Back in Chiang Mai things were business as usual at Spicy Thai as I reconnected with Nicole and Dave. Since they had just finished a two day trek Saturday night we kept things low key with one of the 1800 movies available. Not joking. Everything you could ever want to watch at your fingertips.
Sunday morning Nicole (Trip advisor) led us on a walking tour through the walled city. We visited a couple of temples first. Now at this point I am mostly over temples because I am finding them all to be much too commercialized without much substance. But it had been a few days since my last temple visit so I gave it another shot. Unfortunately I had also dropped off every piece of clothing except one strapless dress to be washed (better planning would have led to a less dire situation) and so I couldn't actually enter the temple. It was lovely from the outside (read: it looked the same as all the rest).
Next up on the walking tour was a visit to the women's prison where convicts have been trained to give Thai massages. This wasn't as good as the one I had in Chiang Rai but mostly I was super curious what my girl had done wrong. I especially don't want to meet any of these girls in an alley.
And then came the highlight of my day. Now for years I've been quite the lion fan. But today I went to play with tigers. And of course I paid the little extra to play with the littlest tigers. This was the most fun ever. Luckily you will all get to meet my baby tiger as I stole this little nugget for my forever keeping.
Elated from my tiger experience I went back to the hostel where capacity was down to a solid group of 12 as the hotel typically closes through the month of June. And so our happy little family had all the best intentions of making it to the famous Sunday night market but instead found ourselves experiencing the Chiang Mai night life as led by our trusty hostel worker.
Since the purpose of returning to Chiang Mai was to go on a trek I booked myself a one day snap shot adventure for Monday. The morning started with a visit to a butterfly sanctuary. I'm not exactly sure why. But it was nice. They were flutter-y.
I then went to visit the long neck and big ear hill tribes. The situation was quite sad as they traditionally live closer to the Laos/Myanmar border but they have come down close to the city to set up a mock village for tourists so they can make money. It sort of felt like being at a people zoo. But they were all very generous and happy to show their rings. Note: these rings are WAY heavier than I expected. They start adding rings at age 5 and get a new one every year.
And then came the big highlight of the day. The ephalent camp. I wasn't sure what to expect as many people had told me how badly treated the elephants were on their tours and how little they actually interacted with the animals. Luckily for us we spent about half an hour playing, dancing, and getting kisses from the elephants before taking our ride. They were cute.... But they were no tigers.
After a quick lunch we went for a "trek" (half hour walk) through the jungle in a rainstorm to get to a waterfall for a quick swim/mud rinse.
Cleanish we headed over to the river for bamboo rafting. This was essentially sitting on a raft made of bamboo as we drifted very slowly down a river with two Thai guys yelling at one another to stop steering wrong.
Upon returning to the hostel I got super cold, then super feverish and had an 8pm bed time to recover for the inevitable ridiculous that my next few days in Koh Phangan were going to bring.