So one week before our departure for Thailand, I had an unfortunate misstep at the gym and sprained my ankle. Thankfully, the first few days of the adventure tour were spent cycling and with minimal walking. After those initial days we began our trek from the mountains of Chiang Mai to Pha Lho. My doctor gave me a bulky brace and some crutches prior to departure, but my hubby found a nice sleek, strong brace at Sports Authority (before they closed) and we bought some larger hiking boots with better ankle support for this portion of the trip. Honestly, having the brace and good quality hiking shoes worked beautifully.
Located in northern Thailand, our trek begins atop a mountain then through a lush forest where we eventually (2-3 hours later) arrived in Baan Pha Lho a Lahu hilltribe village. We stayed in a bamboo hut and slept on the floor on sleeping mats, showered in the icy cold mountain water bathroom/shower and used flashlights to guide our way at night during and after dinner. The guides brought us bottled water and beer for purchase while the host family cooked us dinner. Seriously every meal on this trip was absolutely amazing!
After the first day of trekking, which was just up and down and past the tea farms we were ready for a more challenging hike. This trek was much longer and twice as difficult. If you love a good hike this was the trip for you. Most of the terrain was very dense, tropical, lush, muddy and moist. Our guide was extremely educated in the natural plants, herbs and stories related to the villages and it's residents. He grew up in the next village we were headed to and was extremely kind, eager to share his knowledge and a true gem of a man. My ankle held up well, it responded positively to all the activity and actually felt like it was getting better along the route.
The second night of trekking we made it through the jungle and to the Lahu Village of Ban Mae Ma. It was a beautiful village where the residents live next to a babbling stream. They also set up an herbal sauna for us and provided Thai massages. What a treat! That felt so good after the long hike through the tropical forest. We all slept together that night in a house with futons, mosquito tents, blankets and pillows. These accommodations were nicer than the first day, but the first night was also a lot more authentic compared to this "home stay."
The next morning we woke ready to take on the last trek of the trip. This was not as long as the day before but was more steep and more challenging in terms of incline but a lot shorter, only an hour and half or so. Traversing the jungle mountains, waking in the waterfalls and tropical plants was a lot like home but of course different too. It was so beautiful and what a great way to see Thailand, most of the places we passed through appeared to have never been touched before, there were no trailheads or markers.