Diaries from Chiang Mai
I am hating how quickly this trip is going! I swear I just got here and now I’m already half way through my time in South East Asia!!
I hear the weather back home hasn’t been too fabulous, but I hope you’re all enjoying your summer! It’s so incredible humid here, so all a bit sweaty! (Ain’t that lovely!)
To get to Chiang Mai we got the overnight train from Bangkok and oh my, best thing ever! I’d heard so much about how people hate them, and that you should only do it if you neeeeed to. But honestly, I think everyone should do one! In fact Josh and I are a bit annoyed we booked flights for some journeys instead of the overnight train!
It was one of my best nights sleep this entire trip!
A lady came round and turned our spaces seat and table into a set of bunk beds, all with bedding provided. There was food and drinks available and surprisingly nice toilets. (I should point out we we’re travelling in Second Class A/C on train number 9). We honestly were both in shock at how nice it all was! Highly recommend to anyone going Bangkok to Chiang Mai for sure!
Once we got to Chiang Mai, we headed for some breakfast. We went to a place called Blue Diamond which was vegan heaven! They had so much food for vegans (and non-vegans too) and I honestly was so happy to see some chocolate based goods I could eat!
I ordered a banana and chocolate vegan pancake and it was heavenly!
Chiang Mai has so many beautiful temples. We went to a few of them and they were just stunning! The architecture of the buildings are all so intricate.
The best thing we did in Chiang Mai had to be the Elephant Nature Park. I wanted to do something with elephants during our time in Thailand as a birthday gift to Josh as he loves elephants, but I didn’t want it to be harmful to the elephants. I’d seen far too many places advertising Elephant rides etc. and I really cannot support anything that causes such harm to such beautiful animals. Then up came Elephant Nature Park! A sanctuary for elephants that have been rescued from the tourist and logging industries. It was a perfect fit!
The day exceeded all my already high expectations. I’m pretty sure it was one of the best days of my life!
The elephants are such beautiful animals, and although they are massive, they’re super friendly!
We spent most our day with three elephants that had been rescued from riding camps.
To start, we cut up a ton of watermelon and pumpkins! Apparently the elephants each go through 300kg of food a day! So we were cutting up a lot! After we had done all that we got to feed them! Josh and I had the chance to go over and feed a fourth Elephant that was recovering from an injury so couldn’t join in with the main activities of the day.
You can see the mark on her face and on her front foot. Her foot had been a small cut but then got badly infected, and her face was as a result of how she was having to sleep. It’s so sad because it looked so painful! But it was great to see how well they were looking after her!
It was amazing feeding her. I have no idea what I expected their trunks to feel like, but it certainly wasn’t what I actually felt like! It was so rough yet soft, all a bit strange! The trunks had minds of their own it seemed!
After we had fed them we took them on a walk to go and get some more food for them. We trekked up through the hills to a small camp where we had our lunch and they could snack on grass and plants for theirs.
After lunch it was time to walk back to the river to wash them. As mentioned with my previous post about my fear of the sea, it also applies to rivers as well! I was so scared about going in, particularly as I could see how fast flowing it was, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I just sucked it up and got in.
Although I wasn’t too good with the river part, it was incredible to wash the elephants. They would lie down in the river so it was much easier to get up close to them, plus they didn’t feel so huge!
To be up close to them was a true privilege and I will never forget this day! Being able to help animals that humans have been hurting for so long felt so rewarding. The park is completely supported by tourists coming to help in their care programmes so it really is worthwhile to be able to help the elephants!
If anyone is ever going to Chiang Mai, do your research if you want to do an elephant program. Make sure it’s ethical and safe for the elephants with no riding involved. I highly recommend Elephant Nature Park as it was such an incredible day!
Onto Bangkok and Krabi for the rest of our Thailand adventure!