Day 2 of our Chiang-Mai trip was full of excitement. We booked a tour that included Elephant trekking, visits to the indiginous tribes, and bamboo rafting. We took a 1 hour bus ride to an elephant camp where you can ride on elephants through a small jungle. As much as I do feel sad for the environment that these elephants are living in, riding on one is something you have to do when in Thailand. Upon seeing the elephants for the first time I realized how big they actually were and I was a little nervous to get on. The tour guide talked about the elephants and we fed them some bananas. Then we climbed up on the scaffolding and boarded the elephants. We thought the bus ride was bumpy, but nothing could compare to sitting on top of the elephants back. I sat on a chair that was strapped to the back of the elephant with my friend Toni.
We had a Thai man sitting on the elephant’s neck steering him. Before we even left the starting point our guide jumped off the elephant and we were left sitting on the moving animal scared to death while everyone else went ahead. When the guide came back the elephant had to bend down for him to climb up and we were screaming and hanging on for dear life. I found out later that these Thai people love to give the tourists a little thrill. They get a lot of entertainment from watching us scream. So we ambled our way up the mountain side on elephants which was a great exprience. Towards the end I switched places with the guide and was actually able to sit on the elephant’s neck. It was scary but so cool to feel such a massive animal moving and breathing underneath you.
After the elephant trekking we went on a hike to see some of the indiginous village people. They live in small huts and sell many handmade crafts. We weren’t able to see the authentic long-neck tribe because they are much farther away, but we got a good taste of Thai life. We stopped to eat some Thai food and made our way to bamboo rafting. Since the rafts could only hold 4 people, I decided to join another group, which I later became thankful for. Like I said, Thai people love to have a little fun with us. We got on the rafts which are made of 9 thick bamboo chutes and already the guide was splashing us and getting us soaking wet. I was on a raft with a couple from Switzerland and we had some interesting conversations. For the most part my ride was peaceful except for a few rapids and “snake” scares, but unfortunately for my friends, they did not have such a pleasant experience. A couple of the Thai rafters decided to team up and tip over their raft and get them drenched for fun. As I was sailing along I heard piercing screeches from behind coming from my friends. I arrived back first and waited for about 15 minutes before seeing my friends drenched from head to toe walking up the hill. It was all in good fun but I was glad to be on a different raft. We all made back to our hostel safely but just a little damp. Right now everyone is napping and I am sitting here blogging at the hostel so I don’t forget too many details to include 🙂 More to come soon! Next stop…..Koh Chang!