Chang Mai (its a long one)

Day One in this beautiful city, we got a taxi from the train station after quickly using some free wifi to book a place to save all the faffing around. It cost is 200BHAT (£4) for one night in Jays guesthouse and mama as the hostess calls herself offered us a discount the second night, its still the cheapest we’ve seen so i’m glad we took it. The rooms pleasant if you don’t mind a few springs sticking out of the mattress and no air con but a big fan that does the job. We messaged Charlotte and Connor a couple we met the first night and arranged to meet them for a lunchtime snack. They’ve been ill from the food so we ate at an english/thai restaurant as they fancied the fry up! I had some waffles and Joe had some spring rolls think the owner thought it was all a bit random but hey ho! The afternoon they went to sleep off their hangovers and we paid a local taxi driver 80BHAT to take us to 4 free temples that were all close by they were all stunning and I would go as far to say better than anything we witnessed in Bangkok.

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He also took us to see a silk factory and silversmith, its the same as in Bangkok you spend 5 minutes looking around the shop after you have seen the factory and had a bit of a tour and the taxi driver gets free coupons for gasoline so we we more than happy to oblige the silk factory was stunningly beautiful as well, learnt a lot about silkworms although I think Joe was eyeing them up for dinner.

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Then our evening consisted of some thai food and an evening out helping to celebrate Charlottes birthday! We drank a fair few buckets and had a good laugh!! The Thai answer to the Arctic Monkeys were playing a gig in one of the bars and so we sank a few more buckets and had more laughs with some singing and dancing sprinkled in for good measure. img_8493

Day Two in Chang Mai and we had an action packed day planned! Got up straight on the bus which was really just a pick up, we met a couple from Chile and they seemed really nice! So stunning driving through the jungle and out of the city a little bit. First stop was some elephant poo place, looked rather disappointing from the outside but was really really good! We learnt all about how they recycle elephant poo to make paper and I thoroughly enjoyed myself might try it as a new business adventure when I get home I even brought an elephant poo paper bookmark! Next stop was an orchid and butterfly farm, slight disappointing and strange.

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The butterfly house was good but nothing amazing overall! Next we went straight off to the long neck Karen tribe. I didn’t really have high hopes for this as had kind of decided it might be a bit of a tourist trap and I was right. They sang us a song and let us take photos with them, we were told that some of them were out working but i’m still a bit dubious about the whole thing.

img_8511Next we were shouted at by our guide to “hurry up hurry up” from across the field where he was stood on some kind of raised platform. We went over to him and he beckoned us to climb up the rickety bamboo stairs; Joe went first, this funny little tour guide had been quite comical so far and it continued. He was speaking Thai to the mahout (Elephant trainer) at the bottom of the platform and seemed to get the go ahead and told Joe to just climb on!!!! It was a little strange no safety briefing no do’s and don’ts no educational elephant information his simple instruction was “get on, don’t sit on her bones” Joe turned round to him fuming “how the bloody hell do I know where her bones are” the tour guide laughed and told Joe to get on again!!! I got on next, it was hard the elephant seemed really far away at one point the tour guide joked “just jump” I gave him a death stare and he helped me on. Next thing we know we were off into the jungle as it appeared, our elephant kept stopping to eat the grass so we didn’t go very fast but none the less the whole experience was terrifying. I won’t be repeating it in a hurry! We didn’t go far thank god and soon approached what appeared to be a fast flowing river. The tour guide appeared from nowhere and there was a lot of waving and shouting between everyone. The tour guide shouted up to me and Joe to take our clothes off if we didn’t want to get them wet so I flung him my t-shirt and the mahout in charge of our elephant walked around and took off my flip-flops he also removed Joes trainers and socks much to my amusement. So our elephant wandered forwards into the river and with one simple command sat down soaking us both, we climbed off and washed her and all the other elephants and they appeared to love it!!! We had a great time with one of the mahouts who was only 14 having a massive water fight and all splashing each other. This was the best bit of the day for me it felt like everyone was really happy! AWW. After about an hour of splashing around in the river and bathing the elephants we had some photos taken and then got to to get back on… I wasn’t keen on the idea and they tried to get me to sit on the elephants head but I insisted that Joe has that spot. The poor mahout pretty much flung me on and then the elephant put his foot up to help Joe on. It was a lot better this time I felt like we’d bonded with our elephant and felt better about the whole thing getting back off on this platform was however interesting Joe and some other guy basically caught me as I went flying forward!

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After this we had a quick lunch and headed back in the van for our Jungle walk and waterfall experience. The jungle walk consisted of a stroll through what appeared to be someones back garden and then up to the waterfall.

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It wasn’t even a waterfall as such but it was really beautiful. the waterfall was a slide and our little guide seemed so excited for one of us to go down!!! Joe went first then me and it was fun I went again to try and help a poor Spanish lady who had gotten herself stuck at the top. Joe didn’t go anymore as he was in agony from the sunburn he’d gained on our first night in Bangkok. We stayed for a while then off to our last activity by now the whole group was flagging a little. White water rafting and what an experience it was. The bloke who was instructing us could’t speak any english he knew certain commands “forwards” “backwards” and “sitdown” to cut a long story short the raft got turned around backwards and we couldn’t get forwards again and then the most terrified person there (previously mentioned Spanish lady who Joe had nicknamed “big’un”) got launched out of the raft as we hit a rock and then nearly capsized the boat trying to get back in. After this adventure everyone was well and truly ready to go home. We slept well that night. Best day so far!

Paris X

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