It didn’t occur to me until I arrived in Beijing just how different countries are even for the basics. I thought I’d write a few notes to help myth and stereotype bust. My experience to date of Thailand consist of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, so bare this in mind but here are my pearls of wisdom.

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Now I’ve never been a fan of massages, in fact being completely honest I’d never had one before. There’s something slightly unnerving about entrusting a complete stranger in a darkened room to manipulate your body.

So in for a penny in for a pound, why not head to the local Thai prison in Chiang Mai for a massage!

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Boxing

Every part of my body felt broken after the hill tribe trek. It wasn’t till I landed back in Chiang Mai that I realised I hadn’t even looked in the mirror for a few days. Just as I suspected I was battered, bruised and luckily a little bit bronzed!

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Again waking early we ate a breakfast of boiled eggs bread and pineapple. Today was rafting day! Overnight the locals had built us rafts out of bamboo sticks with tripods in the middle to support our bags.

The river was pretty murky and brown and the current fairly strong. We climbed aboard, 5 people per raft with a local at the front to do the real hard graft. We balanced in the centre of the rafts in a line and held our sticks whilst our feet sank in the water. When we set off along. It was exhausting and I was only slightly prepped as I’d had a quick go at punting in Oxford a few weeks before I left for Thailand – the skill and muscles involved were almost identical.

We rafted for 4 hours and rode down rapids. Most people ended up in the river! It was fantastic, exhilarating and the lush green plants and trees around us made the setting beautiful. Giant butterflies and dragonflies landed on our rafts and took off again and the birds each with their unique sounds created a jungle chorus for our whole trip down the river.

I’d relive this experience in a heartbeat and although the comfort level was clearly not as good as an inflatable dinghy (which you can choose to use) I’d choose the bamboo makeshift rafts any day.