Chiang Mai – Part 2

This is a continuation of my last post on Thailand.

The elephant park is really cool! It’s also a resort cum school for learning how to train elephants. I think it’s a such a novel way to spend your holidays, learning how to train elephants.

#1 – Elephants bathing in the river with the student trainers.

You don’t see any elephant locked up in a cages like Malaysia. The area is free for the elephants to wander about but they’re never without a master (mahout) so you don’t have to be afraid about getting trampled into a pulp :P

#2 – Posing with baby of the herd.

There’s also an elephant show where they get to show off their talents. It’s pretty amazing what these bigass animals can do. Balancing on one leg on a tree trunk, moving stuff around etc. The baby elephant even knew how to help a person put a hat on!

#3 – Baby elephant putting a hat over the girl’s head.

And they can paint! You can buy an elephant’s painting from 500 baht and above.

#4 – Elephant paintings gallery.

The sanctuary’s got a blog here, you can see much better pictures of the elephants and the activities there.

We left the elephant sanctuary for Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. The sky was glorious, just perfect for pictures.

#5 – Temple entrance.

There weren’t many people so it felt really serene and peaceful. I could hang out there for a while.

#6 – Prayers in progress.

#7 – Under the bell.

#8 – Another one at the entrance before leaving.

Next, we went to a ceramics factory, nothing much to shout about. It’s huge and filled with high quality ceramic stuff for sale. I got a couple of ceramic magnets as souveniers and a mug. I thought of buying more stuff but the moment I put something into my shopping basket, my brain screamed LOGISTIC NIGHTMARE.

Dinner time was at this restaurant called Khum Khan Tok. We were treated to a cultural show and authentic Thai food presented specially for very honoured guests.

#9 – Thai food platter.

Speaking of this food platter, it’s basically a few bowls of different food with dips. My favourite part of the platter is definitely the bowl of pork cracklings. Hmmm hmmm. Best thing about it? It’s refillable, babeh.

#10 – Pork cracklings.

After dinner, we even got to light up these lanterns, not unlike the traditional chinese flying lanterns. Lighting those lanterns was a hot affair, literally.

#11 – Lighting up the lantern. Can you spot my me?

#12 – Drifting away…

#13 – And away…

We went back to hotel in a tuktuk convoy lead by a cop. We felt like proper VIPs!

#14 – In my tuktuk.

#15 – My tuktuk driver.

#16 – One with the convoy leader. A real police! Don’t play play.

Next post will be about Chiang Rai, kap kun ka!

Read Chiang Mai – Part 1.

Chiang Mai – Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a 6D/5N trip to the Land of Smiles by Richard of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). It was a fantastic trip; I made new friends and in the process, got to know more about Northern Thailand, specifically Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Hello CK, Ernie and Terence!

As a vacation spot, Thailand has never failed to impress. Thailand was already one of my most favourite places to go for a break before the trip. During the trip though, I saw much more than its famed shopping, night life, islands and massages – I saw authentic Thai culture, architectures, history, animals and people!

#1 – Welcome to Thailand.
welcome to thailand

We reached Chiang Mai via Bangkok on Thai Airways. Right after touching down, we were whisked off to Chiang Mai Zoo. It is the first and only zoo in Northern Thailand where visitors can enjoy the experience of being with various animals in their natural habitat.

#2 – Giraffes.

There’s also a humongous freshwater aquarium housed in Chiang Mai Zoo. A humbler version of our KLCC’s Aquaria but no less interesting.

#3 – Fish!

Though the biggest highlight of the zoo must be the pandas! It’s my first time seeing a panda bear it had to greet me in the most unconventional way evarrr. Here’s a picture of daddy panda minding his own business…

#4 – Pooping panda
Pooping panda.

Basically, he was lying down with his arse over the edge and out went the stink nuggets.

You must be asking where mommy panda is? Since she’s just given birth, she had to be quarantined with the baby to prevent bacterial infections.

After daddy panda has relieved his bowel, he leisurely continued on munching bamboos.

#5 – Panda stocking it up for next round.
Panda stocking it up for next round.

Everyone around the world goes to Chiang Mai Zoo to see the pandas. They love them!

#6 – Notes for pandas.
Notes for pandas

There’s also a beautiful Siberian white tiger which reminded me of Charlie. Don’t ask me how.

#7 – Siberian white tiger.
Siberian white tiger

After Chiang Mai Zoo, we went to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, this is Chiang Mai’s most famous landmark and at 3,520 feet above sea level, it commands an exhilarating view of the city and its surroundings. You could scale a flight of 290 Naga-Flanked steps if you want, but I decided to take the tram instead :P

#7 – Tram to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Tram to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

#8 – Or, if you’re in the mood for a little workout.
290 Naga steps

They’re right, the view was incredibly breathtaking!

#9 – View of Chiang Mai from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.
View of Chiang Mai from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.

#10 – The Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

After that, we checked into our hotel at Le Meridien Chiang Mai, where I was a man for two nights.

#11 – Mr Low. Quite a pimpin’ name actually.
Mr. Low

#12 – The room.
the room

#13 – View from the bathroom.

#14 – Bathroom mugshot.
bathroom mugshot

Then it was a nice dinner at the hotel, followed by a superb massage at RarinJinda Spa.

#13 – On the way to dinner.

#14 – Prelude to an awesome massage.

Till the next post, kap khun ka.