The journey to Chiang Mai was long and tiring and stressful and many other things. But for Jamie, it was probably the worst journey of his life, at one point I thought he might get put in quarantine because he was literally green. To make things worse, we were held up at immigration for our connecting flight for two hours, most of which Jamie spent curled up in a ball on the floor.
Eventually we made it to our lovely hotel just a little out of Chiang Mai. We had originally planned to stay for three days but we loved this place and because Jamie was ill we wouldn’t have had much of a chance to do anything so we decided to stay for a week. This week was probably my favourite because we got to go visit elephants!
We made sure that the tour we went on was a sanctuary that didn’t allow riding of the elephants as I’m very conscious of this. Instead of riding these beautiful creatures we learned about them, fed them (a lot of) bananas, made medicine for them and even swam with them! We learned that elephants will remember people they trust and remember people they don’t like so you have to build up your relationship with the elephants by feeding them and playing with them. The lady who guided our tour told us “if they like you, they will remember you for 10 years, if they hate you, they will remember their whole life.”
When we got in the river with the elephants we used soft bark that we had battered to mush to wash the elephants and they sprayed water all over us. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.
Afterwards, we trekked to a waterfall in the heart of the jungle where we got to swim and take photos and cool down from the walk. This was beautiful and worth it at the end but I can’t say trekking in 30 degree heat is my favourite pass time.
This trip was wonderful because on top of all of this we got to go white water rafting which I had never done before! We were in a boat with three Spanish girls who were all such good fun. Though it wasn’t too rapid, we did get a chance to get in the river – when I say chance, I mean our guide threw us in.
Though this trip was one of my favourites, our day at Chiang Mai Jungle Flight was up there. This was a big zipline course which involved 19 ziplines including the highest and longest in Thailand, 1 abseil, some cool bridges and spiral staircases and a zipline rollercoaster! The longest and highest line was my favourite, flying over the top of a jungle in beautiful sunshine is exhilarating! I was on an adrenaline high for the rest of the trip from this one zipline.
Though these were the main tours we went on, we also spent a lot of time in the beautiful night markets and eating chicken cashew nut (about the only food we could stomach by this point). Some of my favourite memories from Chiang Mai include playing pool in a little bar on a small side street and trying a really hot chicken dish that made both of us cry. We also spent one night at a lady boy show which we felt was a must when in Thailand.
Chiang Mai was definitely top of the list in the places we visited in Thailand for it’s great nightlife and beautiful sites.