Well, I said, there are not many non-tourist things to do in Thailand.

I suppose it depends on which way you look at it.

Most people want both. Super natural, no-tourist areas, off the beaten track but with super cozy accommodation and with the amenities of a luxury hotel. But as mum said when you were younger, you can’t have both. Quite true, really.

As we set off on Tuesday morning, we see dozens of pick-up trucks loaded with backpackers awaiting the ultimate trekking experience. All of them have probably been promised the no-tourist, secluded Thailand mountain experience. I really don’t care that much at that stage, I am looking forward to some hiking, waterfalls (try out my new camera gadget), rain forests and, at night, a bonfire romance with the odd can of beer, some chitchat and a little craic.

However, as we are dumped in some fairly remote area (I’m glad the driver’s leaving us, his style of driving had us all quite sick, even those not on a hang over recovery), this will be the last time we see town people for the next 48 hours. The trek takes us up and down steep hills (strenuous on the lungs when going up and on the knees coming down), but the scenery is worth it. It’s a bit like bush walking in Australia – same super dry surroundings. I have always thought of rain forest and jungle more lashy. However, what sets this one apart from Oz is that this really comes fairly close to off the beaten track! The paths we’re on are very rocky, not quite accommodating for the unfit. Concentrate on where you set your feet, it could be the last you do!

The night camps are very basic, but surprisingly comfortable. (Never would have thought you can actually sleep on bamboo planks). The villagers are cooking for us, in return, they expect us to buy some of their ‘original’ mountain hill tribe merchandise, and are more or less welcoming (depending on village and purpose of stay: short-term toilet break or overnight stay spending big money on beer).

Our tour guides are very friendly. Well, one of them is like a duracell bunny (or on some kind of weird drugs). He just won’t stop being super cheery and, more often than I can take, very childish. He doesn’t know when to stop, which makes us rather angry at times (you’d wish all the bad things in the world to the guy who invented duracell).

As we return, we’re dirty, filthy, manky, and all the really uncomfortable things that make you feel proud of having pushed the limit. For myself that included trying bush tucker (a cooked tadpole we caught at the creek and a bug that looked awfully like a cockroach to me). But it’s no-tourist, yay!

Back at the hostel, I feel exhausted, but quite happy and relaxed. I’ve done all I wanted in the last couple of weeks, and there is no feeling of having missed something.

I suppose, if the road’s your journey, it’s hard to get lost.

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