Thailand Trek and the Golden Triangle: Day 1

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This post is part of a larger trip report from my 17 day trip to Thailand (Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok) and Hong Kong!

  1. Using Miles to Book Flights on American Airlines Home from Hong Kong
  2. Using Miles to Book Flights on Continental to Thailand
  3. Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort Review
  4. Thailand Beaches Day 1: Phi Phi Excursion
  5. Thailand Beaches Day 2 & 4: Railey Beach
  6. Thailand Beaches Day 3: Hong Island
  7. Massages and Dining in Ao Nang, Krabi
  8. Northern Thailand – First Stop Chiang Mai
  9. Three Day Trek and the Golden Triangle Day 1
  10. Three Day Trek and the Golden Triangle: Day 2
  11. Three Day Trek and the Golden Triangle: Day 3
  12. Spending New Years Eve in Chiang Mai
  13. Wandering Around Chiang Mai
  14. Le Meridien Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Hotel Review
  15. Aloft Bangkok Hotel Review
  16. Temples, Activities, and Dinning in Bangkok
  17. Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel Review
  18. Things to do in Hong Kong
  19. A Day in Macau

With our friends who we overlapped with in Chiang Mai, we departed on a three day trek. This was a private trek we organized and was a  great opportunity to see the areas outside of Chiang Mai. We essentially did a loop from Chiang Mai up to Chiang Rai and Burma and then headed back to Chiang Mai. While our tour was called a “trek,” I’d use that word loosely as it was really not as much hiking as we would have desired, however, we did see a lot and our tour guide was awesome!

Day 1: Tiger Temple, Temple Caves, Karan Village

We were picked up at the Le Meridien by our guide Kiki and headed to a silk farm and jewelry making factory. We were pretty much in and out, but it was cool to see how these items were made. We were then off to the tiger farm. Our trek included a ticket to play with the big tiger, but we opted to pay more to play with the smallest tiger. This was one of those check off the box activities in my opinion, and I would not put it on your “must do” list. Don’t get me wrong, it was cool to do with the tour, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. We ate lunch at the Tiger Kingdom (which was included) and it was the first time I was introduced to papaya salad – which I recommend!

This is the little tiger we played with.

We then went to the temple caves, which is a large complex with massive caves. It was really cool to see as it was really our first introduction to some real culture and history in Thailand.

The entrance leading into the caves

Inside the cave

There were many places to pray within the temple. There were also little offerings that people put next to the Buddah for goodluck.

After the temple caves, we drove to the start of our two hour trek through the Karan village. This gave us a chance to see how the Karan people really live. This was anything but touristy and was very real. We saw the kids playing outside, their small wooden houses, and their livestock. It was an amazing eye opening experience.

One of the locals took out his machete to cut up a papaya off the tree for us!

At the end of the hike we were transported down the street to stay at a lodge near the Karan village. This lodge is owned by the tour operator (Active Thailand). It is many times used for school groups who come to Thailand for community service. It was dormitory/lodge like, but we were the only ones there which was nice. There is a caretaker at the lodge who lives their with his wife and son. The son was no older than 7 years old and was the one who put a fire together for us in the fire pit! The caretaker and our tour guide, Kiki, made dinner for us (which was great!) and we just hung out the rest of the night. This was no Four Seasons, but we really liked the wilderness feel.

The grounds at the lodge

The fire pit at the lodge

It was a great day to see how some live in Thailand outside of the big city!

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