Place – S.K. House
Address – 30 Moonmuang Rd. Soi 9 Chiang Mai
Cost – 3000 Baht for 3 day trek and 2 nights accommodation at the hotel
Facilities – Swimming pool, hot water, restaurant, ATM, fan and air conditioned rooms, internet access
Website – www.theskhouse.com
Review – the hotel we stayed at was very comfortable. The rooms were cleaned if we requested by placing the “Make up my room card” on the door handle when we went out for the day. Restaurant served a great banana pancake. Nice courtyards to relax in. Internet was not free however free wi-fi is available from nearby restaurants. If you are lucky you can find a spot in the courtyard that picks up a free signal.
3 day trek – fairly easy trek with approximately 4 hours of walking through jungle, some dirt roads, rice paddies, farms and rivers each day. Each day included waterfall stops, where we were able to swim and shower. Day 1 included a one hour elephant ride which although I have ridden an elephant before, it is still so much fun to interact with them. My highlight is definitely the baby elephants which I absolutely love! Day 3 included a bamboo rafting experience which was relaxing but fun at the same time. Our first night accommodation was within a farming village, the second night was along the river in a jungle camp. The trek was not as it was advertised to us. We did not get to interact with the “long neck” Karen hill tribes, we did see other tourists along the way, and we were still ‘deep’ enough in the jungle to have walked on dirt roads. However, the trek was still great, we had a great guide “Jungle Tim”, I had heaps of fun and made some great new friends along the way.
Cooking class – hungover from the night before (drinking and partying with our trekking crew) Chase and I enrolled in a cooking course on an organic farm. Not only were we able to cook some of our favourite Thai dishes, we were able to learn more about the ingredients. This is something I have been looking forward to for so long as Thai food is one of my favourites, and it is something I eat so often. Having done this course makes me understand the simplicity of Thai cooking, and appreciate what I am eating. Also, I am extremely proud and excited to have the knowledge and ability to cook such wonderful tasty creations. These creations include: green curry paste and green curry, tom kha gai, chicken and basil stir fry, spring rolls and mango sticky rice. Thai food uses few basic staple ingredients in most dishes such as chilli, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, and takes next to no time to cook. Visit www.thaifarmcooking.com for more information on the course.
Loved – the hippy vibe – organic fresh fruit and vegetables, abundant vegetarian options and clothing (gypsy pants worn by both males and females) – mixed with the jungle treks: fused together you have a hippy jungle loving crowd – happy and peaceful
Hated – expensive rock climbing. There are only two climbing operators on the market for rock climbing in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) offer exorbitant prices for climbing, renting and selling gear (9000 Baht for a rope) and have a massive advantage over The Peak due to their location in the old town and their role in developing and maintaining the climbs at the famous “Crazy Horse”. If you are looking to do some climbing at Crazy Horse either bring your own gear or contact the Peak climbing school (which we ran out of time to locate and book something with).
Food – Common theme here: street food is the way to go. Khao ga mu and Khao mun gai are two rice dishes served in northern Thailand. The Khao ga mu (remember- cows go moo) was delicious: boiled pork on rice with coriander, spring onions and an amazing tangy chilli sauce. Didn’t get to try the Khao mun gai (remember – cow moon guy) which is a similar dish, however chicken is accompanied with a different kind of sauce. I also enjoyed the simple Thai cooking during our trek – basic peasant food. Rice and veggies. Cheap and tasty. Although not something I would feast on daily, it made me appreciate the simplicity of food and life present in the jungle and farming villages.
Tips for next time – stay longer! Do some rock climbing, do more treks, live there. Try Khao mun gai. Visit the night bazaar (at night!). Get out further north and visit the Golden Triangle and Chiang Rai. Do a home stay to learn more about farm and village life. Volunteer on a farm to get a unique cultural experience.
Blue Diamond – The Breakfast Club
35/1 MoonMuang Rd.
Soi 9 T. Sripum A.Muang
Chiang Mai 50200
Tel: 66 – 053 – 217120