February 4 – A few of the Pai gang headed out for Chiang Mai in the same minibus group. Spent a few more dollars versus the public bus for a quicker journey with seats that actually fit our legs. Laura, a British girl from the group, had stayed in Chiang Mai before so we followed her as we searched for a place to stay for the night. We all had dinner at the market near Thapae Gate, went to THC Rooftop Bar and then out for the night at the downtown bar area, which was this fantastic little street corner with every bar playing different kinds of music. Our favorite was the live band that played upbeat reggae music.
February 5 – In the morning we gathered up our things and moved to Deejai Backpackers Hostel, which itself was a really awesome place but location wise was a bit far from the city center. Had some initial taxi drama and ended up having to pay 100baht each even though we didn’t use the taxi for the day, but at that point police were being called and we all figured we’d rather pay than deal with a bad situation. After getting settled in, we headed over to the pool down the street and spent most of the day lounging there. Got some street food for dinner and headed to a muay thai fight (400baht/$12). They started with young boys fighting and worked there way up to the top age group, where the winner won a few hundred dollars. Headed down to the bar area after the fight was over and spent the night out there again.
February 6 – Woke up late, walked over to the local park and spent a few hours lying under the trees with a few friends. Decided to go see a movie, and on our walk over we saw Wat Sri Suphan, this beautiful temple with incredible silver work all over it. Saw Wolf of Wallstreet which I enjoyed more just because it was such a familiar activity more than the movie itself. Early night in to rest for the long next day.
February 7 – Woke up and tuktuked over to the tiger kingdom where waited for a few hours to get our fifteen minutes with the baby tigers. It was really cool to interact with them but tigers sleep during the day so in general they weren’t all that active. For the money and time spent I don’t think its an activity I would do again. Stopped at the snake farm for a few pictures with a large python and then drove up to Wat Doi Suthep where we explored the area a bit.
On our way back into town we were greeted with beautiful lights and music which symbolized the beginning of the flower festival in Chiang Mai which just happened to be February 7-9. Got dropped off in the city center and walked around all the food and craft stalls. I bought a beeswax batik indigo scarf (500baht/$15).
February 8 – Slept late and spent most of the day walking around town with Sam. Stumbled upon this store full of beautiful woven scarves and spent about an hour there admiring everything and talking with the employee there who told us about all the fabrics, patterns and villages that make the scarves. Bought two scarves, one yellow and one red for 2800baht ($85) – which I struggled painfully with as this was my most expensive purchase of the trip so far, but I really do love them and the prices are incredible compared to what you would pay for a silk scarf in the
Spent our last night in Chiang Mai walking around the flower festival and headed to THC Rooftop Bar again for a quick drink.
February 9 – Woke up early and got picked up by the tour company we’d booked through the hostel for a day with the elephants. We really wanted to go to
Park, but they were all booked, so we
went with “ ”,
which we later learned is really a pseudo name for the Panda Tour Company. I knew I didn’t want to ride the elephants so
I was already skeptical about the whole day, and then when they started
training us it just didn’t seem like they were treating the elephants
well. When Sam and I finally did get on
our elephant and started walking around the park loop, I really did not feel
comfortable on it. To make matters
worst, we had the worst “mahout” there, and our elephant clearly was scared of
him, so when he started yelling at it to keep going the elephant was definitely
upset, and that’s not a great thing to pick up on when you’re on top of it. So Sam and I asked to get off and ended the
day early. Really unfortunate that our
experience ended like that but lesson learned I guess. Patthana
Got back to Deejai, walked to a local market for some dinner, and got picked up around 7pm for the start of our journey to Lao. Ended up sitting in the front of a minibus with an
named Jeremy that would become one of our good friends on the trip. Six hours later and we pulled into some
remote hotel where they put us in rooms for the night. Australia