We arrived in Chiang Mai after our day of the floating markets and what felt like an extremely long travel day. I think the time change and the travel was catching up to me because I just didn’t feel well but couldn’t put a finger on why.
Immediately when we were greeted by our driver, I knew I was going to love Chiang Mai. Mainly because our driver wasn’t even our main tour guide and even he spoke better English than Jeed did! Driving from the airport to the hotel, you could tell how much cleaner the second largest city in Thailand was than Bangkok. The ride was also much quicker due to the distance and the lack of traffic in the area.
Once we arrived at Siripanna Resort, they gave us this delicious rice juice. The hotel is a smaller resort that has an amazing tropical feel. The hotel staff was so nice and welcoming. The grounds of the hotel actually reminded us alot of our hotel in Caines, Australia.
Although Thailand is a Buddhist country and most people travelling were from other parts of Asia, there was an odd obsession with the fact that it was Christmas. Every single Thai person walking around had on a Santa hat and our hotel even had a funny Thai style Christmas tree. We enjoyed a Christmas eve buffet at our hotel with crabs and way too much dessert before going to bed early so we could feel well rested for our first day of adventure in Chiang Mai.
We met our new tour guide at 8am in the lobby of our hotel. Her name is Koung which means shrimp in Thai. Her English was amazing and we already understood her much more than Jeed. We were also pretty certain she would not take creepy photos of me also!!
Our first stop was to the Thai Orchid farm. I was excited since orchids are some of my favorite flowers. They had amazingly beautiful flowers and a ton of them were purple so of course we both loved them!
After the Orchid farm, we headed to the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp. This was one of the things I was looking forward to most on our trip. In order to get to the camp, we had to cross a very crickety bridge over a river. Of course Auntie Missy was nervous but we managed to get a cute photo nonetheless.
We began with feeding the elephants, then watched an amazing elephant show then actually got to ride an elephant. They are such amazing and beautiful animals. We were able to actually feed the elephant bananas. I was surprisingly a bit nervous but they were very cute and grabbed the bananas with their trunks and curled them up to their mouths.
After the elephant feeding, we watched the trainers bathe the elephants then make the elephants bow, pick up heavy logs and even paint a picture! It was very neat to see.
Eventually, we got to actually get onto the elephant and ride it. I loved every minute of it but Auntie Missy did not enjoy the part where the elephant was walking of the side of a steep river bank! It was still such beautiful scenery even with a minor panic attack and being up close with the majestic animals was unforgettable.
After our time with the elephants, we took a bamboo raft down the river. The ride was very peaceful and relaxing.
Once we got off the raft we ate a “thai” lunch thay was once again very Americanized. Our hunt for authentic Thai continues. I think there may be a conspiracy among the guides that they hide all their favorite spots to keep out the tourists!
After lunch, we went to a Thai silk factory to watch how the Silk is made. The whole work thing grossed me out quite a bit but it is fascinating how much work goes into making silk!
Once we got back to the hotel, we changed and headed out to Nimmanhaeminda, a main street in Chiang Mai in the Western part of the city to go check out some shops and bars. We wandered around and found ourselves at another Thai massage place and got another foot massage for an hour for $6! I can certainly get used to this!!
It is now almost midnight so we are off to bed before starting another day in Chiang Mai. Merry Christmas everyone!