afternoon After lunch we were given our mountain bikes and after a bit of practice and adjusting to get used to gears, plus making sure the brakes worked we set off. We rode on roads the whole way, some busier than others. The busy roads weren’t so good but the quiet back roads were pleasant. As we rode our guide would point out trees, temples and other interesting things in the landscape and tell us about them. We didn’t cycle that far, although realistically our level of fitness isn’t very good. On the whole it was enjoyable but it would have been better had we actually gone off road and if it had pushed us a little harder we’d...

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Hoi An: Bike Ride

Posted on Dec 14, 2013

Hoi An isn’t far from the coast, only a mile or so. Not surprising considering Hoi An was once one of the most important trading ports in south east Asia. In the morning we wandered around Hoi An seeing the ‘ancient’ houses, meeting places and temples but in the afternoon we hired a bicycle each (95p in total) and decided to head for the sea. The river splits a lot when it nears the sea so we had to take a bit of a detour to get to the sea. I had attempted to cycle along the river bank but we ended up seeing some interesting sights such as reeds been cut and dried, small villages and a very expensive part of town. It took an hour to do the 8 miles to the coast and about the same time to do the 6 miles back. Amusingly, it turns out that the road by the hotel goes directly to the beach, dead straight and easy. © OpenStreetMap contributors Download Posted from tp. Hội An, Quang Nam province,...

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