The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Tag special experience

The Big Indochina Trip: elephants

Chiang Mai is rife with activities like rock climbing, zip lining, bungee jumping, you name it. I’ve tried all of them at some time or other except one, petting elephants. A lot of the time when people are allowed to get close to some kind of animal it’s kind of exploitative, and dangerous to both man and beast. There are lots of operators that offer tours that include petting and riding elephants or even circus  like shows. The problem is that the elephants are often trained using a metal hook that causes pain and even when their not, according to … Read the rest

Bat cave, 5:54 pm 

Bats, thousands, maybe even millions of them are streaming out of a large hole high up on the cliff face. They flow out in a long stream across the road, over the tree tops and out into the fields, flying back and forth and around each other at random, which makes it look like a pillar of black smoke, billowing in the wind. I stand watching, caught in a state of utter fascination.… Read the rest

Bamboo train, 9:58 am

We are rushing through the lush green landscape, the track shooting off through the undergrowth to some point in the far distance. The rails aren’t completely straight, they undulate slightly as if bent by the heat, and our little rail car keeps getting jolted from side to side. The noise of the wheels against the rails drowns out all other sound except for the loud TITAK TITAK  every time we pass over the gap between two misaligned sections of rail. Me and my fellow passengers sit or recline on worn out cushions on a simple wooden frame covered with bamboo slats, … Read the rest

Konglor cave, 4:48 pm

The chamber we are in is enormous, the vaulted roof as high as that of a church and at least 30 meters from wall to wall. On the sides, gentle slopes of bare rock come down towards the water, forming a sort of outcrop where there is a bend in the river, the boat skimming across the gravel just inches below the surface. The whole scene illuminated by the greyish light of our flashlights as they focus on different parts of the surroundings.… Read the rest

Konglor cave, 3:44 pm

We are on a small outcrop of rock, both behind and in front of us lies the shallow river. We are waiting while the driver pulls the boat over some rocky rapids. In the distance sunlight spills in through the jagged mouth of the cave, illuminating the white and ochre colored walls, and the green of the jungle outside reflected in the surface of the water. A large white rock topped with green sits right in the middle of the opening, the only place exposed to enough light for something to grow.… Read the rest

Konglor cave, 3:05 pm

Our little motorized long tail canoe is speeding into the darkness, guided by nothing but the head lamp of the driver. The boat lies low in the water, the surface just inches from the sides and it feels like any movement could tip us over. To the sides and above us the vaulted roof of the cave, bare grey rock rushing past, illuminated by the dancing beams of our flashlights.… Read the rest

Svinafellsjökull 2:10 pm

The rhythmic crunch of spike-soled boots on ice, the air is cool and crisp but my body is hot from exertion. Spread out in front of me is jumbled field of snow and ice, crisscrossed by crevices and gullies, sprinkled with volcanic ash and dotted here and there with puddles of absolutely clear water where the blue core of the ice shows through. Even if you’ve grown up with snow and ice, this is quite an experience.… Read the rest

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