Saturday, 10 May 2014

8th April Thailand, Chiang mai ...Elephants, trekking, bamboo rafting and water fights

exchange rate 53 Thai bart =  £1
weather 35 plus and humid


On the 8th april we made our way to Chiangmai from Ayutthaya by train (2000bart)
 I was last here 20 years ago and to be honest I didn't remember much of it. i had spent most of the time studying Thai massage course.
We spent the first three days in Chiangmai in a hostel in the old town five floors up eek! all those bags. but it  was great because it was near the night market.  Now what i can say is while the market was large and full of activity it didn't seem to match my old memories of long ago wandering around old chock a block markets and buying puppet dolls and scary dance masks but then its 20 yrs later i suppose.

the night market 
                      There's many beautiful temples and inside you can find Buddha images and beloved monk life- like statues.

out and about... the old moat and part of old city wall


little statues are every where

We really wanted to experience riding elephants so we booked with Ran- Tong elephant centre as it offered a more relaxed way to meet the elephants and we got to ride bare back,  its a much more comfortable way for the elephants to carry us.

What a wonderful day, alisha and seb were very relaxed around the elephants and didn't show any worries about riding them, some of the elephants were really big, many had been bought  from logging companies.,  Due to the cruel ways they treat the elephants and heavy loads they carry. Its now illegal in Thailand to use elephants in logging but not yet in Burma,

We first got to meet and feed the elephants then we took a ride around the forest on them, after lunch we then did a trek into the forest and down to the river where we washed the elephants. A fab time.. just watch out for the big balls of poo they seem to do when bathing ;-) then back to the camp.



                                                                                          No we are not that poor yet ;-) these are the                                                                                                    clothes given when riding elephants

After the elephant training day we booked onto a two day eco walking trek into the national park mountains south west of Chiangmai. This again offered us another small elephant ride before we set of on the trek. 
our lunch wrapped in banana leaves

                                                                    banana leaf hat
                                          our refreshing stop and first water fall...
                                         Alisha  joining the local children,  jumping of the bridge

                                                Our bamboo hut accommodation

               Day 2 we set of through the village and downwards into the rice and banana plantations                                 
                                             home made bamboo pop gun

Our last dry moment for we spent the next three days soaking wet in the Songkean festival 
we finished the to day trek floating down the river on bamboo rafts  

It was the 13th April and the Thai new year and the start of Songkean Water festival, so tons of people from all over Thailand  was on the water, also floating on bamboo rafts, picnicking,drinking and having lots of water fights.

After spending the afternoon water fighting and playing in the river
We travelled back to Chiangmai ( 1 and half hours) by open taxi. Songkean was in full force, every town we went through was ready, people stood on side of roads with hoes, water guns and worse still bucket of ice cold water ready to splash the next passer ..
Our driver kindly slowed down so we didn't miss out on any of  the fun ;-)
Despite the hot weather 36 plus degrees and humid,  ice water soon cools you down quickly.

Once back in Chiangmai we quickly got our water guns and headed out in to the festival 

the friendly citizens of Thailand  
check out the blocks of ice in the car some one goes around handing out ice 
 The old moat around the city, became a  swimming pool,
 people lined up all day along the road with many dragging water out with buckets, there were stalls of food and people picnicking everywhere. Now this is how to celebrate new year.

 A moto all ready for the festivities

 Fun for all ages just think, having a city to play water fights in, not just your back garden  WONDERFUL
  After three day of water fighting we had a couple of days recovering then we took a day tour and travelled up to Chiangrai in north Thailand

                                                              See you there  xx


1 comment:

Alice in Wanderland said...

Oh my. Wonderful post. It totally took me back to my time in Thailand, which incidentally was during the New Year Water festival (that was fun as I was also trying to work at the time!) back in 2002. You guys look so happy, healthy and wonderful. Keep enjoying. The kids look so free and happy. Hugs from us all xxxx