Elephants and pythons!

Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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The Legend

Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chiang Rai was much more adventure packed. We spent one day touring around the local country on mountain bikes, visited a hilltribe village and a local school, went on an elephant ride and did a long boat tour down the river.  The next day we drove up to the Golden Triangle (where the Burma, Laos and Thailand borders meet) and went to the Opium Museum, crossed the border to Laos, visited a tea plantation and did a tea tasting!  
Seeing the elephants up close was awesome.  The elephant ride was only about 30 minutes, but that was definitely long enough.  Sitting on an elephant rig is a lot more uncomfortable than it looks, it just rocks back and forth non stop.  They all went crazy over the bananas and sugar canes that we fed them.  Although one of the elephant's feet was chained up, we were told they were really well treated and only worked from 1 to 4 pm, the rest of the time they lived in a nearby forest and were free to roam around.  I hope they told us the truth!
We also got to pet a massive python, 5 m long and 75 kg!  We couldn't believe the owner just left the top of the cage open and let small children pet (and hit!) the python! Pretty scary.
The Opium Museum was a lot more informative than I thought it would be, we learnt a great deal about the history of tea and opium in South East Asia and the negative effects it had on the SE Asia countries.  It's incredible how opium has destroyed the lives of so many people here, but the government is doing a great job at helping the population overcome the addiction.  We visited the tea plantations, up in the mountains where the poppy plantations used to be and tasted about 5 different types of tea.

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