Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thailand: Chiang Mai Day 2

After we woke up in our treehouse, we headed to breakfast of... you guessed it... a fried egg, toast, and crinkle-cut fruit. 

The place just to the right of us in the pic below is where we ate our meals... beautiful scenery, isn't it?

Let me just state that I did not bring a hair dryer or anything of the sort since it would have taken up way too much space in my suitcase.  So, now you see my natural, humidity hair, haha!

Another of my favorite tree's. 

After we left the tree house resort, we went white water rafting.  As they drove us to the spot where we launch, we both felt like we were driving to our death.  However, because it was low season it wasn't really exciting... like at all.  We kept getting stuck on rocks and it was pretty slow.  But the scenery was gorgeous and our kayak guide sang songs almost the whole time.  Afterwards, they fed us a HUGE lunch.  Thai's must think American's eat this much.  

After that, we headed to visit the Long Neck Tribe.  This was probably both of our least favorite of the whole trip.  The people of the Long Neck Tribe are refugee's from Burma and are supported by the Thai government.  They are not allowed to leave their refugee camp.  The whole interest in this group is the women and their long necks.  We felt those things and they are heavy! They actually just make the shoulders drop and the neck looks longer.  The women start wearing those rings at a young age and add a couple ever few years (I don't remember the exact number of rings and how often).  And when the women marry, they wear rings around their knee's to symbolize their marriage.  The older women look content and comfortable with where they are and the little kids look so carefree and like they are having so much fun.  However, there was one girl that I couldn't get out of my mind that made the whole thing seem so wrong. I'll get to that...

So, this girl was selling stuff and we thought she was just a kid.  But then we noticed the rings around her knee's that symbolized that she was married and to be frank, she looked miserable. There were all these tourists from China trying to take a picture with her and were really pushing her to smile and she didn't budge.  She didn't smile and she looked like she was trying to escape.  It was so hard to watch and see that we wish we hadn't gone there at all.

I mean really, she looks way too young to be married, right?

Moving on... Here we are with our awesome tour guide, Yo.  He was fantastic!

Then it was off to our absolute favorite part of Chiang Mai and quite possibly the whole trip... the elephants.

There are elephants all over Thailand and going there, we knew we wanted to do more than just go on a quick ride on an elephant.  So, we chose the tour that had the 2-hour elephant interaction where we got to feed the elephants, ride them bareback through the country (instead of on a bench on the elephant) and "bathe" them in the river.  

We ended up doing this with another American couple (probably one of the only ones we saw in Thailand) and they were so fun to share this adventure with.  

 We started off with an arm full of fruit to feed the elephants.  We started walking to feed them when we saw this huge elephant! I was so excited to be so close to it, until it started walking right toward me and didn't stop!  Apparently she was coming for my food so I gave it to her.  Everyone kept telling me to slow down but she was really pushy and her trunk was strong. So, my food didn't last long. :)

We barely got this picture in time since this was so unexpected!

Then it was Nate's turn.  I was glad the elephants were just as pushy with him as they were with me.  They kind of pushed him to the edge and therefore the tree's are right in front of him for the pic.

Then it was time for us to get on our elephants.  They had me get on the smallest elephant who was only 5 years old.  She was adorable but I was hoping to get on this massive elephant like I had imagined.  So, I was a little disappointed... at first.

Nate's elephant, however, was 40 years old and HUGE.  I mean, look at the difference between our elephants.

We began our journey through the country.  If it looks like I am uncomfortable on this elephant, it's because I am.  Because she was so young, her head didn't stick up as much as the adults so I felt like I was going to slide off the whole time.  

Nate's elephant led the way and we followed behind.  Occasionally his elephant would snort or exhale sharply out of her trunk and we were all the recipients of that lovely shower.  

I forgot to put my camera in auto-mode so a lot of our pics on our ride to the river were SO washed out. Oh well.

Then we got in the river to "bathe" our elephants...

The water part was awesome because our elephant's personalities really started to show.  My elephant was the most playful.  She and a couple of the elephants did a few fun tricks that made the experience all the better.  Here is a trick I tried to do with my elephant.  It didn't work out...

My attempt at sitting on her trunk.  Instead she wrapped her trunk around my leg and I thought it was going to break.  Those trunks are strong! Needless to say, it didn't work out.
This is what it was supposed to look like. :)

This is what it was supposed to look like. 
Then my elephant showed just how playful she was. In fact, she ended up being the most playful of the bunch.  She did a trick where she would get water in her trunk and blow it out on you and it was just as awesome every time. 

Nate's elephant was like an ornery old woman. As soon as she got in the water she just went off on her own and ate the tree's.
Nate's elephant.

And then we headed back to camp...

When we got back there was a momma and baby elephant together.  The baby was so cute and tiny.  I think they said she was only 10 months old but I could be remembering wrong.  

And here is Amanda and Jon, our friends for the trek.

After the elephant tour, we met up with Nate's classmate Ambika, who is from Chiang Mai, for dinner.  She happened to be visiting family at the exact time we went.  We ended up going to the opening of a restaurant, which was pretty cool.
Please don't mind my appearance... I was exhausted!
 Despite the fact that we were so tired, it was our last night and we wanted to see what the Night Market was like.  It was pretty awesome and we bought a few souvenirs.

I'm so bummed I didn't get a better picture of the tuk-tuk's. But here is what those things look like.  Tip: Don't ride a tuk-tuk when you are wearing a skirt.

We ended up buying a souvenir from this place.  They had beautiful carvings and we got ours for a heck of a deal!

And that ends our adventures of Chiang Mai.  It was so incredible and so beautiful and full of so much to do and see.  We really could have spent a month there and we can only hope to go back one day.

Coming up: Railay and Bangkok.

1 comment:

Haley said...

I love the elephant adventure! What an unforgettable experience. I was looking at these pictures with Abby on my lap and she kept shouting, SEE NATE! SEE NATE! We miss you guys.