My trip to Chiang Mai has been extraordinary.
After arriving in Bangkok, this was my first destination. I spent time with my Aunt and her friend and lived just outside of the main city center. We spoiled ourselves with nice hotels with pools, massages, and good food. We visited the Doi Suthep temples and got around on a Songthaew (a red chartered bus for 20 bhat that are in plenty along the main roads).
When my Aunt had to make her way back home to Chiang Rai, I decided to stay in Chiang Mai for the Lantern Festival. So I packed my bags and moved into a hostel. This was my first hostel experience and it was amazing! I was living in the heart of the city which made getting around very easy. I roomed with several females who were all extremely nice. One of my roomies has taken a Thai massage course and wanted a body to practice on, so I happily accepted!
I signed up for fun events like cooking classes, elephant rides, trekking in the forest, bamboo rafting, and visiting temples in the hills. I have to admit that the elephant trek was fun but I felt bad for the elephants. After spending an entire week at the Elephant Nature Park I have a new appreciation for conserving the health and well-being of elephants and regret going on the elephant ride. See here to read about “Why I Regret Riding an Elephant”.
The lantern festival happening this weekend is the biggest of the year. Everyone buys paper lanterns to light and send up into the air… but of course you need to make a wish before hand. There are also candles that float in the river, which you can purchase. The arrangement can be made from flowers, palm leaves, fruit, bread, wax, and even ice cream cones.
I will be posting my experience volunteering with the Elephant Nature Park on their “Journey to Freedom”. The project helped to re-introduce elephants back into their natural habitats and will be living with the local tribes in the mountains. This was an incredible experience so stay tuned.
Thanks for reading and happy travels,