After spending a few days in the chaotic city of Bangkok, it was time to get back into nature by heading up north to Chiang Mai. One of the great things about Thailand, is that you can hop on an hour long flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for only $30! It’s so easy to get around the country, and it’s incredibly affordable- win win!
Our first stop was checking into our hotel, which let me tell you- it was the nicest hostel I have ever seen! If you are ever in Chiang Mai, you MUST stay at the Green Tiger House. I stayed in an 8-bed dorm room with my friends but we each had huge lockers for our bags, nooks beside our bed to keep our things on and very comfy mattresses. And the bathrooms were nicer than any place I’ve ever lived. The restaurant attached to the hostel, had some of the best banana pancakes, I know, not exactly Thai food but whatever it was good. Anyways, if you can’t tell, I was a big fan of this place.
Once we finished eating lunch, we headed out on bikes to tour the city and see some temples along the way. My favorite temple we saw was Wat Lok Molee because it was completely different from all of the other temples we saw. On the inside, the ceiling has a beautiful intricate design and all I wanted to do was look up. It also didn’t hurt that there were 3 puppies running around the temple. Throw in a puppy and you know I’m gonna love it!
From there, we biked around and visited other temples. Honestly, they all started to blend together since they have very similar designs. We did come across one small temple that was silver but didn’t allow women to enter-BOO. So we took pictures of the outside instead. A friend went in and told us that the inside wasn’t anything special, although I’m sure he just said that so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything. I’m not going to lie, at this point I had spent 3 days looking at temples and I was templed out. Yes, the temples are gorgeous, but they all start to be the same thing and I was ready to experience some nature.
Luckily, the next day I woke up and went to the Elephant Nature Park, which is a rescue place for elephants. On the drive to the park, we watched a video about the abuse the elephants previously went through, whether it was from the logging industry, circus, or trekking/animal tourism. If you didn’t already know this, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT ride elephants-this is harmful to the animals since they are not designed to carry that weight and they are abused by their owners in order for them to “behave correctly.” All of the elephants at the park were rescued and have very sad stories and some are blind due to the previous abuse. I understand that the video was necessary to increase awareness of the issue, but it was hard to watch. Thank goodness the video ended and we got to interact with these beautiful, gentle creatures.
I was very surprised at the size of the elephants because they were much smaller than I was expecting. As a group, we walked around the park and fed some of the elephants watermelon and got to take pictures with them. Most of the time, we were just observing the animals, which is kinda what I expected. I wish we were able to do more though to help the elephants but I think you have to volunteer in order to do that.
Later in the day, it was time for the elephants to bathe/play in the river. One group of elephants left the water and immediately proceeded to pick dirt up with it’s trunk and throw the dirt all over itself haha.
As soon as I got back from the Elephant Nature Park, I met up with my friends and we all hopped on scooters to go up to the top of a mountain to watch the meteor shower. The owner of the hostel told us it would be a 45 minute drive. Well, 2 hours later we still weren’t at the village that we were trying to find and it was starting to rain AND it was cold so we stopped at a small hotel/restaurant. There was an outdoor patio, so we figured we could get hot chocolate and watch the meteor shower from there. However, the weather had other plans and we couldn’t see anything-fail. Instead of trying to figure out our way back in the dark, rain, and cold, we decided to stay at the hotel and hopefully see some of the meteor shower later and the sunrise in the morning. Once again, the weather didn’t cooperate- double fail.
However, the drive back to Chiang Mai was filled with mountains and beautiful greenery.
We got back to our hostel in the morning and showered/ate breakfast and basically relaxed for a bit. Then, we headed off to Doi Inthanon, which is the highest peak in Thailand with plans of watching the sunset. We were told this was an hour away; it’s actually 2- 2 1/2 hours away. If you haven’t caught on yet, don’t trust a Thai person’s concept of time because “Thai Time” must run off a different type of clock than “Western or Jackson Time.” Our driver took us straight to the top and knew exactly what spots to stop off at for us to explore. For the past 24 hours, we had terrible luck with the weather and this trip was no exception- triple fail. However, we were in the clouds and walking through a forest, which gave off a very mystical appearance and was pretty cool actually. My favorite part was walking through the forest and according to the sign, it was the start of the Himalayan Mountain Range. We didn’t get to see a sunset, but I thought being surrounded by the clouds made it pretty in a very different sort of way.
Having been very go go go for 5 days, everyone wanted to slow down a bit and relax at the hostel. I was really enjoying being in nature and wanted to continue exploring this part of Chiang Mai. A friend discovered these sticky waterfalls outside of the city from a blog, so of course we decided to explore this. Essentially, these are waterfalls that you can walk or climb up even with the water rushing down. This isn’t a super touristy place so it wasn’t too crowded and we were able to climb the waterfalls multiple times. Apparently there is a mineral deposit on the rocks that allows you to grip them and climb like you’re spiderman.
Chiang Mai was definitely full of adventure and exploring nature, which is perfect for me. Having visited Bangkok and the north of Thailand, there was only one region left to see- the islands!