So of the four days in Chiang Mai, we booked 2 set excursions. For day trips, they usually pick you up at your residence around 9am and you would get back at 5pm. You can almost book them anywhere as there are so many resellers around and so the key here is to “bargain” your way down to something you feel comfortable with. Being someone born and raised in North America, this skill is inexistent as almost everything here has set prices and so I can easily say that I probably got ripped off. None the less, here are the two day tips that I ended up taking.
One of the things that I really wanted to do was go zip lining. The problem with zip lines in Canada is that they cost northwards of $50 and so I figured it’d be a lot cheaper in Asia. There are a couple of zip line providers in Chiang Mai, but we booked with flight of the gibbon. The experience itself however, contains many mixed feelings. On one end, it was definitely better than what I can get in Canada (well the places that I know) and it was in an actual jungle, but I felt too safe in the straps. There was no real sense of danger and thus there was absolutely no adrenaline rush. The course had 28 different zip lines and 3 drops. The longest zip line was about 700m long but the speeds for all of these lines weren’t crazy or anything. We did the first tour that started around 8am and our tour group were all Chinese people. Some of the girls were totally frightened and so they were a source of our entertainment while we waited for everyone to cross the zipline. So for each zipline I was trying to do something different than just crossing it, be it kick off a tree or plank or whatnot. However, when I tried to go upside down, I couldn’t do it. The guides told me it’s because the harnesses they got us to wear were really restrictive and so I asked one of them if we could trade harnesses (he was using the ones used in rock climbing) and luckily for me, he agreed to trade. After that, the zip lines were all a lot more fun. I would be able to move around a lot more freely and it also felt like I was going a lot faster. So was the trip worth it? This was one of the reasons I came to Chiang Mai but at the same time, if I hunted around, it would’ve been cheaper. That being said, I wouldn’t be able to recommend it at full price (which I forgot what it was and looking at the site now, I doubt I paid $100) but if you can find it for 33% cheaper, it’d be worth the new experience. With it being in a jungle, there weren’t many things to see besides trees, trees and the sky. Zipping through different landscapes would’ve been a lot cooler; I heard there are zip lines that go over rice fields which may be more interesting that just forests.
So most people were in body harnesses making it super hard to move around and made it kind of boring.
So if you go, try to get yourself a harness that only goes around the waist and legs, it makes it much more interesting.
This here proves just how safe they make this. You have to be double tied at every step.
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Some other things that I wanted to do while in Thailand was white water rafting and trekking. With that in mind, I booked was a day trip that included elephant trekking, white water rafting, bamboo rafting, trekking, and a waterfall. Although it had the two things that I wanted, I was also really against it because of the elephant trek. The thing with elephant trekking is some places abuse the elephants a lot. They have a hammer like item on them but instead of it being blunt, it’s a sharp end. If the elephant doesn’t cooperate, they would use it on the elephant. As I couldn’t find a way to fit in both white water rafting and trekking with the limited amount of time we had left, I booked this package and hoped that the elephants were being treated fairly.
The whole experience as a whole… was pretty shitty. The elephant trek was like walking a 1km circle with absolutely nothing to see. Like I had feared, these people used the sharp hammer like things to tame the elephants. The white water raft was also a joke; it was considered the dry season and so our rafts were just floating down the river. The bamboo rafting was alright mainly because we knew it was suppose to be calm and it was indeed just a venue for everyone to just chat away. The trek started off pretty neat but when I realized we were just walking a couple of meters away from the road, I was severely disappointed. The waterfall however, was awesome. Not because it was a waterfall (I would’ve laughed if they actually sold the experience as seeing a waterfall) but it was more because we were able to go into the waters there and it was such a relaxing environment. The only reason this trip would be rated a 2/10 is because the people we were with were a fun group of young people and thus the company made it okay. But the itinerary itself was really bad.
Lesson here: don’t book packaged tours in hopes of doing everything at once; instead book each one separately.
“White water rafting” on pretty much dead still water. Supposingly it was dry season when we went…
You can see the damage they do to the elephants. If you really want to ride elephants or play with them, I’ve been told by a couple of travellers that I met there that elephant sanctuaries are a lot of fun and you can also get a chance to ride them.
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