Bye bye Thailand 🙁
24.03.2017 - 05.04.2017
So, we arrived in Chiang Mai at around 5:30am on 25th of March. The coach to get there took just over 10 hours and It isn't the smoothest journey, which means barely any sleep, if any. The coach stopped at some random petrol station, but luckily, from there, a tuk tuk/taxi driver offered to take us to where we were staying for the next week. It was only cheap too (100 baht - about £2) which was good because we kind of had no choice and would of pretty much agreed either way. From the moment we arrived in Chiang Mai, we noticed the unbelievably loud noise. The amount of birds and other creatures, means that there is a constant buzz. It's not annoying though. After about 10 minutes, it becomes white noise. It's just crazy.
So anyway, after dropping everybody else to there hostels, we were taken to our accommodation which was a little out of the way. We planned this because it was a nice place and we wanted a chilled out week, after a mad few weeks previously. So when we got there at 6:30am we were super happy that we were able to check straight in and ended up going back to bed for a little bit as we were seriously shattered.
Once we woke up, we decided to go to the pool and check out the area. We were so pleased. It was really lovely.
I won't go in to detail of what we did every second of every day, as many of them were the same as others. For about 4 out of the 7 days we were either, at the pool, sleeping, eating (we found a great place called Silver Spoon, which we went to a few times) drinking (Chang's, vodka or cocktails) watching tv (my sisters keeper, hotel Transylvania and a few episodes of Black Mirror) going for long walks and so on. It was all such hard work 😅.
On one of the days (Mother's Day) we decided to visit the Chiang Mai Old Town, which is basically the city centre. We used UBER to get there. It only cost 50 baht (about £1.50) although, the taxi driver told us that UBER was actually illegal in Chiang Mai, so I would advise others to be super cautious. We had planned to visit a couple of temples and call the mums later on, as we were 7 hours ahead. We enjoyed a few drinks, found a travel agents and booked the night bus back to Bangkok for the last few days before we leave Thailand. We then played LOTS of games of pool. It got quite competitive and by the time we were finished, we realised that the temples would be closed, so never actually made our way to them. We did speak with the mum's though ☝🏼️
Another day in Chiang Mai, we spent hours looking at different options for our trip, such as where we were going, when and what we would do in each place. We booked flights around the USA and booked a visit to Alcatraz prison which is very exciting for us and means a quick trip to San Francisco which is another new addition to the trip.
Our favourite day in Chiang Mai, was the day which we visited Patara Elephant Farm! We looked through so many different places to make sure that we chose a place which treated the elephants right. After researching for a very long time, we chose to visit Patara. The prices were a bit more expensive, but we would be able to ride on the elephants here (Not on a wooden seat which is cruel). I was still a bit worried that I may see some goings on there which I wouldn't find comfortable, but the reviews on multiple web sites from people who had visited the park, put me at ease a little.
We were picked up at midday in a taxi and taken to Patara. As soon as we arrived, we were introduced to a mummy and baby elephant. The baby was only 2 weeks old, but so big. Obviously, she was still tiny compared to her mum. She was so playful and kept getting really excited and running around. If you sat down, she would sit on your lap. She wrapped her trunk around my leg, which was soooo cute! I wanted to keep her! Whilst giving the baby elephant some love, the mother swung her tail and hit me in my face. It really hurt and looking at her, I became much more cautious. The baby weighed A LOT when she sat on us. The mother could crush us! Thank god, I just got hit by her tail and not sat on!
After a while, we were sat down, put in to groups and briefed on how to act around the elephants. At Patara, they didn't use force to speak with the elephants. They simply spoke to them (no hitting involved) which was pleasing to hear. We learnt some Thai words which would help us when we met our elephants. That's right, I said our elephants. Each person was paired with a specific elephant which suited them best. Mine was a naughty teenager called Beemy and Paul's was also a teenager called PahToo. His was much bigger than mine though and much better behaved. Sounds about right 🤔😉.
So the first thing we did was feed our elephants. We were each handed a basket and directed over to our elephants. Each person also got their own guide, to help with anything. Mine was a bit moody, but helpfulish. 🙊 We were taught to tell the elephants that we wanted to feed them and then after they had eaten, how to say good boy/girl. Most people were told to feed the elephants directly in to their mouths. Beemy was very eager and would grab it using his trunk before I could reach his mouth 🙋🏼. They were very loving. They were all free to roam where they wanted and seemed very happy. Patara had more than 80 elephants in total. They were very focused on mother and baby. You could see that mother and baby were always kept together. Even in cases where a person was paired with an elephant, the baby's were always by their side.
After feeding the elephants, we were given a bunch of leaves to pat the elephants down (clean the mud off their backs). The elephants seemed to really enjoy this. They lay down themselves and sprawled out whilst you patted them down. After, they chilled out for a bit, whilst we had some lunch. Neil had a quick go at riding a baby elephant. He loved it 👍.
Beemy decided that he was thirsty, so I fed him water using a hose pipe. It was strange, pouring it in to their trunks. It seemed very odd.
After that, we headed down to a river, where we each cleaned our elephants. Most people sat on their elephants to clean their heads. Beemy just wanted to lie down though, so I didn't really spend much time on him. I just kind of scrubbed him from the side. Afterwards, we were all told to stand for a picture with the elephants. That is when they decided to drench us all by squirting water on to us using their trunks. It was such good fun.
After that, we were each told how to get on to our elephants. It wasn't easy is all I'll say and mine was smaller than most.
From there, we walked to another part of the Elephant farm. It was quite scary being on top of the elephant. We were told to sit far forward on the elephants because, sitting on the backs can be harmful to them. I felt like I was going to fall forward over Beemy's head at times. Neil joined me up there and we got a few pictures. Pauls elephant decided it was still hungry on the walk and literally stole some bamboo from a truck. At the end, we got a few more pictures with the elephants, me, Paul and Neil. That concluded our trip and we we're taken back to our hotel. We were also given a code and a website to visit later that night, where we were given access to all of the pictures taken throughout the day at no extra cost, which was a nice touch. We seriously loved our day with the elephants. Another one from that bucket list ticked off 👍😊. We would both highly recommend Patara elephant farm to other people!
The night before we were due to leave Chiang Mai, we had a few drinks and decided to visit the large shopping mall, not too far away (Central Festival). We got a taxi there and decided to visit the KFC, forgetting for a moment that we were in Thailand, we couldn't eat it at all. A few bites and our mouths were burning. After 2 months in Thailand and a month in Malaysia, you would think that we could handle it, but no!
On our way back, we couldn't get internet to order an UBER taxi and were quoted more than double what we had paid on the way there by the local taxi's. So on a random one, I saw some people with a pick up truck (a local couple and two girls who were travelling with them), pulled over near the taxi's and asked if they were going in our direction. It turned out that they were and very kindly dropped us very near by where we were staying for nothing. I was really pleased at the little money saver and more so, pleased that people were kind enough to agree to it.
The last day, we were due to be collected from Calla Lily Boutique around 5pm, so requested a late checkout and chilled out for the day. This wasn't offered and we didn't have to pay anything extra, which was really sweet of the staff at our accommodation. As mentioned before, we loved this place and would definitely recommend it for couples, single travellers or even groups. The location is the only downfall, but it's cheap to get anywhere! We packed our bags once again and when 5pm came around, off we went in a "taxi" to the coach and then off to Bangkok. We arrived pretty early in Bangkok and once again, booked D Hostel, as it is like our little home which we returned to in Thailand. We know that it is a great hostel and it made sense to stay there for our final 3 days in Thailand. As we arrived super early (about 5am) and weren't due to check in until 2pm, we went to a lovely air conditioned chill out room in the hostel, made up little beds and snoozed for a couple of hours. When we woke up, we watched Hotel Transylvania 2, as the TV had lots of films to watch.
The last few days were pretty tame to be fair. We decided to visit Lumpini park which is a big park, right in the centre of Bangkok and is full of crazy wildlife, mainly monitor lizards. 😑
We got a taxi there and walked around for a couple of hours. It was a really nice, hot day. After that, we started to walk towards MBK because we decided that we were going to go to the cinema. It turned out that google maps was sending us on a wild goose chase and so we flagged down a tuk tuk and negotiated a good price. He asked for us to make one stop on the way there. (This is pretty common with taxi's in Thailand. They make commission by taking you to friends shops to have a look around and hopefully purchase something) we agreed to make one stop as we weren't in any kind of rush and it was a good price. We were taken to a suit shop. We had a look around (with no intention to buy a thing) and then left.
When we arrived a MBK, The times for the films weren't great for us, so we decided to walk to the IMAX cinema not too far away. On the way, we got a cheeky subway 🤗😜. At the IMAX, we watched 'The Boss Baby'. It was decent to be fair.🙊
The next day, we spent on Khao San Road. It was where we started our 2 month journey around Thailand and seemed appropriate that we end our time there! We picked up a few bottles of Chang and went for massages. We both had pedicures, both had a hair cut and had full body massages and foot massages. After that, we had some more drinks and met a nice couple from England who we spent some time with. They were travelling for about the same time as us, so it was nice to compare notes. On our way home, we drunkenly picked up some junk food and munched it back at the hostel before we went to our dorms and ended our time in Bangkok.
Our flight the next morning was pretty early and so we checked out, ordered an Uber taxi and off we went.
We were so sad to be leaving Thailand. After two months travelling around, we both felt quite institutionalised. From the moment we arrived in Thailand to now, we felt so much more at home. However, we were super excited to get to our next destination (Bali) and so, managed to drag ourselves away. It's not likely that we would go back to Thailand which made it really hard for me to say goodbye. If things were different, I would go back a million times over. I would also recommend to everybody, that they must experience the different world that is Thailand! But for us, it looks like we are pretty busy for a while. Also, after a few more years, we would hope to have little feet joining us. I really would never choose to visit Thailand with children. It's hectic enough, watching your own back.
Whilst there are many things that we loved about Thailand, we were quite uncomfortable with many different things, such as the illegal sex trade which is quite "in your face", the toilet situation, homeless people, drugs, relentless mosquitos and so on. That being said, our eyes have been opened up to what's really going on and we have learnt a lot about this crazy place in the world. It is both beautiful and ugly. Words can not describe it. So that brings me to an end. Just go there!