Jungle Trekking

8 Sep
Clare tests out a bamboo bridge

This Is A Bridge?

After a bumpy hour long ride standing in the back of a pick-up truck we arrived at Akha Hill House. It felt like a tree house built on to the side of a mountainous jungle. The place was a little run down and after some really terrible noodles (think supernoodles with way to much soy and pretty awful veg) and over priced beer we hit the hay. The rooms were as basic as they come (a bed with a mosquito net, one light, four walls, roof and floor) but it was actually pretty comfortable and cool to sleep in.

There were a few jungle treks you could pay for, but as most of the starting prices were around 2000 Baht a person, we decided just to get a little advice and do it ourselves. The nearest ‘attractions’ around were a waterfall and hot springs, being that we hadn’t seen the waterfall yet (as we saw the hot springs on our previous cycle) we set off for that.

The path that one of the guides had told us about took us up higher and away from the village. It was hard work in the sun but the view was pretty stunning. Eventually the path narrowed as we left the hills village and slowly entered the jungle. With bamboo thickets on one side, sheer drops on the other and mystic plants growing over the path it felt pretty adventurous. We pass only one other person;  an old man carrying a huge sack of rice (of course).

Soon we could hear the rush of water and eventually could see bits of waterfall. We reached a path off the main track that lead to a large pool of water just before one part of the falls (it was more like many smaller falls rather than one huge drop). I could see that the only way further down the falls was to first cross the river, the only obvious way to do this was across 2 sections of bamboo that had been laid down. Edging along the 2 beams of bamboo no more than 20cm wide we crossed. After trekking down we reached another bigger pool which had a slightly weathered bamboo bridge (with a bamboo woven floor and bamboo railings) leading from the edge so you could access the pool.

This pool was great to swim in and although it wasn’t deep the ‘exit’ was protected by a huge rock, which meant there was no chance of being swept downstream or over the edge. The spray from the falls and the huge trees that surrounded the area meant it actually felt quite cool in the area, so returning to the hill house after this meant it felt even hotter than before. After some lunch we somehow reached the conclusion that the walk to the hot springs in the midday sun would be a good idea.

Clare stands in extremely tall grass

Child Height Grass

We pushed through the jungle once again; this time it opened out into a strange grass like field. The grass was so tall here that it felt like being a child again, playing in the fields next to my home. This path then sidled up to a bamboo fence, which took us past paddy fields and around a little village.

After passing through a village (where everyone gave us the look of “why… why are you here? HOW even!?”) and running low on water, we finally got to the point where we admitted we were horribly lost. Then from the road in front came one of the guests from the hostels.  He asked (without prompt) if we were looking for the hot springs, we nodded and he told us to follow the road for another 2km or so and we’d get there.

The hot springs were more than a welcome sight, it was an accomplishment. We soaked our aching bodies in the bath water warmth, to the point where the return journey seemed like it would be hell.

The return journey along the road was a lot less pretty and less interesting, save for the fact it was rapidly getting dark and we had no torch (except Clare had pointed out at the time “I have my mobile and part of my sandal glows in the dark”, though to what effect these would have been on a jungle mountain road is anyone’s guess). We made it back to the hill house through some tea plantations just as the daylight gave out.


One Response to “Jungle Trekking”

  1. Jane Eve September 9, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Wow! Sounds great, perhaps a tad scary with sheer drops and pools feeding into waterfalls! Your tightrope practice obviously came in handy for the crossing then. xx

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