The overnight train for Ayutthaya to Chang Mai was not as bad as expected, in fact it was quite fun! We boarded the 7.21pm train and were allocated seats! Which were quite spacious and I thought I would have been okay sleeping on those but they do turn into beds! For dinner I had a sandwich which I had got as a take-away from the guesthouse, as we were advised against the train food... and I was told there would not be any meals without meat! I had a Chang Beer - which I have grown to quite like, wrote in my journal and then we got the guy to come and turn our seats into bunk beds! The seats we were sat on fold down into one bed then the top bunk which I was sleeping in kind of comes out of the ceiling! It has to seat belts coming down vertically from the ceiling to the edge of the bunk to stop you falling out which was quite amusing!
I slept in my clothes as it as quite cold on the train and also slept with all my valuable in a bag next to me! Which I kept waking up to check it was still there! I had to use my sexy eye mask to sleep as for some retarded reason on the overnight train they didn't turn off or dim the flourescent lights! The 13 hours passed pretty quickly and I was woken up by a Thai guy coming down the carriages offering "Owange Joose"!
At 7.30am ish we arrived in Chai Mai train station and got 2 Songthaews to our guesthouse which will be home for the next 2 nights "Peoples Place Lodging" We had a quick breakfast and shower then met back up to go Elephant Trekking and Bamboo Rafting!
It took about 1 hour to get to the Elephant Trek place but luckily I got a seat on the air conditioned mini bus! Woo! I was a bit dubious about going as I did not know what to expect and was worried the Elephants may be being treated poorly or were being kept in bad conditions! I was also apprehensive as Elephants are pretty dangerous and unpredictable... in Africa we spent our time keeping a safe distance from them and here am I about to climb onto ones back!
Luckily the conditions were not as bad as expected, the elephants had access to water food and shade! Although the men still had the spiked stick to control them which I did not like very much! Me and Claire were to be "Elephant Buddies" and nervously I climbed into the seat on the back, with my bunch of bananas to keep Buddha the 30 year old female elephant sweet! Almost immediately she was lifting her trunk back wanting the fruit... and then off we went! It was pretty scary as we weren't chained in and Buddha had a habit of wandering up or down the steepest bit of the walk she could find! The scariest bit was when three of the elephants in front of us got freaked out by a fire! One tried to over take another but it couldn't as they were roped together, they started emitting loud noises and Buddha did a U turn and legged it backwards!! I was pretty certain I was about to die!! Luckily the guy got her under control and we were back off on the trek! Throughout the walk there were stations in which you could buy sugar cane, Buddha obviously knew what these were as she stopped at them every time raising her trunk towards us!
On our downhill decesnt back to the start our guide asked me if I wanted to swap places with him and sit on Buddhas neck! I said yes cockily thinking he was joking but soon realised when he was getting into my seat and beckoning me forward he was serious! It was not the best place to switch places as the elephant was on a downhill slope, but somehow we managed it! Sitting on an elephants neck is definatley an experience, a scary, uncomfortable but cool experience! I was holding on for dear life to the seat behind me and also struggling to keep my flip flops on as my legs jumped about all over the place! At one point I dropped the sugar cane I was trying to feed her and she reared her head downwards.... I thought I was going to fall off for sure! Somehow we got back to the start with me still alive and Buddha playfully cooled herself down spraying water all over herself and us! I was relieved to get off as straddling an elephant was not all that comfortable!
After saying goodbye to Buddha we had some lunch and made our way to Bamboo Rafting, no-one was really too sure what to expect but it turned out to be really cool! It was two people per raft, one stood at the back and help pole and one sat in the middle and chilled out! They were pretty long rafts made out of nothing but bamboo! We lesiurley made our way along a beautiful river until our guide thought it would be hilarious to splash us! We saw locals and Elephants along the bank which was really cool!! In some places the otherwise peaceful slowing river turned into rapids which was scary and I nearly fell off everytime and got pretty soaked going through them! At one point mine and Claires guide and Naomi and Justins made out they had to get on our raft.... I thought something was wrong with theirs until our raft with all of us on started to sink and the guys were pissing themselves!!! Needless to say we jumped onto theirs pretty quickly to avoid falling in!! We also saw a snake in the river along the way, which our guy decided to try and flick away from us but ended up just making in angry! Scary stuff!
I really enjoyed both the elephant riding and Bamboo rafting and it is a must if you are ever in Chaing Mai!
Tonight we went to a trek shop (someones house) and hired a few bits for for our hill tribe village trek and we then went for dinner, where I completely over ordered on two many dishes of tasty Thai food! After dinner I went with some of the group to a Thai Boxing evening, which was an experience and another thing to tick off the "Things to do whilst in Thailand List" The place looked like an illegal bare knuckly boxing ring you get in movies but I think they all look like this! At first it was teenagers but then got onto the adults who were much more violent! It was always a Thai Boxer V someone from another country! Despite the fact I don't like boxing it was quite technical and not JUST two men knocking the crap out of each other! Although we did see two people get KO'd!
After a while I was shattered as was everyone else so we made our way back to the Guesthouse where I crawled into bed. I got a nice lay in as today (Saturday) I have a free day in Chiang Mai and tomorrow we make our way to start our hill tribe village trek!! Which I think is going to be fairly hardcore!
Will update again after the trek!! If I survive!
Wow another essay!!