The bus from Chiang Rai on Sat 19th Nov took just 3.5 hours to Chiang Mai and on the bus I met a lovely Japanese girl, Ena, so we chatted most of the way.
When we arrived in Chiang Mai Ena & I shared a tuk tuk for a pound each into the centre and got left off by the Tae Pae Gate, which is quite central Chaing Mai. Dandered around, in the light which was a bonus and found a great wee hostel called 'Little birds Guesthouse' which is 2 pounds per night for a 4bed dorm, its clean and sociable so was really pleased finding it. After settling into little birds I went back out to meet Ena at the Tae Pae Gate, along with a girl Manuela who I had just met in the dorm and the 3 of us went for some food at a cheap street kitchen place, so was about 60p for the meal of chicken noodle soup, yum!
Sun 20th Nov I met up with Ena, the japanese girl again and we went for some bfast together, just buying some cheap but lovelt fresh fruit from a wee stall, we then hired some bikes for the day to see the city! Only a pound for the day hire so really good value. We cycled around, seeing lots of 'Wats' (temples) including the Wat Pha singh in the old quarter of the town, it wa beautiful and had lots of interesting quotes and signs attached to the trees on wooden signs. Wat Umong was an interesting temple as it was biult in 1380 for a monk who had a tendancy to wander off into the forrest! So they biult thi for him with tunnels in the temple painted with trees and birds to keep him there! Had a great chat with a very friendly monk at one temple who was very intersting and didnt mind having a photo so that was cool! Unfortunately I managed to burn the back of my leg on a motorbike exhaust today, it had parked up beside my bike and when I went to unlock my bike I brushed against it and heard a hiss sound, ouch, think that will turn out into a nasty blister in a day or two!! Sunday night market in Chaing Mai was amazing...literally spent 4 hour walking around, in a mass sea of people, up and down beautiful stalls of gifts sounvenirs etc, was fab. Bought some 2 pound flip flops as my pair had broken yday, probably from the sheer amount of walking I have been doing!
Mon 21 Nov was probably the mot relaxing and chilled day off my trip since I left! I have literally been so so on the move since I left London on 18th oct, staying 2 nights usually max in a place, sometimes just 1, but I have 7 nights here which i just absolute bliss! As can relax a little before I head onto Sydney. so monday i just caught up on emails, postcards, photos etc and dandered about leisurely for the day. Met a lovely french girl callled Eva while I was having some yummy local food for dinner and got myelf booked onto a fantatic trip for Tuesday, tomorrow, exciting!!
So, Tuesday 22 Nov I got up early and checked out of little birds hotel as today I am going on a 2 day 1 night jungle trek and elephant ride, sleeping at the elephant camp! Very excitied. Had some bfast at this amazing wee market stall just by the hostel, great wee lady who cuts up beautiful freh fruit and cereal and muesli for bfat and does the most AMAZING coffee smoothies, eg coffee and banana, coffee and cinnamon, o m g, addicitve!!! The 2 day 2 night trek was just amazing!! The jounrey started off at a butterfly and orchid farm which was lovely. The jungle trek was really tough and very uphill through the jungle!! I was abssolutely shatterred and very sweaty by the time we arrived at elephant camp on Tueday afternoon! By boy was it worth it...walking into camp, seeing elephants walking around, just amazing! Pretty much straight away we go to do the 30/45 min elephant ride; wow!! They are such massive amazing creatures but so slow and calm and quiet, was an amazing experience!! Being on the elephant was a lot bumpier than I had thought! They walked through some little lakes and things and you did really have to hold on tight when they were going up or down! The elephant carrying people in front of us wa actually pregnant and her tummy wa absolutely gignatic! Was fascinating to think she had a baby eleph00ant in there!! Dinner at the camp that night wa really tasty actually, basic rice and veg and sauce, but good! There was a wee bar at 'Jumbo Elephant Camp' so you could have some Chang Beer and Tiger Beer etc in the evening. We slept in an open air hut that wa high up and overlooked the elephant camp, just a mattres on the floor with a mossie net but wa fine. Wa AMAZING lying in bed and being able to hear the elephants eating and making puffing noises etc - SURREAL! Slept not too bad, and bfast on Wed morn was nice enough at camp. After breakfast came the highlight for me - bathing the elephants!!! I wa really lucky and already had my swim stuff on so as soon as the elephants arrived in the lake to be bathed I was straight in! Within a few minutes of brushing and scrubbing them etc the guy said to me to jump on! So I did - in the water, jumped on 'Melody' the elephant, held on tight to her ears and had the mot AMAZING walk/ride on her, by myself, just sat on her neck holding on,was such a highlight for me! Luckily a lovely deutch girl grabbed my camera and so I got some great photos of me riding the elephant, something I doubt I will ever get the chance to do again.
Wednesday 23 nov afternoon they took us to some amazing waterfalls where we got to climb up and slide down thi pretty cool but scary natural slide, i was pretty nervous, but it was a really good rush to do it!! Followiing the waterfalls we went white water rafting and then bamboo rafting which were really good - the bamboo you jut pretty much sit there and float down the river, the white water was a bit more exhilorating!! After getting back to Chaing Mai and checking back into Little Birds I was VERY glad to get a shower and take my clothes to the laundry, very smelly after elephants and jungle treks! Unfort despite wearing long sleeves and walking trousers the mossies still managed to attack me in unbeleiveable numbers, so my legs are in a bit of a state now haha!! Went out for ome dinner with Eva, the french girl I met the other night and we around the night market on the other ide of the Tae Pae Gate, ate on a great street stall so again had yummy cheap good local food. On the way back to the hostel I stopped at a 'Rotee' stall - they do these amazing crepe type pancake things with banana inside and condensed milk over the top, oh my goodness, it was abs yum!! A perfect pudding!!
Thursday 24th Nov I did a fantatic half day cookery course with 'Asia scenic thai cooking school'. I learnt to cook pad see uw stir fry, spring rolls and a georgeous local chaing mai curry called Khaw soi. What you cooked you ate, so by 1.30pm I had eaten these 3 courses and was stuffed for the rest of the day haha!! They gave you a wee cookery recipe book at the end which wa great too, really enjoyable morning. Bought a few wee gift for home in the night market, uing up some of my lat thai baht, had another Rotee pancake thing haha and went to bed quite ad that tonight i my last night in Asia. Tomorrow I start my journey to Sydney and I will be very sad to leave the south east asia area...I have had an amazing 5 weeks across Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand and been able to do and see so so much here due to the fantastic prices. I have met some great people also. But tomorrow my around the world adventure continues and I will move onto Sydney, Australia.