We took a real touristy day out, we’re in Asia – home to some brilliant animals and the opportunity to see them close up was too good to turn down.
We looked at a few packages on offer and opted for a one day trek. It was a shock to the system having to be up just after 7:00am, especially as the monsoon season was still up to its old tricks giving us a very miserable start to the morning. It was ok though because our guide (Don who fell off the motorbike) promised that it was only raining in the city. This was a very blatant lie.
We were crammed into the back of a share taxi, basically a pick-up truck, and along with the five Aussies and a horrendously dull German couple we drove for an hour. First stop was the elephants. Pezza’s favourite animal is the Elephant; something about their trunks. I have very little elephant experience but I think the fact it was raining meant they all had a bit more energy and were in a cheeky mood. We spent 40 Baht (£0.70p) on sugar cane and bananas and hopped on our Nellie.
As you can see there were a few of us in convoy, a baby elephant tagged along for the ride and was jostling with the adults. There was a lot of mud thrown around and a lot of leg scratching by the beasts. Occasionally ours would get hungry and a huge trunk would appear ove its shoulder as it sniffed for the sugar and bananas we were hiding. We would offer some food and he grabbed it in his trunk before stuffing it in his mouth.
After an hour or so it was time for dinner and a stop at an old village where the locals are entirely self sufficient on their rice crops and handicraft – not the most spectacular sight but the ongoing rain probably hampered the occasion.
Next up was an hour long hike across the banks of a very fast flowing river in search of a waterfall. Again, we were scuppered by the elements as the crossing point of the river was too high to risk, cue an hour walk back.
The rain wasn’t all bad. The fast river made our white-water rafting all the more fun. Pez and I got in the boat with the horrendous Germans who were being shouted at by the rafting dude for doing the wrong thing. The rafting itself was pretty hairy but we felt the guy who was looking after us knew his way around the river so we were ok.
All in all it was a pretty good day. The Aussies we met told us about the Tiger Kingdom they visited the day before. I had seen it advertised but originally decided against it as I thought the tigers would be chained and drugged, not a pretty site. The Aussies showed us their pictures and put my mind at ease so the next day we got in a cab and made out way there.
If elephants are Pezza’s favourite animal then the tiger is mine. We were allowed in the cages to interact with the cats and this included the most amazing creature I’ve ever come across. This was a four month old tiger who was as playful as you’d hope and very affectionate. We wanted to keep her.
We were also allowed in the cages with the bigger cats, even at 17 months old they were ver intimidating; if one turned you would have no hope! They were very tame and you get the impression they are well looked after in terms of animals in captivity. Definitely a highlight.
The rest of our Chiang Mai adventures were posted a couple of days ago, here’s the link.