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The Saga of Heather's Travels ... the story of a dream come true

Chiang Mai

THAILAND | Thursday, 24 September 2009 | Views [355]

I am just loving Chiang Mai, it is such a clean pretty city, and there is heaps to do and see. I had 2 goals when coming here, to see the baby panda and to ride an elephant again. I am pleased to report that I have achieved both of those goals well and truly. I visited Chiang Mai zoo on tuesday, and was thrilled to spend some time watching the panda family, they are such beautiful creatures, and it is the first time I have actually seen them, I got such a thrill from it. As I was there, thought that I may as well see the other animals, even though I am not a great fan of seeing animals in captivity, but, as far as zoos go, I was impressed. The cats all had pretty good sized spaces and looked ok, except the orange tigers (as opposed to the white ones) they were pacing back and forward and didn't look too happy. Overall it was a great day, made especially by the pandas! Then yesterday, I went on an awesome day trip that started with an hours elephant trek in the jungle (please see the photos) I was able to swap cameras with the couple on the next elephant, so we could each get good photos of ouselves, it was a great idea, and I love all the photos. It was a very special time for me as I have a great love and affinity with elephants, and was close to tears of joy alot of the time! After we left the elephants, we were taken to a genuine mountain tribe village to watch the women weaving, (Katie you would have loved!) It was so interesting, and they were such gracious beautiful people, and here we were invading their space totally. They didn't seem to mind, and didn't even push their wares, though I did buy a beautiful woven scarf. Our guide gave us a very interesting run down of their culture, not Thai people he says, but a race of their own. Very primitive living conditions, no electricity, a water tap in the middle of village. But they seemed happy and healthy, I guess the visitors coming through bring some much needed income. Then we went on for a very pretty walk through the bush to end up at a most magnificent waterfall, the other 2 in my group went swimming, but I decided against as rocks were so very slippery, and I didn't fancy being carried out with a broken leg!! I enjoyed the scenery, it was stunning, and was able to be chief photographer for the others under the waterfall. Following the walk back to the car, we went on to a wee restaurant, way out in the country, just an open shack really, Thai style, where we had probably the best meal I've had since being in thailand, soup, and stirfried veges and fresh fruit, it was nourishing and delicious. Next on the days agenda was a rafting trip down the river. I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this, but it was awesome fun! The raft is just made of 10 large bamboo poles strung together - not sealed or waterproof at all, just floats by the buoyancy of the bamboo. You had to sit flat on it, so consequently got very wet straight away. The cheeky young thai boy "driving" stood at the fromt with another long bamboo pole which he used as a punt, and did his best to rock the whole thing as much as possible, and to steer through the fastest part of every rapid, It was about an hours trip and at the end I was soaked through, but loved it, and had bought a spare set of clothes. It was another adventure in an adventure filled day. I think I will be staying here in Chiang Mai for a while, I really like it, there is heaps to do, and it is much cheaper to live and get around than further south, and especially than Bangkok. I look forward to reporting more adventures, please see the photos as they can describe the day better than I can!

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