Chiang Mai is an ancient city with youthful exuberance. It’s a major city but still small and easily walkable. Coffee shops, restaurants, and bars line the streets. The city also has a nightly market, which is like a bigger Saturday morning market in St. Petersburg. If I was an ex-pat in Thailand, I would settle down in Chiang Mai.
North Thailand is the major spot for elephant tourism. Many people go on trips that allow you to ride the elephants, but these companies are very abusive to the animals. We opted to visit the Elephant Retirement Park. The staff at this park feeds and bathes the elephants daily. I paid a hefty amount of bahts (roughly $80!) to spend a whole day playing with elephants at this park.
They hugged us…
We bathed them in mud and then scrubbed them in the pond. We all had so much fun with these absolutely enormous and loving creatures. Below is a guest post from my travel buddy Andy Lopez about our day with elephants.
“Today was a great day. At the beginning of my trip through Thailand all I could think about was the day I would meet elephants. Today I had the chance to not only meet them but also feed them, water/mud bath with them, and see the neat tricks they have learned. In addition to these activities, I had the opportunity of meeting Lanna, a 15 day-old baby elephant. The stumble in her walk as she playfully head-butted me is one of the cutest things I’ve ever experienced. This trip has only gotten progressively better, and I can’t wait to see what the next couple of days have in store as the boys and me make our way to Pai.”
-Andy Lopez, 22. Miami, FL