Waving goodbye to Thailand

Wow. What an incredible three weeks. I can't even begin to explain how sad I am to be leaving such a beautiful country. Yes, so I scrapped off my diving in Koh Tao adventure but I'm not the slightest bit upset about that - that's the joy of travelling, there's always an opportunity to do it elsewhere and if I had left last week I wouldn't have experienced Pai, the mountain and jungle, or Smile Party. I wouldn't have left on the high I did, closer to the new friends I've made, and with a little more money in my pocket...

So Pai was beautiful - incredibly beautiful. We visited the hot spring, Pai Canyon, and drank plenty of Leo. The ride back was an experience... Not especially a good one as my friend came off her bike but we all made it back in one piece - just. After riding to the medical centre (and nearly coming off myself - lovely) we hopped on the back of a pick up truck with two lovely men who said they were heading in the direction of Chiang Mai. They were actually from Burma and it was just our luck they were passing. They took us from a to b and when we got lost let me direct them from the only map that was saved on my phone - luck, true luck. They wouldn't take a penny from us and from the hiccup we'd had the night before Pai it restored my faith in humanity somewhat.

After Pai (and a few days rest) we went up to the jungle for a 3 day 2 night trek with the most ecstatic human being I've met, Mr Ping Pong. He fed us like kings. Whenever we were hungry he lit up the fire and we ate, either by candlelight or fire. It was wonderful not having any electricity, I kind of crave a digital blackout every so often... It's refreshing.

So, Mr Ping Pong and his wonderful catchphrases led us up the side of the mountain which seemed to take forever. It was beautiful, don't get me wrong, but bloody hell I was tired. I just wanted to get there. We had a brief stop off at a waterfall that you could slide down. Me being the wuss I am decided to sit on the side and take photos/videos of the lads going down it. In retrospect I should've just (wo)maned up and jumped in!!

We arrived at the bamboo hut just before sunset. We dropped our things down, cracked open a bottle of Chang, took a few photos and realised that bamboo is quite literally the most versatile material ever, and went to seek out the sunset. That night was a little alcohol fuelled (and after Ping Pong showed us his talents with a bamboo bong!) and the next day we were just exhausted. We ate, slept, chilled, and looked for sunset again, and had a few more drinks.

On the last day we had another little trek down the mountain side. Note: I am short, my legs can't handle big jumps so I fell over a lot. Mr Ping Pong ripped off a bit of bamboo that I used to help me amble around. Thank you!! We arrived at another waterfall and I was NOT passing this one up. Bloody freezing and actually quite painful to have the water pounding on your back but it was so refreshing. Again please!!

Drying off and making a feeble attempt to get dressed (thank you for not dropping the towel!!) we had another amble out of the jungle, through a few villages (empty ones) and through another with a little monkey in a cage... That was upsetting. Then it came to bamboo rafting. Ping Pong wasn't joking when he said it was a bamboo submarine... We sank... Okay we did RELATIVELY well to stay afloat but with four guys and me, plus Ping Pong and another guy steering the front and back of the raft, we were bound to let in some water but I didn't think it'd be up to our waists. They took a great photo at the end which I'll put up once I've got a copy of it.

After the rafting and removal of wet clothes (thank goodness for sarongs!) we left to head back to Chiang Mai. I tried napping on the way but it wasn't happening. Optimistic thinking made me think I could sleep when I got back to the hostel - ha. How wrong I was!! A shower, some food, and some alcohol purchasing later it was already time for pre-drinks with the crew in time for Smile Party, an annual music festival held the night before the King's birthday.

Drinks demolished, games destroyed (yeah, don't get me playing the frog game... I failed every time!), outfit and makeup on, face painted, and camera all ready, we got on the free shuttle towards the location of Smile Party (I still don't know where it is, it seemed a long way out and it was on a lake). It was hands-down the most fun I've had in a very long time. The live music was great fun, a few songs were crucified, and the language barrier made some of the lyrics a little fuzzy, but it improved as the night went on and we all had more drink. The live music went from rock to reggae, then changed to an awesome drum and bass set which just reminded me of SW4 last year. Lots of fire, drink, dancing, sitting on shoulders, photos, a few tears (standard) and whatnot later, it was 4.30am and we all headed home. My last time!

I know I keep saying it, I keep going on and on and on about it but that won't stop me, I honestly feel so blessed to have met the most wonderful people. New friends from here and there, people I connected with, numerous Thai people who helped me on so many occasions - the woman who calmed me down after the fight, the car that stopped to take my friend to the medical centre and the two guys who drove my friend and I back to Chiang Mai, the staff at Sam Sen Sam Place, KhaoSan Immjai, and particularly Mojito Garden 2, I'm sad to be closing that chapter, turning a new page in this adventure, but I'm still excited for the next one...xX



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