Chiang Mai, Thailand
Night markets? Elephant riding? Zip-lining? Trekking? Chiang Mai has got it.
My first two days in Chiang Mai were spent with the elephants. I am still not quite sure why, but they had us change into these ridiculous outfits:
After we put on our oversized pants and poncho we had to get on the elephant (not so easy):
We had been taught commands in another language to tell the elephant "forward" "back" "left" "right" and "sit." Of course, whatever command I was trying to give was so horribly pronounced that the trainer just basically led the elephant around for me. OK by me, I wanted the trainer close by - being on top of an elephant bareback is scary!
After riding through the jungle hopelessly shouting commands, bathing elephants in the river and getting hit square in the face with an elephant brush (yes, you read that correctly), me and my sore bum were ready for the next adventure.
My sore bum didn't get much of a rest though as our two day trek was up next. What was written on the group itinerary as a "leisurely trek" was more like "sweating non-stop while briskly walking uphill." The views were worth it though!
What could be more refreshing than a nice shower after sweating your way through the jungle? Dream on, there are no showers in the jungle. But this waterfall was just as refreshing after a long day trekking:
The accommodation was both a highlight and a bummer for me. We were staying in this hut:
The accommodation had no toilets (well, not the ones I am used to) and the roof was made of leaves stitched together.
The problem with living in a hut: bugs. I got bit so badly that I left the hut looking like I had chicken pox.
By the time we made it back to the city we were dirty, tired and sore. But that's the thing about backpacking, you somehow find the energy to keep going - and you don't want to stop!
We spent the rest of our time in Chiang Mai exploring the night market scenes, sunbathing by our hostel's poolside, zip-lining, and visiting the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple.
For more photos of my time in Chiang Mai see my Thailand album here.
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