After leaving Myanmar we landed in Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport (second of many stops we will be making in Bangkok), and had hooours to kill before we had to board our overnight bus to Chiang Mai. So we basically sampled all of the delightful (lol jk) airport food available and rinsed the free wifi, downloading all of our Amazon prime and Spotify needs for the 10 hour bus journey ahead of us.
After a surprisingly swanky and enjoyable journey (thanks Lignite Tour) we arrived in Chiang Mai, super early in the morning. We then had eeeven more time to kill because our dorm room wasn’t ready yet. Probably a good thing tho, as we had no excuse not to orgnise the next part of the trip, and finally got round to sorting out where we would be for Christmas and New Year (hola Hanoi). Highlights of Chiang Mai include:
- The night market.
- The fantastic Thai cookery class we took one evening at Mama Noi’s Cookery School. Our teacher was SO FUNNY and we all made some pretty banging food.
- Jazz bar.
- THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY.
Definitely a day that we’ll always remember! We were taken to the sanctuary in the back of a truck, where we met a few others who would be spending the day at the same camp. When we arrived we were told to change into a patterned top (as the elephants would recognise the material), handed a bunch of bananas, and introduced to the herd. Won’t deny that it was pretty terrifying at first, they’re just SO HUGE, it’s surprising how quickly we felt comfortable around these giants. We were also super lucky with the camp we visited, as they had a little 2 month old baby who came wandering out, hiding behind her mother, sO CUTE. After feeding them and stealing a few elephant hugs and kisses, we all got changed into our swimming gear, and headed to the mud baths. You could see how much the elephants loved rolling around in the thick gloopy mud, with a crowd of humans rubbing the mud into their skin. Lastly we joined the animals in the river to wash the mud off (this ended up being a huge water fight) and were treated to a really nice buffet lunch, before heading back to our hostel. Such a surreal and amazing day!
Next we travelled to Pai; a hippie’s honeymoon paradise. Aside from the horrendous winding road there and back (762 bends in 3 hours), Pai was such an amazing place and we all wish we could have stayed longer than 3 days. We climbed to the white Buddha, were bruised and assaulted during a Thai massage, indulged in far too many spring rolls from the night market, smashed the quiz at our hostel, and spent our evenings with our new pals Dan & Irene.
The second day was by far the best as we decided to book a full day tour, and covered the best sights that Pai has to offer. We started off at the hot springs – absolute heaven, could have definitely stayed there all day, and then moved on to an amazing look-out spot, high above Pai and the surrounding countryside. After lunch we visited a waterfall (bit too chilly to swim tho) and the Sutongpe bamboo bridge that stretches for 500m over the rice fields of Mae Hong Son. We finally headed to Pai canyon for sunset, which was beautiful, but did almost cause me come back twin-less; Anna slipped on the limestone gravel and almost flew head first into the ravine. One way to keep our reflexes in check! We ended the day enjoying more of the amazing street food of the night market, and chilling out at a jazz bar. Doesn’t get much better really.
Our last day in Thailand was spent traveling and waiting: 3 hour minibus to Chiang Mai, 4 hour wait in the bus station, 11 hour bus to Bangkok, 8 hour wait in the airport, and finally a 2 hour flight to Hanoi to start our Vietnamese adventure!
A & K