After our flight from Sydney we arrived in Bangkok about 11pm, so we had a short over night stay in a hotel near the airport. The next morning we made our way back to the airport to get our flight to Chiang Mai. After checking in our luggage, we decided to have our first Thai meal and we couldn't believe how cheap it was! The food was lovely, we could definitely get used to eating like this. We had a look around the shops and loved that they have Boots in Thailand and like everything else it's cheap!!
Our flight took just over an hour and after a short taxi we arrived at our hotel. It was a cute little guest house, and the people who owed it were lovely. They didn't even make us pay up front as they said that while we are staying there we are family not customers - so nice!
We left out hotel to go for a walk and we quickly got a bit of a culture shock. The whole place was so busy, people were cooking and selling foods on the streets, taking over the pavements so you had to walk in the road and there were loads of stray dogs. We were a long way from Sydney now!! Trying to cross the road was even an experience, here red lights and zebra crossings don't mean anything to drivers. To get across the road we just had to basically run and hope for the best. I'm sure we will master it by the time we leave Asia though.
After getting up early the next morning, our hotel had arranged for us to got to a tiger santuary, they even arranged for a tuk tuk to stay with us all day and take us where we wanted. Our first experience of a tuk tuk was exactly as I thought it would be - a little scary. It's basically a three wheel drive car with a roof, no sides and no seat belts but it was surprisingly comfy.
We didn't want to visit tigers anywhere were they are chained up or treated badly, so Tiger Kingdom was perfect, the tigers are well looked after and are not kept in small cages so they have plenty of room to roam about. We paid to see some small tigers then the really big ones. Watching the big ones before we entered the pen made us really nervous, some of them were growling and moving around quite quickly, but we were visiting the smaller ones first so we had time to build ourselves up to getting the pen with the big ones. The smaller tigers were really cute, they were six months old and after first getting over the thought that we were in a pen with three tigers I really enjoyed it. The large tigers were also very calm, they allowed you to stroke them and even lie down on them. The trainer said that they are taught from an early age that humans are not a threat to them, which was nice to know while we were in the pens!
After seeing the tigers we got back in our tuk tuk and our driver took us to the local markets. It was our first experience of a Thai market and it was exactly as i'd expected - chaos. The amount of stalls was unbelievable, selling absolutely everything. Some of the food stalls made me feel a bit sick. One food stall inparticular had a bucket filled with baby turtles which were alive, it was so cruel. Being in Thailand could definitely make me a veggetarian!
After a busy day at the markets, we got up the next day and sat by the pool before getting ready to see Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple. The temple was on a hill which over looked the city. It was so nice to walk around, really peaceful and the colours of the temple are amazing. After having a good look around we bought some bracelets which show that you have visited the temple, then made our way back to and hotel and went for a Mexcian meal :)
Our last day in Chiang Mai had come so quickly that it was soon time to make our way to Bangkok. We had a hotel booked in Bangkok but didn't have a return flight to get there so we decided to book a VIP Bus. We didn't know what to expect from the bus but had heard that the VIP ones had reclining seats and so being an over night journey we decided this bus was best, and at 800 baht it was also a bargain! The bus was slightly different to any other one we had travelled on. It had frilly curtains on the windows, we were given blankets with teddy bears on them, and we were also given a chocolate bar, a little cake and a carton of soy milk. They then played the film 'The Eye' which is scary film and seemed a bit of a strange choice when there was children on the coach. It was really comfortable though, and we managed to get a few hours sleep before we arrived in Bangkok.