Thursday, 10 October 2013

Thailand - Day 1 + 2 - Chiang Mai

Day 1

After a very long day of flying ( Sydney to Bangkok, Bangkok to Chiang Mai), we finally made it to Chiang Mai. We were picked up at the airport by our guide Woody. After a bit of a tour of the city we made it to the hotel. Our hotel is right in the middle of the night bazaar, so we dumped our stuff and went for a wander. Wow, it was over whelming! There are hundreds of stalls and restaurants which just pop up on the street when the sun starts to go down. After an hour or two of meandering around the streets we gave in and headed back to our hotel for a much needed sleep.

Day 2

We started the day with an early breakfast (which included french toast!) and met up with Woody for our tiger day. His driver took us out of the city to the Tiger Kingdom.

We were shown to the smallest tigers first. They were 3 and 5 months old (so cute!) where we were allowed to cuddle them. Kristen was loving it and couldn't wipe the smile off her face. We were allowed to meet a few different tigers, including Kiwi a five month old boy that was clearly going to be a massive adult. The younger tigers didn't have names yet.

One cheeky little fella snuck up on us while we were posing with another cub.

After our allotted time with the cubs we went for a little walk around the park. There were a lot of tigers, all different sizes and we even heard a few roars. Mostly they were just chillin' in the shade or splashing around in their pool (can't blame them). 

We then went up to the big tigers. 

Big wet smelly tiger, we think he was the biggest

Kristen was loving the tiger

Matt was a little more cautious

"Oh shit, he's turning around"

After a little "correction" he settled back down

For some reason the handlers thought it was hilarious when Kristen said "ooo two tigers"

Licking train

Our overall thoughts on the tigers were that the big tigers were clearly scared off their handlers, who would whack them on the nose with a stick when they misbehaved. There were a couple of times where the tigers actually cowered away from the handlers. We felt safe the whole time but sort of felt that the babies were treated a little bit nicer than the adults.

Woody then suggested that we go to a monkey park that wasn't far from Tiger Kingdom. This sounded better than it was. We walked in to see 15 or so monkeys chained at the necks to trees and stumps, who begged for us to throw them peanuts. There were also a couple in cages. We had a hard time with this. The monkeys seemed to be in ok condition but it just seemed wrong to have metre long chains connecting them from the neck to a dead tree.

We were then told that there would be a show. We sat in the stands waiting to see the show and were approached by a handler and a monkey named Sam who shook our hands, sat with us while the handler took pictures and gave us a kiss on the cheek.

The show consisted of a few monkeys doing various tricks.

After the show Woody dropped us back at the hotel.

We decided to see a local temple, Wat Chedi Luang. So we asked a tuk tuk driver to take us. He decided that we should go to three temples. 

Wat Chiang Man

There were a lot of temple (stray) dogs around which of course made Kristen very sad.

Matt releasing some small birds. Not sure why, good luck maybe?

This temple had very specific rules, which meant we had to put on special robes and weren't allowed to point our feet at the Buddha which is very difficult in a room full of Buddhas.

This massive temple is Wat Chedi Luang, the one we wanted to see

Wat Phra Singh

By this stage we wanted to go back to the hotel (31 degrees and 49% humidity), our camera was flat and Kristen was over Buddhas. On our way back to the tuk tuk we were approached by a middle aged man from Bangkok who struck up a conversation about how much better Chiang Mai is than Bangkok. Our tuk tuk driver then took us about half hour out of the city to the handmade area. This area was a little confusing, and he took us to a few different places within it which included the umbrella makers, the largest jewelry store in in the world (which included a tour of how they make everything), the silver market, and silk market. By this stage it was late afternoon and we really wanted to get back to our room. After a bit of a rest it was dark and time to go back out to the night market. We had a nice dinner at Duke's, across the road from the hotel. After dinner we submerged ourselves in the markets. We soon found a "Funny Fish Spa" and decided to try it out. Weirdest feeling ever. You put your feet into a big tank full of fish and they nibble the dead skin off. It tickles like crazy. We shared our tank with a lovely couple that were from York and Dublin. After a bit of chatting and relaxing, the feeling wasn't as weird. It would still tickle every now and then but all in all it was nice. When our time was up we said our goodbyes and continued on our way. We browsed for a bit before heading back to the hotel, our feet feeling tingly and soft and our bodies very tired.

Bye for now xo

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