Well, after our trip to "budget" Thailand, I felt that sharing about a few of the highlights would be helpful. While we were staying, via points, at the Le Meridien, we signed up to go on a day tour. It was actually our 3 year anniversary.
So, we met Charlie Saky Namchai, our personal guide, in the early morning of our trip. Right off the bat he was friendly and we making sure we were ready. My wife was 7 months pregnant, so he wanted to ensure that she could handle the trip because the one we signed up for had lost of hiking on fairly steep hills. He also located us some bug repellant, which we had forgotten.
We then hopped on a boat and traveled up river for around an hour and then went on an elephant ride. It was very fun and novel, though my wife was happy it was only an hour after we got going. All that rocking around was tough on the tummy I guess. When we got back I was going to tip our driver, but I could not remember where I put my wallet, Charlie quickly stepped in and generously tipped the guy for me.
Afterward we headed up river more and we got our boat stuck! The driver and Charlie hopped out and tried to push us free. I guess the weather had been weird lately and the water was at an all time low. They both told me that this was really rare, but I kind of enjoyed the excitement. Reluctantly they let me get out and help push. It gave me a chance to be a knight in shinning armor for my wife... ;o)
Once the boat was free and we landed further up river, we started our hike. We got to see some hot springs and lots of other cool nature stuff along the way. Turns out that Charlie's grandpa was like a village herbal medicine man and so Charlie knew all sorts of cool facts about the local plant life. Being an Eagle Scout I found it very interesting.
We then got up to the first village we were visiting. Charlie is actually from one of the villages we visited. From what I recall, they aren't actually Thai, they are people who migrated from Tibet. Very interesting. After hiking through the first village we got to stop for some water at a "hotel" with a very nice view. It is a legit hotel spot, but it is very rustic. For people who want that experience of being part of the tribe people. It was fun and again, the view was great.
We then hiked to the second village. There Charlie made us some lunch, (which he graciously catered to our tastes, my wife has not bee able to handle sea food while pregnant) and we did a little bit of souvenir shopping with some of the locals. From there we hiked through the jungle to a large waterfall where we had some pictures taken and Charlie climbed a tree to get us some fruit. We then headed back down to a SUV that took us back to the hotel. We also stopped at a tea plant farm on the way back.
Anyway, it was a great trip and a great deal. I'd do it again if I ever get back there. Though we got our trip through our hotel, I'm positive it would have been way cheaper if we had gotten ahold of Charlie directly, since I'm sure all of the travel places take a nice chunk, probably even bigger at our hotel.
His email is Asianwaytours@hotmail.com
. I highly recommend him and the trip that we took. Also, the hiking was pretty intense, but I know he and I talked about a lot of other options as well. Enjoy!