We arrived into Chiang Mai around midday. We checked in and got ourselves ready before heading out for a big walk around the old city. The city was really interesting, filled with temples and some really cool street art.We stopped in at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary office to book our Elephant experience before heading to a night market. The night market was really good, it had lots of stalls for shopping and a separate area for food. The food area looked so modern we almost felt it belonged in Melbourne or London.We walked around picking foods from different stalls so we got to try lots of different things. The Chiang Mai sausage was a big hit with all of us, it tasted like a Tom Yum soup flavoured sausage. On our way back we came across a classic car meet up where there were loads of cool trucks and cars that locals own parked up for people to see. We all then headed back to the hotel for an early night, ready for another day of exploring.
We woke up and had breakfast at our hotel. We decided to visit one of the many temples in Chiang Mai but one that online looked quite interesting as it had a mix of old and new temples within the one area. We arrived at War Chedi Luang and spent a good hour or so in there visiting all the smaller temples as well as walking around the older one inside. There were lots of monks which made Su very happy as she had taken a liking to taking pictures of them and often followed them around.We continued walking around and doing a little shopping, Kev has embraced the culture so much he even purchased a bum gun to install in the Spain house. Taking a little rest back at the hotel to hide from the midday sun we were ready for some more exploring a few hours later with the Saturday night walking street market our main target. It was manic, it was spread over multiple streets which ended up so busy you could hardly move. It was quite stressful so we decided to leave and go get some dinner elsewhere. It was here where we all got to have Khao Soi which is a northern Thailand curry noodle soup and its so so so nice! We had a couple beers before heading home as we had an early start the next morning for our Elephant half day trip.
We woke up at 6am and got picked up to head to Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary is an organisation that rescues working elephants and elephants from riding camps. We had done some research as well as heard from others that this was a good place to have an ethical experience with an elephant. The money you spend goes towards the camps as well as buying new elephants off riding camps or an animal circus. After a long and cold ride in the back of a pick up we arrived and had to walk through rice paddies and across bamboo bridges to the camp. We got given a quick run down of how everything works and what they are doing to help elephants before it was time to meet the elephants. The first interaction we had was feeding. We got to feed the elephants banana and sugar canes and get up close to these amazing animals.Once feeding time was over we were to get changed into our bathers, whilst we were doing this the elephants were left to roam around and some cheeky ones even tried getting up to the changing area.
Next was time for the elephants mud bath, of the 8 elephants at this particular camp only 2 wanted to get in the mud so the others were left to do their own thing which we really liked. The elephants rolled around covering themselves in mud while the rest of us had a little mud fight. After the mud fight it was time for a wash in the river.We got to splash water on them as they rolled around kicking their feet and trunks in the water.We had such a great day and it was an amazing experience. We headed back for a hot shower and to get ready for another night market.
Hoping the Sunday night walking street market wouldn’t be as hectic as the Saturday night one we headed out for a few drinks to ensure we got there a little after it had started. It was manic, possible worse, we tried to entertain it for a little while but again just had to leave. We went for a little walk around before stopping for some dinner at a little local restaurant. We were flying to Surat Thani the next day so we all headed back to pack our bags and get to bed.
On our last day in Chiang Mai we took a tuk tuk to visit the long neck tribe nearby. Whilst this is completely set up for tourism we were told that the members of this tribe fled from Myanmar and are not allowed to get jobs doing anything that a Thai local can do. Hence why they set up a market where tourists can visit and buy their handicrafts. It was really interesting to walk around but we felt it would have been even better if we had of had a guide so we could have asked them more questions as their English was very limited.