Hiking in Chiang Mai, Thailand with Siam River Adventures
Meet Nop [pictured on the right, my friend Tess is on the left, and yours truly is in the middle]. We met Nop while doing a hiking trek through Siam River Adventures, a company Tess found (after doing some serious TripAdvisor research) that offers outdoor activities like hiking and river rafting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This post will detail what to expect on the hike and our experience with Siam River Adventures.
Before the Hike
First up, costs. The hike cost USD60 and covered transportation, food, and a guide. We booked two days in advance and the company seemed to be understanding of how last minute our reservation was. On the day of our hike, Siam River Adventures picked us up from our hotel and what was supposed to be a 4 person group hike ended up being a personal hike due to last minute cancellations (thank you hiking gods). And that’s how we met Nop, our guide and one of the coolest people in Thailand that we were lucky enough to meet.
We started the hike going uphill into the mountains. It was great that we started early because soon, that Southeast Asia sun started to beat down on us pretty hard, especially since we were hiking in May. If you’re going in the summer, make sure you get an early start and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated!
The further we got along in our hike, the more Nop taught us about our surroundings. He showed us a pomelo tree, playfully drew red marks on our faces with teak leaves, and collected lychee (pictured above) for us to eat. He showed us how to shoot long stalks of grass into the air (which I failed miserably at) and taught us that banana leaves also have flowers (they can be huge!). After pointing out an avocado tree, he asked us, “Why do people in the States eat these? They have no flavor!” As someone who regularly proclaims that avocados are “nature’s butter,” I stood aghast and tried to explain the virtues of the beautiful avocado. I started talking about avocado toast but to be honest, I’m not sure how much of that stuck..
We were also lucky enough to visit a waterfall where at first glance, it was exactly that, a waterfall. But then you notice that it could be the PERFECT waterslide. So obviously, we climbed the adjacent rocks and even though it looked like a baby waterslide from the bottom, once I got to the top and got ready to slide down the face of a freaking ROCK, I might have been a teensy bit more nervous. But it ended up being so much fun that we went back for more. And more. Nop was probably tired of waiting for us, but thankfully this man had the patience of Buddha himself.
We also had the chance to visit another waterfall (pictured above), where we swam across the pool directly to where the falling water hits. As we leaned in closer to the water gushing down on the face of the rock, we were rewarded with a pounding water massage. It was different from the Thai massage I was expecting to get here but my friend and I both felt happy at the end.
After hiking through the mountain for a couple of hours, we stopped at a local village. Here, we were witness to a different way of life, where technology was not king and instead, children ran around half-naked and Coke was a valuable commodity. It was pretty mind-blowing that such a different way of living could be found only hours away from a big city.
As we talked more, Nop explained that he prefers the village life to city life because in the city “everyone’s always on their phones.” As someone who’s been on both sides of this (not being on my phone at all at dinners with friends to being obsessed with getting the perfect angle of a gorgeous cathedral), it gave me slight pause (but that’s a whole other topic we can get into some other time).
After lunch, we started to descend the mountain and stopped at this view (we stopped quite a lot thanks to me actually..heh). As Tess and I were taking it all in, Nop looked at it proudly and said,
“I’m lucky because this is my office.”
Not bad, right?
Ultimately, this was probably one of my favorite days of the whole Southeast Asia trip because it involved running around outside, being with homies, and learning about different cultures. Also, the food. The food was just too fresh and too good. I would highly recommend Siam River Adventures to anyone in Chiang Mai looking to explore the outdoors. Even though the cost was a bit high relative to our usual activities, it was well worth it.
What have been some of your favorite experiences abroad?
(Thailand is country 16/100 for Heesun).
*This post is not sponsored and as always, all opinions are solely my own.