Travel guide: 3 days jungle trekking tour near Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

Villager making his way through the jungle.

After getting tired of visiting temples we started looking for something different to do near Chiang Mai, Thailand. We found out that here there are organized trekking tours to jungle villages for one to three days or more, where people can interact with locals, live with them, learn about their culture and traditions.

After searching for reviews on the Internet we decided to do the trip with Chiang Mai Trekking. Should you decide to book with them we suggest you to write them a message on WhatsApp, they are very responsive. We went to their office to meet them and we discuss the details of the trip. We suggest you to do the same no matter which tour guide you’ll choose. It’s important to meet the people with whom you are going to spend three days in the jungle. 🙂


If you choose another agency, look for online reviews. We found a cheaper one before on a poster on the street, but it turned out that the guy was nowhere to be found on the internet. We wrote him an email and he was very hesitant, maybe because of his English skills, but it’s best to check before booking.

We paid 3.500 Thai Baht per person (about 90 euros) for the whole trip which included:

  • transportation, including from and back to our hotel in Chiang Mai
  • food
  • insurance
  • visit a waterfall
  • visit and accommodation in two hill tribe villages
  • visit to an Elephant Camp
  • bamboo rafting down the river
  • visit an orchid and butterfly farm

As with many tours, the price per person depends on the number of people that will join the group. They usually also offer private tours, but we highly recommend going with a group. We really enjoyed it.

Pure jungle.

You can buy water from different points in the villages so no need to carry too much from the beginning.

You will receive a list with everything you need for three days, so no worries for that. If you want to know beforehand what do will you need, here is the list from their website with our comments in italics:

  • Copy of your passport (they took a photo of ours)
  • Backpack 
  • Sleeping bag (lined during winter season December – March) (we didn’t need one obviously since we went in October)
  • Long and short pants
  • T-Shirts – at least 3
  • Shoes (with profile) and socks – (we had running shoes but Cristian did the whole trek in trekking sandals and socks)
  • Pullover (winter season December – March)
  • Raincoat (rainy season June – September) – (we had it at the end of October and we used it in a downpour on the bamboo raft)
  • Sandals, if need be – (at least a pair of flip-flops for the shower)
  • Hat or cap
  • Toiletries
  • Towel
  • Bathing thongs
  • Flashlight – (you can use the light of your phone but we would have preferred frontal lights for those night trips to the bathroom)
  • Insect repellent (best with leech protection)
Happy pig in the mud in Karen village

First day

Pickup and intro

We were picked up from our hotel and we went to the tour guide site to leave our extra luggage. We left the backpacks in a storage room and we asked them to put our laptops somewhere safe, which they did and since we are typing you can imagine we got them back.

We then drove for an hour to one of their local markets in a typical Songthaew, which is basically a pickup truck modified to carry about 8 people in the back on two benches. After meeting the rest of the group we chatted a bit and got to know each other, we laughed and we made jokes. Now I can see that it was the beginning of three wonderful days spent together.

At the local market, you can purchase things that you don’t have for the trip. We got towels and raincoats, water and some snacks.

Waterfall

Then we went to a waterfall where we were could have a bath. The path to the waterfall is very slippery, the air is humid and near the waterfall, I felt like freezing, because it was too cold for me. I got out of the area of the waterfall all wet, me and my backpack and all I wanted was to get into the car and to leave to the next destination. But, this was my experience, there were people who entered the water, who enjoyed being there and Cristi was one of them. 🙂

Then we went to eat at a simple restaurant, but with good food.

At the waterfall, there were many tourists, but after leaving the restaurant, we were the only ones starting the trekking in the jungle. The guide told us that some of them we’ll start also their trekking, but they will go on another track.



Jungle trekking

The next thing you’ll do it will be the trekking. The car we’ll leave you there and two guides we’ll come with you. We were eight people and that’s why we had two guides, but if you are six or less, you’ll have only one.

The trekking is medium as difficulty, slippery in some places, but trust me, everything is worthy in the end.

Karen village

We arrived in the first village, Karen, in the afternoon, the guide made a tour explaining the life of the people who live there, their main activities and we saw part of their day to day life. It was an amazing experience and one of the best moments of the trip.

After that, we arrived at the place where spent the night, on the mattresses, all together in the same room. The guides prepared a delicious dinner, we had some beers and some nice stories in front of the fire.

We slept very early as we had no electricity.

Waiting for the lunch to be ready at the elephant camp.

Second day

Trekking

In the morning, we had our breakfast and we left the beautiful village behind. We had three hours of trekking. In my opinion, it was more difficult than the one we did the day before.

Elephant Camp

After the trekking, we took the bamboo boat and after 30 minutes of sailing we were at the elephant camp, which is really in the middle of nowhere, I mean there are no other houses around. First, we ate and then we fed the elephants and had a bath with them. After we left, the elephants went back to the jungle and we went to the next village, where Lahu people live.


We had another delicious dinner and the guide showed us some magic tricks, some simple, but funny and interesting games. I found the accommodation better than the other one, but I liked most the first village because we could feel more the authentic life of that people. The second one was smaller and I felt less traditional than the first one and more touristy I would say, but of course, it was a nice experience.

At the elephant camp.

Third day

Bamboo rafting

After breakfast we went on the bamboo boat to Chiang Mai, but before arriving, we had a stop on the side of the river where we had lunch and after that we stopped at the Butterfly farm, which was small and few things to see, but it was great for a break and for a coffee.

We went back to our hotels, ending an amazing experience with wonderful people, unique moments and unforgettable days.

So far, it was the most wow! experience we had in Thailand.

We truly recommend it.

More about our experience you can read here and here.

If you need more information about this experience, you can write us an email on applesandgasoline@gmail.com

Ancuta

Lahu kids with a big papaya.
Food for the elephants.
The back of the kitchen at the elephant camp.



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