Thailand … Chiang Mai … Elephants and Walking Market …

Hello Everyone … Hope you have all had a lovely weekend … things are ramping up here in Dubai … the last few days the mercury has hit 40 degrees and were starting to get our first taste of what the summer has in store for us … anyways in the mean time here is the next instalment of our time in Thailand … this is the day we spent at the Elephant park and at the Sunday Walking market …

So we woke up early today and had made the poor hotel staff get breakfast ready for us 30mins earlier than normal for them … but it was yummy food still … and promptly at 7.30am our tour guide arrived to pick us up …

Along the way we picked up the rest of the tour group from their hotels/hostels which included a family of four from France, three Canadians & three Germans … so a good mix of people and everyone seemed friendly enough … our guide Tom gave us abit of background information about the Baanchang Elephant Park we were visiting and their philosophy, how they look after the elephants etc along the way there …

Once we arrived we were all sent off to get changed into the clothes they provided for us … before lugging over several large baskets of bananas and sugar cane towards the elephants …

We were then introduced to the elephants and their handlers (Mahout – each elephant has a dedicated Mahout who looks after them all the time) and it was explained to us how we should approach them and which ones were approachable etc …

We were then let loose to feed them and had our first opportunity to interact with them … once they were all fed and we ran out of bananas …

We all regrouped and with a couple of the elephants to demonstrate Tom taught us some of the basic commands used to direct them when riding them …

We got a chance to try these out and went for a short circuit … everyone had a couple of goes to practice and get used to the feeling before we took a break for some lunch …

It was really lovely food and much better than what I had been anticipating … sweet and sour chicken, soup and panko fried chicken legs with rice … and pineapple for dessert … all with a view of the elephants having a drink at their watering hole nearby … following food we had some time to relax and chat with each other … the hammocks there were rather comfortable and would have been great for a nap if we had more time 😀

After lunch we were all assigned elephants in pairs … Perry and I agreed that I would ride up front for the first half and then we would switch round halfway through when we stop for a break … it was really fun and to start with it was quite easy going … for me anyway …

Our elephant kept getting side tracked at the sight of anything edible … we were told she was abit of a greedy one … but all was going well until we got to a downhill portion where the constant lurching was becoming too much for Perry in the back … so he got down and walked along the last bit till we got to the halfway point for a break and to switch over …

When the elephants walk their bodies sway alot from side to side … this isn’t too obvious when your looking at them but when you ride them you can really feel it … so you have to grip the sides with your legs alot and learn to roll with them …

However, sometimes they lurch quite suddenly to one side and it feels like your about to slide off … this is more of a problem for the person sat further back on the elephant … cause your legs are spread over a wider part of the elephant …

There is also less to hold onto with just some rope to grasp … additionally you have to be aware of the trees as they love to rub up against them … so need to get your legs out of the way to avoid it being crushed if your elephant decides to go for an itch!

However, if your sat in the front you can comfortably tuck your knees behind the elephants ears and grip onto the head or tops of the ears … overall it is easier to balance this way …

Finally when we came to the end of the trek and I got off the back of the elephant … I was walking around bow legged for a while until it wore off … Perry thought it was rather amusing to watch … the final task for our day was to bathe the elephants we just rode …

So armed with a bucket and brush I waded into the water to get to our elephant … Perry decided that this wasn’t his thing and so stayed behind on dry land to take photos while I went in and had a great time of it … every time I threw water over our elephant she reciprocated repeatedly spraying water at me … she even let me ride her again which was great fun …

After they were all done we headed back to the base camp bit, had showers and changed back into our own clothes, got our stuff together and after a couple of refreshments piled back into the minivan to head back to Chiang Mai …

I would highly recommend this Elephant part as they do look after their elephants really well … they dont force them to do tricks and put on shows like other places do and by allowing tourists to come visit and learn about these magnificent creatures they can raise vital funds to help look after them …

As we approached the city I asked Tom if we could be dropped off near the Sunday Walking Market … which he did … we ended up walking around the part of the market just outside the gates to the Old City which is where the main market begins …

We got a bite to eat and some fruit while in this part and wandered the stalls getting a feel for the type of things being sold and getting a handle on starting prices the stall owners were asking for on items we liked before heading down the main road …

There were plenty of things we saw which we liked the look of but we decided not to get anything initially but to wander as far as we wanted before we bought what we wanted on our way back down the road …

This worked out as a pretty good plan … and it also meant we didn’t have to carry around some of the heavier/bulkier things we wanted to get the whole afternoon/evening …

So we spent ages wandering around stalls speaking to the owners etc … even the temples had set up stalls in the courtyard areas and others had transformed into little food markets with seating areas … Perry picked up a roasted corn on the cob at one …

We carried on going for what felt like ages down the main road occasionally venturing down a side road or the grounds of a temple for a browse … after a few hours we decided to start heading back …

We had continued to snack on little bits of food as we saw them throughout our wandering … if there was something we fancied trying we’d buy it and try it out … only thing I couldn’t bring myself to try were the bugs and creepy crawlies that were on offer …

As we retraced our steps we picked up the items we had initially seen along the way … and having gotten my haggling hat on we managed to bag a few bargains … amongst the numerous bits we picked up we even managed to get a couple toys for the kittens too …

Along the way back we stopped at a row of chairs where outdoor massages were on offer … we had seen a few along our walk around but settled on this one … we both opted for a 30mins back, neck, shoulder, head and arms massage … it was so good … and was just what we needed after the long day we had … I felt really relaxed and not too sore either …

We carried on walking back through the market and came across a number of restaurants whose tables and chairs had spilled out onto the street …

We picked one which we figured would be a safe bet as it was crammed full of locals … and after waiting a few mins for a table we settled down and ordered a few dishes to share with some cold beer to wash it down with …

With full bellies we made our way back through the final section of the market and picked up some final bits … by this time we were both knackered … I hadn’t really noticed until I checked the time but by this point we had been wandering this market for over 5hrs … that coupled with the Elephants this morning … its no wonder we were so tired …

We rang the hotel and arranged for our lift back … and settled down with a cold drink to wait for our ride … Once back at our villa we relaxed for the remainder of the evening not really doing too much … I had a warm bath in the mahoosive tub to help relax my muscles before bed …

The next day was going to be another early start with our Thai cooking class with Noi at Dash!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of our trip …

Till next time …

Mina X

17 thoughts on “Thailand … Chiang Mai … Elephants and Walking Market …

  1. Great post….I quite liked your camera in hand picture while bathing the elephants. That’s being bold with equipment 🙂

  2. What a hoot! Yoboth make elephant riding look easy! Such rich images. Your blog is the next best thing to being there. Thank you as I will never make that trip.
    I hope that the boys are both doing fine. D.

    • Thank you very much … that means alot to me … i am glad you enjoy my photos so much … and believe me its not easy riding an elephant … it hurts your inner legs so much!

  3. I love your pic with blue glasses. and the one of both of you on the elephant. Few very nice ones from both of you. XXXX

      • ur simply aswome ,em ur fan,actually ur the best one , i have ever seen a person like u in my life time, i will say u some places in india to be visited, really u both will love and enjoy.u can go for ooty-that is the queen of hills,kodikanal its a hill station and mudumalai-its a dense forest and madhurai- the temple city,munnar- tea town.if yamini i will give my mail id add me as ur friend please facebook: pirudhiviprecious@yahoo.com, yahoo id:is the same same as facebook id.consider me as ur fan of photos and just add me as ur friend.

  4. Pingback: Knitting Expat – Episode 26 – Answering All The Questions … | Knitting Expat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s