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Dear readers, you should know that I almost died the other day, both figuratively and literally. Sorry mom, I should have told you I was going to do this earlier. One thing you see in Chiang Mai is elephants. There are elephant sanctuaries, elephant treks and elephant shows. (One thing I told my friend Mandon was that elephant rides in Bangkok are sometimes called having sex with overweight American backpackers, this is NOT TRUE.)

As you know this article is all about retiring for $1000 a month, so why am I talking about dying and elephants? The answer dear readers, is that I discovered that the elephant jungle trek was cheaper than staying in my hotel. That’s correct, for $50 (1500 thb) you get 3 days, 2 nights accommodation and food. And as you faithful followers know my goal is to spend about $30 (900 thb) day. So 3 days for that price works with the budget considering the cost.

They picked us up and took me and my 4 new friends (2 from Quebec, 1 from Japan and 1 from Germany)to a jungle. There with our intrepid guide Sam we started trekking. What they don’t tell you, is that it’s a real trek. Not a baby hike, it’s a 2hr uphill with a pack hike. I’d say it feels like a Spartan 5km run in a jungle except its 40 degrees out and the scenery is beautiful.

Three lies a Thai guide will tell you

  1. It’s five minutes away
  2. It’s got a massive waterfall
  3. Don’t worry it’s easy

Halfway through the trek I slipped on some wet rocks and twisted my knee. There’s no way to really go back down the jungle. The guide was great, really great and actually carried my pack and I just limped up the rest of the way.

The waterfall that we saw was cool but not the epic 20 or 30 ft one they promised.

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The nights accommodations were wood pallets in a village with authentic and very hole ridden mosquito nets.

The next morning is when I almost die. With my knee swelling up, I couldn’t do another 2 hour trek.

So I had a choice, my guide could either take my pack and walk slowly with me or I could take the village motorbike with one of the villagers down for $7(200thb). This guy is about 110lbs. I’m 200lbs and with the pack it’s 250lbs.

Together we are 360 lbs on a 2008 Kawasaki 125. That means we are going to take a nice safe road right?  Nope straight down through jungle paths and dirt hills for 30 minutes. Literally no guard rails, just jungle trails, no helmets and a precipitous downhill slope.

I saw elephants, I stayed in a jungle village and I got a cliff diving motorcycle ride. Adventure yes, do again? N0.

I can’t say it was great, but that’s the point of this story. When you are looking for the best countries to retire on your $1000, you can still live life in a death defying and insane way. You don’t immediately have to start golfing or gardening(not that there’s anything wrong with that).

For me, great retirement is high speed internet and $7 foot massages, so while there may be many adventure stories that I post here I’ll usually post it from my spa while encouraging you to do it.

Remember it’s about finding the best countries to retire cheap , and the best is up to you.