Elephant hugs in Thailand!
The elephants giving us a bath after we gave them one.
Posing with my new elephant friend.
Munching on local fruits and homemade fried chicken.
Pretty dragons at the bottom of Doi Suthep mountain in Chiang Mai.
Checking out the temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, at the top of the mountain.
Beautiful statues at the temple.
Hanging out on the island of Koh Lipe.
Happy Sunday Everyone! Eventually I’ll catch you all up on my life in Nashville so far, but today I’m continuing the story of my world adventure with Thailand. My mom and I arrived to our apartment in Chiang Mai and shortly after were met by my friend Luis, who was with me throughout my time in Thailand.
Our first full day was hands down one of my favorites throughout my entire trip. We spent the day on an elephant excursion outside of the city. Waayy outside of the city. Our guide picked us up bright and early and after a couple hours of driving, in the midst of jungle and on a very bumpy dirt road, we all started joking about how no one back home knew where we were or what we were up to. But when we arrived and spotted the elephants, we knew our journey was well worth the wait to see them. There were three elephants and only three of us, so we were each assigned our own elephant! I was thrilled to have the baby elephant to hang out with for the day. First we fed our new friends a snack of whole bananas, peel and all. After this, we changed into the clothes given to us to “look more like the people in the tribe”, although we think it was really to complete our photo-ready looks. Then it was bath time and we were put to work scrubbing the elephants in the river. The baby elephant was the absolute cutest, flopping around like an oversized puppy! The rest of the day consisted of a hike, a homemade fried chicken lunch, and swimming with the elephants. This entire day was one of the most memorable experiences!
For those of you interested in an elephant excursion while in Thailand, I would highly recommend the company that we used, Elephants at Home. We chose this one because it is an ethical elephant sanctuary, where the elephants are cared for by a tribe of people. While there are several elephant farms closer to the city center of Chiang Mai, many have dozens of elephants and they are not necessarily treated well. At Elephants at Home, the elephants are well-cared for and the experience did not feel touristy.
Our second day in Chiang Mai was spent exploring in the old city of Chiang Mai. This was the part of the city where the old walls are still intact, with several small but charming streets inside that are very easy to get lost on, as we discovered. We did some temple visiting, eating, and shopping in the old city. My mom was on the lookout for a cute top to pair with her new skirt that she found in Laos. And because Luis actually works in fashion, my mom seemed to take his opinion more seriously than mine!
The following day, we took what is called a red taxi (a small red truck with benches inside the covered truck bed) up a mountain to see the temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (the beautifully ornate temple pictured above). The trek was not for the weary, as there are hundreds of steps to reach the pagodas at the top. We then ventured on to Phuping Palace, home to striking gardens. This was where the royal family used to stay during visits to the area.
On our last Chiang Mai day, we took it easy with massages (multiples for my mom) and eating at our favorite restaurant, Rustic and Blue, for a second time. We loved the laid back vibe at this particular restaurant and the food was so creative and delicious.
The next day, my mom returned home and Luis and I went on to the next part of our Thailand journey, in Koh Lipe. This part of the trip began with a tumultuous speedboat ride to reach the small island, which neither of us thought we would survive. We may have looked like we had just taken showers in our clothes when we arrived, but upon first spotting the island, our complaints immediately came to a halt. The beach was the most beautiful that I have ever seen, with the water being a vibrant shade of aqua. Our time here was spent mostly lounging on the beach, eating delicious food, and moseying along the small town and various beaches.
Next up was Bangkok, which I can’t say was my favorite city of the trip. I consider myself a city girl but even I was a bit overwhelmed. While there are numerous beautiful temples to see here (so maybe check those out if you have time during your trip to Thailand!), we chose to spend some time wandering around, shopping and dining out during our short time there. Following this, I parted ways with my friend, and I was officially on my own for the first time in a foreign country!
Coming up next is the first solo part of my trip, in India. Have a wonderful week friends and as always, thanks for reading!