Our day has been fantastic – rock climbing, rapelling, and caving with Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures. We are spending the night with a family in the mountain village of Mae Kompong.
I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for rock climbing, but it was really fun. It is so incredibly hot and humid; I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life. Our guides outfitted us with our climbing gear and we drove about 45 minutes out of the city to Crazy Horse, an area of limestone cliffs and caves. We were the only beginner climbers in our group and had both instructors to ourselves – the others were from Austria and had their own gear. They probably have mountains in their backyard. We started with a trek straight up the mountain and I thought my legs were on fire. I didn’t make it very far up the first two routes but my husband flew up to the top like a monkey. We then rappelled down 55 meters (about 180 feet) into a large cave chamber inside the mountain and hiked out. We tried two more climbing routes after lunch and I was able to make it to the top of the last one! Our guides, Taw and Phi, were extremely friendly and I felt safe the entire time.
After a full day of climbing, we were driven to Mae Kompong, a mountain village about 20 minutes from Crazy Horse. We stayed with a woman, her son and his wife, and their 8 year old daughter. After sweating so much while rock climbing, I was really looking forward to a hot shower. I had to pour hot water into one bucket, rain water into another, and mix them together before I poured it over my head! I didn’t care – it was awesome. The houses were very open – no glass in the windows, only shutters and the walls didn’t meet the ceiling. You could hear the neighbors talking and people walking on the road. I took a walk in the village before dinner. People were out visiting with neighbors, children were playing, and a gorgeous waterfall flowed down the mountain and through the town. After a fantastic dinner, I helped with the dishes using no hot water, only cold water from a spigot outside the house. I had a Thai massage after dinner – it was a fantastic combination of a yoga session, chiropractic treatment, and traditional massage.