I don’t think we’ll ever forget arriving into the Khao San Road (where our hostel was) at midnight with and weary legs and heavy backpacks. For anyone who’s not been there, imagine trying to walking through hundreds of tourists dancing to booming music in the middle of the street, most of them out of their minds on local spirits and laughing gas. Plus the hundreds of locals trying to get you into their bars, sell you flashing light toys and street food consisting of fried spiders and cockroaches!
We somehow made it to our room (sweatbox with a fan) and drifted off to the sounds of drunk teenagers and starboy.
In the morning we explored the less crazy Khao San Road and had a yummy, cheap (40baht), pad Thai for breakfast. The first of many to come! That night we took the local bus to soi cowboy…lots of bars, lots of western men, lots of lady boys and girls in bikinis. We sat and watched in amazement.
In the morning we took a tuk tuk (40baht) around some of the temples. It was boiling so we were pretty happy to be driven around in a shaded tuk tuk. Just be careful of the stop off at the tourist centre to try and get you to buy something. We just sat and talked to the lady and told her we couldn’t buy anything yet as we had to talk to our friends. Don’t feel pressure from the tuk tuk drivers they just really want you to buy something because then they get a fuel voucher.
That night we then took a sleeper bus to Chiang Mai. This drove through the night getting us to chiang mai at 6am. We paid 550 baht each, sadly the transport is a lot more expensive here in Thailand compared to Vietnam but the service was much better!
From Khao San Road to the bus station (Morchit) we took a local bus which was 15 baht, way cheaper than a tuk tuk. We also had the pleasure of meeting some lovely locals…a Thai gentleman who identified as what looked like a Native American rock god. Donning a Metallica t shit, cowboy boots, a sarong and a animal belt..as Big fan of Metallica he kindly sang for us, while he sipped away on his bottle of vodka. The only English words he knew were ‘ohh yeahhh’.
Once in chiang mai we made it to our hostel: brick house. The best thing about here was the comfy beds, the location was fine, although impossible to get any food at 7am when we arrived. Thai people seem to be up late and late risers too.
From chiang mai we booked a few trips; firstly two days/one night at the elephant jungle sactuary, this wasn’t cheap but at least the money is justified. We paid around 4,500 each. They picked us up from the hostel in the morning and we drove about 2 hours to get to the sanctuary. The elephants are all rescued from riding camps and circus’ s. When we arrived we met the elephants, there were about 6/7 at this camp and fed them bananas, sugar cane and wheat. With the guides we then made up medicine balls consisting of ; salt, whole grain rice, banana, tarrot, Which we also fed to the elephant s.
After we had some lunch, we had the best experience of taking the elephants To ‘the spa’. The elephants were lead to a huge mud hole where they slowly walked in and a few started to sit and even lie down so you could smother them in thick, smelly mud! We then walked with them to a little waterfall and washed the mud off. Sadly this was the end of day 1 and we drove to where we were staying the night; camp 6, in a little wooden shack with two couples. Here we met young Ronaldo who was learning to test his playing skills. We couldn’t get too close as even at only a few months old he was a lot bigger than us and his barging skills much better! Danielle nearly got sent flying and Chrissy pinned to a tree. Our guide for the evening was an ex monk called jade who cooked us up a great green curry and fed us Thai mojitos. Thanks to `John` and Ally from Bexleyheath it was tonight that we learnt about Cowspiracy which changed our life! For anyone interested about the effects humans have on the planet go and watch it!!!
The next day we had a walk around the camp, fed another tribe of elephants (unfortunately this time with millions of other tourists) and met one of the biggest males. Stunning creature to watch roam around and wash himself in the mud… and also get a little frisky around some of the females 😮 which was an eye opener.
We followed the elephants slowly through the scrub and back toward the camp where we left them and had a long walk to two waterfalls. After spending the afternoon hiking we went to see the oldest elephant they owned at the sanctuary who was 74 years old, the only thing that showed her age was her huge size and wrinkly skin. They has a new born elephant here too who was so cute! He lead his mother and his two flanking boy elephant body guards around the compound. They protected him in the middle of a very tight triangle and almost stepped on anyone close by.
We then got driven back to the hostel after saying some emotional elephant goodbyes.
That night we took a walk around the nearby night markets and lara bought a watch….for a great price…and Danielle continued her hunt for more baggy trousers.
Next day we took a day trip to Chiang Rai and the golden triangle.
We left at 7am. Got into the usual minivan, where every Thai and other Asian seem to have permission to drive like an F1 racer. We first stopped at the eggy hot springs. These have been encompassed into mini wishing well like creations and dumped in the middle of a car park so everyone can visit and eat at the same time. They were pretty hot and steamy (with the usual sulphur odour). The difference here is that some very cleaver ladies started up their own boiled egg business, plopping small baskets if eggs in the boiling ponds to then sell on.
We then drove onto the white temple which is a must see! Even if it was rather rushed and very crowded, it’s still beautiful. We then kept driving and went on a boat trip over to Laos For a quick stop. After a buffet lunch we went to the viewpoint where you can see Myanmer, Laos and Thailand. We had a great local guide called Tik who was a really interesting guy.
The hill tribe and long neck was the final stop and we just about managed to get a quick photo and chat with one of the ladies before a storm decided to set in! We all bundled into the van and then about halfway back to Chiang Mai the van broke down…It was our lucky day! Tik was very good about it and 40 mins later another van turned up to deliver us back to the hostel…sleep time!
We had a chilled out day in Chiang Mai after this, walking around the markets. Then in the morning we went to Pai. We had been recommended Pai a lot by various travellers. Its about a 2/3 hour journey from Chiang Mai, and such a beautiful drive through lush Thai jungle. We stopped along the way for a nice rice lunch in a little road side cafe. When we arrived we went straight to our hostel; Spicypai, another recommendation from a travelling friend. This was a nice friendly hostel, just beware of the mosquitos and spiders. The rooms are bamboo shacks with holes in the walls and the beds are crazy uncomfortable….but for one night the hostel has a good vibe. I can’t say there’s much to do in Pai but enjoy the relaxing atmosphere, a big buddha and a canyon, pick one to watch the sunset, we tried to do both and kind of ended up missing it. Just about managed to get a couple of snaps over the canyon which was amazing. In the evening we went to walking street and had a few drinks, the night life is pretty good here if your interested!
After our outdoor shower we started making our way back to Chiang Mai, goodbye hippies and mushroom lovers! Just as we were winding through the middle of nowhere enjoying the northern Thailand jungle..bang! we managed to get ourselves a puncture :(. The roads to Pai are in perfect condition so we realised it was because the inner tubing had melted in the heat!