Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 735 : Day 2 in and around Chiang Mai

After a lovely evening in the Old City, a restful sleep and a great workout, I got in a minivan to head out of town for the morning -- a stop into a Butterfly Farm along with an Orchid Farm then a visit to one of many elephant camps in the region, this one was known as Maesa and is home to 71 elephants. The elephants and their trainers reside in these camps and are therefore protected from other animals who could harm them since as the indigenous tigers and cobra snakes, according to our barely English speaking tour guide. At the elephant camp you could feed the elephants bananas and sugar cane which apparently they eat 300 kilos a day of; watch them take a bath in the small river/stream on the property; and then watch their "show." The "show" included all of the skills that the elephants learn over the course of at least five years of training -- playing the harmonica, kicking a soccer ball, dunking a basketball, and most impressive in my mind painting a painting by utilizing a paint brush. Since today is Valentine's Day, one of the elephants even painted the profile of two elephants with a heart in between them. A truly amazing experience that feels totally removed from the hustle and bustle of daily New York City life that's for sure. En route back, we stopped at Tiger Kingdom where you could pet and get to experience tigers in their natural habitat -- these were not the sort of tigers that would bite your head off, oh no, these were the sort of tigers who would let you pet them and allow you to enjoy their company, only in Thailand, right? Should you feel the desire, you could also stop into the crocodile farm or the cobra snake farm among many others. Yes there was a sense of these being touristy but a must-see off the beaten path and boy am I glad I had the opportunity to experience it.

Back in the Old City, I figured I had the time for one more Thai Massage and at $6 for an hour, why not right? Followed by lunch at one of the vegetarian cafes and some relaxing time by the pool with live Thai guitar, it was a great way to end the trip and to begin my trip back home soon.

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