Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thailand Part 4: Chiang Mai

After leaving Phuket, I got on a plane to head to Chiang Mai. It was a short 2 hour plane ride, and in that time, I met a german guy who was sitting beside me and we talked the whole plane ride. He had no plans, so I suggested he come check out the hostel I was staying at and he did! So we made our way to the hostel, which was by far my favourite hostel on my trip. It cost me 3$ a night! There was a little patio in the garden where everyone would hang out and at night we would play music, drink beer and talk. I made a lot of friends there, simply from hanging around the hostel.
Once we got settled in, we went for a walk to see some temples, and came across a parade! It was so random but the floats were incredible. Then we walked some more and found a beautiful temple, one of the oldest in Chiang Mai. I couldn't go in, because I wasn't dressed appropriately (women have to cover their shoulders and knees, but with +35 degrees Celsius, there was no way I was wearing pants.) He took my camera and took picture for me, though.

When you're in Chiang Mai, you can't not go see elephants. This is the place to go for that. And considering they are my favourite animal, I had to go see some! So I booked a tour and the next day, they picked me up and brought me to an elephant sanctuary called Baanchang Elephant Park. Right away, they got us in Mahout (elephant trainer) clothes, and we fed the elephants. Then we learned how to ride them and the different command words. After lunch, we went on an hour-long ride on them! We sat on their necks and let them guide us around the park. After that tour, we went into the water with the elephants to bathe them and had a little bit of a water fight with the Mahouts. It was by far the most amazing experience I've ever had. You can just feel the intelligence coming from these creatures and their personality too!

Having no plans the next day, I decided to walk around Chiang Mai with more friends I met at the hostel. We went and got massages from women ex-prisoners. They have a rehabilitation program in one of the prisons where they teach women how to do thai massages so they have a job when they get out. And by the way, best massage I got in Thailand by far. The next day I headed out with more friends on mopeds to find water falls in the mountain. Even if it didn't seem like we did a whole lot, I still have a lot of fun just driving around and exploring Chiang Mai. We found one waterfall where the water was deep enough to sit in and the water was nice and cold, so I eagerly jumped in!

I miss Chiang Mai so much... I made so many great friends and how so many memories of sitting with everyone at night and hanging out, and of course, the elephants!

Thailand posts:
Part 1: Bangkok // Part 2: Koh Phangan // Part 3: Kho Phi Phi // Part 4: Chiang Mai // Part 5: Khao Sok

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