A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

BANN THAI COOKING SCHOOL

LAST COUPLE DAYS IN CHIANG MAI

sunny 30 °C
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So, for my third day in Chiang Mai, I decided to do an all-day cooking class at the Bann Thai cooking school.

I would definitely recommend this. We had the chance to visit the market and learn about vegetables that are local to the area.

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I love this standard soup kit that is readily available.

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We got to spend the day cooking and eating. It was both fun and delicious. I will try to make the sticky rice and mango at home.

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Since I had a later flight on my last day, I met up with Chris and Pete and we decided to try the women's prison again. By 9:30 am, they were totally booked up so we opted for an excellent second choice. The ex-inmates spa. Pretty nice spot actually and a good massage…although I did hear Chris and Pete yelp at one point.

This was my first experience in Thailand and while I expected it to be touristy, I didn't expect it to be this touristy. Pretty modern place to be honest. Saying that I had a great few days. I accomplished all my goals….surpassed my massage goal. I had 6 massages over 5 days. I enjoyed excellent food, mostly from street vendors, and I had many laughs with my new friends, all under sunny skies.

Posted by curlygirl 07:10 Archived in Thailand Tagged sticky rice chiang man cooking thai Comments (0)

THE ELEPHANT NATURE PARK

HANGING WITH THE ELEPHANTS AND THE HIPPIES

sunny 30 °C
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To accomplish the second of my goals, I booked a day in with the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park.

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The park is about 60 minutes away from Chiang Mai and was opened in 1990 to rescue elephants from around the country. The tourist dollars are used to help buy elephants in distress and to feed them. Apparently no one gives them up for free. They eat constantly for about 12 hours a day.

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I was initially skeptical about the day because although I had heard great things about the park, I was a little surprised by volume of participants. When my ride picked me up, I was notably much older than the others and other than 2 young Germans, the only one without a large covering of tattoos and unique hairdos and outfits. My god, am I really getting old and judgemental? On arrival at the park, it was packed with young back packers and we were quickly hustled to a corner and told to feed the elephants bananas.

But alas, as the day progressed, we walked around, meeting the elephants and learned about the way elephants are mistreated, often in the interest of tourism and I was impressed by the care they were given. They have such unique personalities and it was heartbreaking to see those with broken ribs from being ridden or scars from the abuse and neglect.

Truly magnificent animals and the park is worthy of a visit.

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Babies playing

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Lots of dog, cats and water buffalo around too.

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My group turned out to be a pretty nice group of hippie travelers.

Posted by curlygirl 16:23 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand elephants chiang mai Comments (0)

CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ADVENTURES

sunny 26 °C
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I arrived without incident in Chiang Mai and was transported promptly to my hotel, The Rimping Village by tuk tuk. The hotel was great and was tucked away the main part of the city but only a 10 minute walk to the night market and old city.

After my busy two weeks in Myanmar, I took my time starting my first day. I slept in a little, had a leisurely breakfast and made a plan. As many of you know, this time in Thailand was intended for relaxation and I had only two clear goals, to have as many massages as possible and to see the elephants.

As I was leaving the hotel, I stopped to look at the map to make sure I was headed the right way. I noticed two others who appeared to know where they were going so I asked, "is this the way to the white bridge?". They said yes and we started to chat. Chris and Pete had arrived the day before and informed me that they were headed to the women's prison for a massage. I remembered reading that the prisoners do massages during the day. Without a thought, I said, "that sounds cool, mind if I follow you". Well who knew….or as they would say, "you couldn't have planned it", we would spend more time together over the next 3 days and have such a great laugh.

We spent the whole day together, and took a long walk towards the prison visiting temples along the way.

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This was really strange. It wasn't until after I got home and someone told me on Facebook, that I realized these guys were wax figures.

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Along the way, we ran into this local lady who told us it was a waste of time to go to the prison because you have to register early in the morning to get in. She suggested we go to a place where the blind do massages. Said it would be good for our hearts. She also suggested a tailor and a good restaurant and arranged a tuk tuk to take us. Worked out perfect. Just a couple hours after meeting my friends I am drinking iced green tea and having massages with them. It was awesome. The day was awesome.

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We also decided to take in the last day of the flower festival. This was really impressive. Tons of giant floats with designs made from flowers and seeds.

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Next stop the night market. It was wall to wall people. Suddenly in the midst of roaming around, a voice came over the loud speaker and what appeared to be the national anthem started to play. People begin to whisper, "stand still, stand still" and so we did. It was strange.

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Lots of blind musicians in the streets. Apparently there is a fairly large school for the blind in Chiang Mai

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Finally, after a long day, Chris and I thought we should take in yet another massage. One of the cheap ones on the street ($4 for 30 minutes). We couldn't get into the first place but found another set up in the parking lot of the police station. This would turn out to be the most brutal and best massage of my trip. Before I know it, I am laying face down on a mat with some large Thai lady, who is clearly running the show, pinning me down. With brute force, and while collecting the money from others, she finds the knot in my shoulder and proceeds to put full weight into it with her shoulder. While this is happening, her little dog is walking on my back and licking my face, while she cries, "dog massage" and laughs an evil laugh. If I tried to lift my head I was pinned down. It was wicked.

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It was a great day, and I couldn't have spent it with any better people. You meet the best people when you travel alone.

Posted by curlygirl 15:46 Archived in Thailand Tagged night market thailand chiang mai Comments (0)

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