Dear Jay from Jay Guest House,
When we first met you we didn’t see through your pleasant demeanour and heavily made-up face into the small evil slits that were your eyes*. We were wooed by your high-pitched voice screeching, “Darling don’t worry, Darling!” And overlooked the fact that underneath this façade you were actually going to rip us off to no end and make our lives hell in the short week that we were in Chiang Mai.
Here we were, innocent tourists just trying to find a cheap Mae Taeng Trek as you bustled us into your hostel/tour agency under your big, warm turkey arms. After a long, hard day sight seeing we were easily swayed into buying your tour and with tired, weary hands pencilled ourselves into the trek the next day. Oh how silly we were to ignore the fact that you weren’t on Tripadvisor, Hostelworld or any other reviewing website! You’d promised us the world, you did. Vigorously showing us through the treks highlights, excitedly explaining all the reasons why you were the best. We reluctantly hand over our hard earned cash as you beam a sweetly sinister smile. We left in high spirits and you yell after us: “I love you, Darlings!” a phrase that will ring in our ears and haunt us for months afterwards.
We’d decided to forgive you for the fact that the morning of our trek we came to drop off our bags and you practically forced us to have breakfast at your establishment, and then overcharged us for the meals. I tried to argue with you and you got in such a huff and looked so genuinely offended that we shrugged it off and left. This should have been a sign. A day into the trek and it begins to dawn on us the extent of your deceit. Almost none of the activities you promised had been fulfilled and we’d only walked for a total of two hours; the rest of the time was spent “resting” on the side of the busy road. Our home stay was a more of a half-erected shack with no local people in sight. Nevertheless we kept up our high spirits knowing that the next day would get better and perhaps the promised activities would be completed. It didn’t. They weren’t. Our second full day of trekking was completed by 10am where we sat for two hours by the roadside waiting for lunch and were then bustled into a van back to Chiang Mai.
We just couldn’t believe that you’d do something like this to us so we figured it was the trekking companies fault. Angrily, we confronted the tour company only to be shot back and plainly shown what services they offered, which was what we were given. Slowly it begins to become clear. Behind all your lipstick smiles and “I love you, Darlings!” All along you’d been a fake. Everything was fake; your promises, your pamphlets, your smiles, your makeup. And… Oh lord, you were responsible for our bags! We flee the trekking agency faster than a tuk tuk with a pre-agreed fare. Luckily our bags were safe but this still was only the start of our extensive relationship as we’d booked and paid to stay at your hostel for a week over the duration of the Lantern Festival.
Needless to say there was a reoccurring theme within the way you ran your business and there is nothing I could do about it. With no Tripadvisor to turn to I sit here, months later, and write you this angry letter that you will probably never read. I just hope, with all my heart, that this was you at your worst and future unsuspecting travellers do not fall into your trap.
For now, I love you, Darling. Goodbye.
Country: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Currency: Thai Baht
$1 USD = 32.80฿
I was there: November 2013