Trip Start Sep 09, 2012
20Trip End Feb 02, 2013
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What I did
Mike Penny & Ange were there on honeymoon & we arranged to meet them for some food & drinks that evening. Turned out they weren't staying far from us which was good & they had been there a few days so knew where to go. It was a really warm night & we were sweating buckets! We had a quick beer on the roof of a bar opposite their hotel then went for food. We were both a bit apprehensive as we knew they both liked to eat crazy things but we went with it. Luckily they took us to a nice Thai place that served traditional Thai food, it was just off the street. We were both quite full as we had eaten in the airport then got plane food that we weren't expecting but we ordered regardless
The 'bar' was next to a snooker hall where you could use the bathroom. This was my first experience of a Thai toilet! Literally a hole you had to squat over then flush by pouring water down it! It was a experience!
There was also some guys with paper lanterns they let Ange & me set one off which was really nice. The night ended with us drinking the bar dry of ice & a few other spirits! We got home about 3!
The next day we were both quite hungover & it didn't help that the air con in the room wasn't very good so we were pretty warm! We needed to book the elephant trek & mike had recommended the one they did, baan Chaang Elephant park. We had to book this for the following day because is it had no availability on the saturday but that just meant we had to spend another night in the hostel
The area of Chiang Mai was lovely, it had such a nice feel to it & the old town was surrounded by ruins from the old walls that stood. The area was quite touristy but not too in your face- we did see a few lady boys though!
Despite being hungover we went to Tiger Kingdom on a tuk tuk. This was further than we thought & it was a really hot day so it didn't do us any favours! We arrived & payed to see the big & baby Tiger. We had heard stories about this place but wanted to see it for ourselves. We saw the baby ones first which were really cute but they were all sleepy. Not sure if this was because of the heat or what they put in their milk?! We took our pictures & had a stroke then moved to the big tiger. There was so many of them kept here but some had bigger areas to roam in with a 'pool' & others were in cages as big as them selves! This was a bit distressing seeing such a large animal in such a small space! We had our pictures with the big tiger, I was a bit more scared of these ones & it didn't help the trainer winding one up & making it growl! When we left we felt quite guilty that we had spent the day with amazing animals yet their living conditions were pretty poor & we were selfish enough to pay so we got the pictures!! Despite this we were looking forward to the elephant trek & mike had reassured us that the animals we treated really well here & not made to perform & do tricks
The next day we went waking around the centre of Chiang Mai to see more of the town. We had a new girl in our room from Canada called Sindy. She was really nice & we ended up going for food & drinks with her, & the other guys that were in our dorm. One was from Alaska who lived between two mountains & only saw 4 hours of day light, one was Korean & the other was from London. We had a nice evening but did spend a fortune as we went to a restaurant to eat instead of having street food. We managed to see a bit of Thai Boxing at the end of the night which was good.
The following day we were up & ready for the elephant trek. It took a hour to get to the camp. When we arrived you could see all the elephants standing between the trees. We were so excited!! Our guide was really friendly & we got our uniform which was a nice denim combo.
Our first task was to familiarise ourselves with the elephants & feed them sugar cane - this was amazing. We went round them all, big, medium & baby ones. Some would take the food with their trunk but others would open their mouth for you to put it in! You would have to be carefully walking around with the bundle of sugar cane as you would see a trunk coming round you to try & pinch some!
Pie - walk
Non long - lie down
Quay - turn
How - stop
Once we had mastered these (our group was about 10) we tried sitting on all the elephants big & small. You had to get on as if you would a horse but hold the top of its ear then when you were on top move your hands to the top of its head. We know why they gave you denim to wear because their hair was like a wire brush! Their ears reminded us of thick car shammy cloths! After we sat on the elephants we had a mini walk to practise our commands then went for lunch.
After lunch we were allocated our elephants. Each elephant in the park there were 21 in total had their own trainer that was with them 24-7. We were 2nd in line on the trek behind the baby one. Ours was female . She was a bit of a bugger because she kept stopping to pull branches to eat all the way along the route. She was literally pulling everything from the trees then having to stop & hold everyone up to go to the toilet! We nearly feel off at one point as she reached so high with her trunk
I was sat on the neck which was hard to balance at first because her shoulder bones dug into you as she walked. It was quite scary because they are so big I didn't want to used commands either as no one else seemed to be using them!! Chris was behind on her back but was still uncomfortable as her back was so wide & her spine dug in! The trek was quite hilly but we had a stop halfway which was good. You could see how much the trainers care for the elephants then - ours was just lying flat out on the elephants back & had put him up there with his trunk! The guide had a camera & was taking pictures for free which was really good too!
The last part of the trek took us to where the elephants were washed. They were all excited & started making noises! When they were settled we got a bucket & brushes & were told to stay on their back if they were lying down. Ours was, so we began to scrub & throw water all over her! This was such a good experience we really enjoyed it! The baby one also started squirting water at us through his trunk!!
Once this was done we showered & got to bus back to the hostel. We had had the best day & both agreed it was it was one of the most memorable ones so far!!
That evening we went to the Sunday night market that was huge! It was far too busy the streets were just crammed with stalls you couldn't even look for anything as there was too much! We had some street food with the guys from the hostel & went to a posh hotel for red wine as it was the korean guys favourite place that he wanted to show it. It was a lovely hotel but didn't help our budget!!
The next morning we were flying to Krabi & looking forward to time on the beach!