This post is way over due and I know it. I traveled with two friends to Thailand in August for 8 days and it was a great time! I never really went in with a set plan except to go with the flow. Our first destination was Chiang Mai. We stayed at a vegetarian guesthouse that had wonderful accomodations and great staff. The food was awesome too. The first day we were all tired so we relaxed a bit, and then as we decided to explore the city we ran into a cooking class next to our place and decided to sign up for later that night.
Exploring the city there were lots of little ornate temples everywhere covered in gold and brightly colored. We realized that we were not dressed for the temples as knees and shoulder must be covered when entering.
After washng up, we headed off to our cooking class. Our teacher was super friendly and a great teacher. First, we took a ride in the back of a pick up truck to the market. I learned a lot about vegetables and fruits while we were there. I chose pad thai, papaya salad, massamun curry and paste, and tom yum soup for my five dishes. I was surprised at how easy it was to make those delicious meals. It was fun taking the class with a girl from Russia, and a family from France. You always get to meet new people when traveling. The best part was we received a free recipe book!
On the Second day we walked around Chiang Mai and tried the regional specialty, Koh Soy. It was really yummy and spicy! After eating we went and explored Wat Chedi Luang. From the outside it did not look very big, but it was huge on the inside! One small building had a sign that said no women allowed. Never figured out why that was. One of the more peculiar exhibits of the temple was whether the wax figure, CHan Kusato, was real or not. I’m not quite sure. This night there was a complimentary dinner at our hostel and it was delicious! Who knew that vegetarian food could be so delicious?
After stuffing ourselves we headed out to the night market to meet another girl that we barely knew from Korea. It’s a very small world, during vacation season. It was so crowded!!! And we lost our friends at some point. But, I suppose that is life.
On our third day we made a trek out to the Jungle Elephant Paradise Park. It was an hour into the countryside riding the back of a pick up truck. It was a muddy, bumpy ride up that had branches smacking me in the face twice. Our driver, ‘Yut’ was the main tour guide. We followed him out to meet the elephants. The first two were younger and we got to feed them sugar cane, which they really loved. Next, we made our way through the jungle to see gramma,65, and baby, Litchi, who was 3. It was so interesting to see how active Litchi was and she was super cute! She even gave me a hug.
We had a buffet lunch down by the river that included: fried chicken, curry, rice, pad thai, and fruit. Once we finished eating we headed over to the mud bath. I decided to go barefoot to make the trek in the mud easier. The elephants came barreling in behind us into the cool, muddy water. We were instructed to throw mud on them and rub it in their skin. In return, we got hosed with muddy water. As we made our way back towards the waterfall via the elephants path I feel four times. Luckily, I was able to get out of the way just as Litchi came sliding down the hill fast behind us. We cleaned the elephants and ourselves off in the water. I actually enjoyed the elephants much more than I thought I would have.
To close out the night we went to another night market, and booked a bike ride tour for the next day. In the morning we had time so we hired a driver to take us out to Doi Suthrep and Phuping Palace. I have to say that the palace was rather unintersting to look at, however, the temple was stunning! The stupa in the center was made of pure gold and it glimmered beautifully under the sun. The temple was full of devotees and tourists. It offered main beautiful view points of the city below. After running back and changing at our hotel we got ready for our next big tour.
Our 27 kilometer tour of the Lanna countryside was beautiful. I learned that it used to be a separate kingdom and that the people speak a different dialect to Bangkok. Maude and Kristen had more faith in me than I did. The bike ride was very diffcult for me even thought it was very flat. I saw a rice mill and I saw a wood sculpture workshop. There was some gorgeous scenery under the blazing sun. We met a lovely couple from Holland who bought us a beer at the end of our tour. Now its time to get ready for Koh Lanta.