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Reisverslag Experiencing Chiang Mai
1 februari 2014
Experiencing Chiang Mai
So, I thought that it would be time to relax in Chiang Mai, but as soon as we arrived we started to make plans and it turned out that the next day would be a day with a trunk...
Chiang Mai is the place in Thailand to ride an elephant if you wish to do so. Before I came here I had some doubts about if I would do it or not. There are a lot of different stories about how these animals are treated. For myself I decided to only do it if feels right. During our search for a nice organisation, we met a guy how told us about the Thai Elephant home, this is an elephant sanctuary that is again teaching elephants tricks like standing on their back legs or sitting down as a dog, for this is just not good for their bodies. First we got some informations about elephants in general and their needs. Then the mahouts taught us five basic commands to controle the animal. We rode bareback for approximately one hour to a place where we had lunch and where the elephants could walk out free to take their black mudbath or to enjoy the long jungle grass. We had a nice lunch, wrapped in a banana leave. One of the elephants could give kisses with it's trunk and it made me smile big time :)) We covered one of the biggest elephants in black mud while it lay down it's good for their skin and keeps mosquitoes and other insects on a distance. It was sweet to feed the elephants bananas while sitting on their back. They search for the bananas with their trunk up in the air and they just know it if you hide them because they can smell them. Then we walked on and bathed the elephants in the river. I sat one one of the elephant's trunks and then she let me slide down in the river, great fun! Back in Chiang Mai we had a great dinner. Best green curry and spring rolles ever. It only took the cook an hour to prepare it, but it was more than worth it. Another day that I'll never forget in this beautiful Thailand.
A big advantage of Thailand is that the food and stays are so cheap. Now, if for example a dish costs 100 bath, we already start to complain that we find it too expensive and it's not even more than 2,5 euro. You can certainly have a nice meal for 60 bath which resembles 1,5 euro. A soft drink shouldn't cost more than 20 bath. So the next day I went out for a nice breakfast/lunch with Janina. We ordered a pancakes filled with banana, a fruit plate, a bowl of musli with yoghurt and fruit, two lassies and two coffees for only 150 bath per person (around 3,60 euro), so a great way to start a needed relaxing day.
The whole afternoon, we sat in the garden of our hostel that has a nice swimming pool. We just enjoyed the sun, the nice atmosphere and the time to think about the nice experiences we had up to now.
That night, we went to a sushi bar ... a one like you always see in movies, food passing by that you still have to cook it yourself in a certain kind of clear soup. Sushi was also available, so I ate untill I couldn't take it anymore :P After that, we went to the rooftop bar that plays nice music and where we by coincidence met people we already new before, such a small world.
The next day it was time to tell Stephi goodbye, she went to Koh Tao to enjoy diving there.Janina and I decided to rent a motor scooter to drive uphill to Doi suthep, the temple on the hill. Driving in the Chiang Mai traffic is a whole experience in itself. There are no defined traffic rules, so everyone just does whatever he wants. The pollution and smog are just incredible too. The drive through the hills was something to never forget, wind through our hair and feeling silly because of the pink barbie helmet. The temple was overcrowded because of the Chinese new year holidays we found out later. It is a very touristic place in itself and we found it a bit Disney Landish and plastic like. We favour the temples in Bankok, because there the details are worked out way better. After the visit we went to the Chiang Mai university campus and enjoyed a nice vanilla coffee while watching the Chiang Mai students passing by. For dinner, we went to China Town. We tried several kinds of streetfood. It's prepared while you're wating for it and you can get small portions so perfect to try stuff. We had for example dim sum, fried octopus, mushrooms and a certsin kind of very thin caramal strings wrapped in a green pancake. It took them so long to prepare it. I can't even explain how it's done, but we got it for free...! So kind.
At that moment we knew that a group would perform the traditional Chinese lion and dragon dance and we still waited for two hours before it begun, but it was more than worth it. Never seen something like it. So the lion is performed by two men that jump from pole to pole while balancing and acting. It was so well done! After that, they took a pole of approximately 10 meters in hight, put a little boy at the end and rose it... two men climed up to the little boy. One put the boy on his shoulders and the other held the other two on his shoulders.. and then they all stood up, balancing on each other's shoulders. I just couldn't even watch almost! After one of the men climed down, the other secured his foot to the top of the pole and the ankle of the young boy to his wrist, the music turned up and he let himself and the boy fall down, the boy looked like a small bungee jumper. I just couldn't believe it! The grand final was a dragon dance, performed by ten people who were attached to another pole. They made it look like as if the dragon climbed the pole while spitting fireworks out of his mouth. A real spectacle that made this impressive day.
Summarised up to now, Chiang Mai is an enjoyable city with a lot of things to see, do and experience... Hope I was able to make you as enthusiastic as I feel about my stay here. Check out the new pictures and a couple of short elephant movies in the Dropbox:
1 februari 2014 19:51 | Door: Erica.
Heb weer genoten van je verhaal. Ben op m'n werk.
Foto's ga ik thuis rustig bekijken. Veel plezier weer!!
1 februari 2014 20:13 | Door: Evandale Roberts
You are still having a lovely time up there. Pictures scenery is overwhelmed. If you wondering about my enthusiasm yes it did work. And you don’t even have to try hard. From jealous and whatever the whole lot. The food there I think I do have to figger that one out. But plenty of alternatives. Those fish in that soup bowl seemed to be so dead. Ha Ha. But you know me and food. But to be to be with those elephants must be a fantastic experience .I you look left right up or down or closed you still have a view from the previous day. Otherwise you will dream about it.Take care and do look after your self.Ina & Evan.
4 februari 2014 20:29 | Door: Joke en Dik Cornelisse
Prachtige foto's allemaal, en je geniet van alles , leuk om dit alles te zien'.
Nog heel veel plezier groetjes.
Tante joke en Ome dik