Chiang Mai, Thailand
The activities themselves were ok. You get to ride an elephant through the jungle (on a chair, not bareback), see a hill tribe (or at least a tourist street fair version of one where the 5 people that are there are there to sell you expensive knick knacks), and ride a bamboo raft down a river (if sitting there staring at water for 20 minutes is really your thing). My problem with the whole thing was the passivity of the entire trip. This trip is designed for fat and lazy foreigners and you literally don't have to do much except walk between your different modes of transportation. The 90 minutes of elephant riding gets old pretty quick, especially when it's only broken up by 5 minutes in the hill tribe village (you can go through the 5 stalls in less than a minute, but we lingered for a bit...). The river rafting was the ultimate in boredom for our group of 20 somethings. We got so antsy we actually picked up the poles and started helping our guide push us down the river just to have something to do. Even they water buffalo they chased into the river in front of us were just a momentary distraction (It's like Disneyland: reset the water buffalo for the next raft!). My biggest problem with this trip though was that this same set of activities was available for a third of the price at almost every travel agency and "tourist information" booth in the city. The cab drivers and staff at most hotel desks also moonlight as tour operators, so you can literally book this anywhere for only $30. If you're trying to save money, just wait until you get to Chiang Mai before booking anything.
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