As promised, here are some photos of our fabulous three day trek, to prove that it did indeed happen, and wasn’t just a construct of my whimsical mind.
I love to go a-wandering with a knapsack on my back, valderee, valdera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… Off we set, with our high-quality (ahem) thai-issue rucksacks – miraculously mine survived the three days without falling apart. It was pointed out to me that my outfit made me look like I was walking nude at a first glance – I thought I could coin myself ‘The Naturist Naturalist’.
Waterfall number one – prompting the first of many hyperbolic exclamations of wonder.
Melissa and I standing behind a cascading veil of water.
Enjoying nature’s own power-shower – and a bloody good back massage to boot.
We visited a beautiful, 200 year old outdoor temple site, with buddhas peering through the trees. The temple was accessed via this impressive serpent staircase.
These creepy temple guardians met you at the top of the stairs – there was something particularly eerie about the white guy in the middle, which really stopped me in my tracks. I half-expected him to come alive and curse me in an Indiana Jones stylee.
These giant, tryphid-like flowers, which towered above me, were scattered through the temple area, adding to the mysterious and other-wordly feel of the place.
I spent a while sitting at the foot of this giant buddha, once the rest of the group had carried on. I’m not saying I’ve reached enlightenment yet, but it was a lovely, peaceful moment.
From the serene to the macabre – leering faces and skeletal statues. This would be a seriously creepy place at night…
Waxy offerings. Each buddha statue has a shrine at its base. Common offerings include sugary drinks (think old school Tip Top plastic cartons), fruit and always candles, often yellow.
The gentle tinkle of these wind-chimes provided a peaceful backdrop to the temple area, with a view of hazy mountains in the distance.
Emerald-green rice paddy fields in the mountain valleys.
Elven lembas bread for sustenance.
First night’s accommodation, in a traditional hill-tribe bamboo structure. Not very comfy, but nevertheless a pretty cool place to lay one’s head for a night.
Group bonding round the table, after a successful first day – everyone is incredibly sweaty at this point and we’ve just found out that the ‘shower’ is a murky bucket of warm water in the squat-loo shed. D’oh.
A beautiful forest flower I saw on one of the walks.
There are some more photos to put up, but the internet is playing up, so I’ll do a part three tomorrow. By the way, I’m writing this from a very swanky yoga retreat in a remote corner of the tropical island of Koh Samui, following an epic journey from Chiang Mai involving two overnight trains, a lengthy bus ride, a ferry crossing and finally an extortionate taxi ride (I definitely need to improve my haggling skills). But more on my current adventure once I’ve finally managed to put up all the photos of the trek!