From Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Elephant Sanctuary
Welcome to the second part of my trip to Thailand where I am going to share with you my experience about the beatiful Chiang Mai and the Elephant Sanctuary near by Chiang Mai.
So, I took my plane from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for around 20$ with my 30l backpack – ~10kg. The allowed was 7kg, but AirAsia doesn’t care much, but if you go with a suitcase they would care : )
After the humidity and the traffic jams in Bangkok, here in Chiang Mai was much better. There I tried for the first time to ride a scooter. I would recommend “Mango scooters”, very honest and good quality motorbikes on very cheap price! It was a bit crazy for me as I was a newbie and they ride on the left side on the road + crazy traffic 🙂 Let me assure you, everything was fine and the other drivers somehow are careful with the motorbikes and tourists.
What to do in and around Chiang Mai?
1.Go to the mountain Doi Suthep near by Chiang Mai
So, straight after renting the bike I went to the mountain near Chiang Mai, where was fresh air! It was great feeling after couple of days in everyday heat and humidity.
That shot was taken on the way to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
There are number of things that you can do in the mountain. I am going to show you, what I did.
So, first is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. To get there the easiest and nicest is by a hilly road by scooter. Tip Buy raincoat. I went in the end of the rainy season (October) but sometimes I barely could see the road from the rain. You will see nice viewpoints on the way, so don’t think twice and stop to make a picture.
On the entrance of that Pagoda is a nice market, where you could eat/ drink nice local things and make small shopping, but small reminder – it’s very cheap but you have to carry it while travel haha 🙂
Tip: You should cover your shoulders and your knees. (You will be able to get on the entrance for some donation).
The temple is often referred to as “Doi Suthep” although this is actually the name of the mountain where it’s located. It is a sacred site to many Thai people. It is 15km from the city and it’s totally worth to visit 🙂
If you continue on the road you will end in Hmong Village, which is nice to see and have a walk. I liked it a lot! It is the highest village in the mountain – 1685m. It looked authentic and interesting. Tip: From there you can buy nice kinds of tea for your needs. If you continue a bit after the village you will be able to get to this viewpoint of the village. The road is not super easy(hilly with road holes), but quite doable 😉
On the way back from the village or to the village there is the summer villa of the King – Bhubing Palace.
There isn’t much to do and see as it was forbidden at least at the time I was there. Anyway it’s a worth stop on the way.
Let’s go back to the Chiang Mai, where I went to an interesting Couchsurfing meeting and met a local guy who was very busy but still showed me one temple and interesting facts about it. I am talking about Wat Phra Singh
Can you guess what that building used to be?
Well, I was asked this question and couldn’t answer. Then answer is quite logical, but hard to guess.
The answer is : a library! It is surrounded by a water because of the termites and other insects that could damage some very precious books and the water protects them.
The next and most amazing thing for me to do around Chiang mai is to go to an Elephant Sanctuary, where you will feed, animals, make mud bath, and wash them in the river. The EcoTip here is: Do not ride them! They are beaten in order to let you go on their backs. They are proud animals and otherwise won’t let you go on their backs! Go to a sanctuary and take care of them. It is a lot of fun too 🙂
So, let’s first get into the jungle. We traveled with something like this 6 or 8 people. So you can fully enjoy the road through the jungle 🙂 Forgive me, but I forgot the name of the company. I’ve heard every is good around there, so you won’t make a bad choice if you choose a Sanctuary instead of riding!
On the roof we had lots of bananas, which we had to carry later.
They were around 10kg each. Afterwards we had to go through this river. Check out the video below.
Afterwards we got into our camp got instructed how important are these Sanctuaries to prevent the killing for their tusks and to not ride on them. After the safe instructions we were dressed up and we started to feed the animals.
They were really friendly and got used to people so there was nothing to be afraid of. As you can see their tusks are missing. I guess the poachers took them or the people who take care remove it in order to no be killed. What’s your guess?
The next step of the program was mud bath!
I might not look so happy bit it was fun haha. We put this mud into their skin. It’s very healthy for the skin, so we put on ours too 🙂
The next was swimming with them in the river! It was great. The current was strong and in the water you loose your idea how big are elephants, so be careful.
At the last we had nice dinner after this exhausting but full of fun afternoon. Then we headed back to the city by the cars.
It was a great first meet so close with these amazing creatures. I recommend you this way to meet with elephants, not riding 😉
I hope you liked my second part of my adventure in Thailand 🙂
See you in my next post!