Thailand travel isn’t all beaches, beer and fiery food – this fascinating country has the most beautiful jungle just waiting to be explored. I am no trekking professional, I am a novice to say the least. However, I look back and remember my trek in Chiang Mai as one of the best and most exhilarating things I did on this trip.
Unless you are a seasoned pro and have battled many climbs in stifling humidity, most of you will be like me, excited by exploring the natural landscape, but not knowing what to expect. Here are a few suggestions to make your trek inifinately more enjoyable.
Tips for Trekking
Roscoe and I trekked with a group of ten people and out of ten only six of us had proper footwear. Thankfully I was one of the prepared ones with sturdy waterproof hiking boots. A few had trainers that were too low on the heel and unsupportive, offering little protection from the rain that came down in buckets regularly throughout the weekend. One poor soul only had a pair of flip flops and I honestly don’t know how many times she feel over and slipped. Whether you’ve planned for a trek in advance or do it on a whim, buy some proper footwear.
Bring the biggest bottle of water you can carry. You will need it. Dehyrdation is the biggest risk and we sweated buckets the entire time. Even though it is heavy it’s the one real essential.
Bringing a camera is essential but without proper waterproofing you’re in trouble. Humidity, rain and dirt are all part of the deal with trekking in Thailand so make sure you not only bring a waterproof camera and/or case but extra carrier bags to further protect.
Believe me, after a day of serious exercise and sweat you’ll be dying to get clean and washed. Our trek lasted all day on a steep incline until we reached our tiny village where we were to sleep on the first night. A cold shower was the only option but it was just what we needed! Utterly freezing but cleansing and refreshing. I only brought one set of dry clothes and though they were useful to change into on the first day, I really could have used something else to wear on the second day as my clothes hadn’t dried out.
Carry as lightweight clothes as you can, but ensure you have more than one set. Depending on what trek you do, there is almost always a waterfall or stream to take a dip in so swimwear is essential too. We were lucky enough to find a natural slide during our trek!
While trekking always make sure you look after the environment, take all rubbish away with you, have respect for the wildlife taking care not to damage beautiful plants and trees. Visiting an elephant sanctuary is often part of Thai treks. We stayed at a wonderful sanctuary where we could ride them and bathe them. Just ensure that the company you choose to trek with is responsible and treating these magnificent creatures with the respect they deserve.
There is so much to love about Thailand travel and trekking is absolutely one of the best things you will ever do.
All Images Copyright © Roscoe Duncan 2012