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Unusual Kisses

THAILAND | Wednesday, 25 December 2013 | Views [1163]

Chiang Mai is a large city with a lot of attractions for both tourist and locals. There is far too much to do in one day, but if you plan it right, you can hit a bunch of sites in small areas of the city. We got up today with our goal to go to the west end of Chiang Mai that has the zoo and the most famous temple in Northern Thailand, DoiSuthep.


Our first stop would be the zoo, which is located about 4 kilometres north-west of our hotel. Tim's plan was to walk about a kilometre to the main road heading to the zoo; but as-soon-as we hit the road he flagged down the first red truck and negotiated a price (50 baht each) for one way to the zoo. After all the walking yesterday, we were both happy to let someone else do the work for a change. There was a lot of walking ahead of us today.

 The Zoo

We got to the zoo in about 15 minutes and were dropped off in the VIP area, nice. The zoo has many up-sale options including seeing pandas, an aquarium, bus, and a sky train. We opted for the basic package allowing us entry for 100 baht each ($3). We were provided a map and we quickly devised a plan.


Our first stop was the African exhibit which allowed for feeding of the osterages and giraffes. Tim saw a lady feeding a giraffe a banana from her mouth. It looked like a great photo opportunity, not to mention a lot of fun (at least for the one watching). He purchased some bananas for 10 baht (.33 cents) and I gave it a go. First I would like to say giraffes smell bad, have big tongs, they drool a lot and they are not very good kissers. It was a lot of fun though; Tim certainly got a good laugh, missed a couple pictures because of the tears in his eyes.



After some hand sanitizer and a towel for my face, we headed down the road a short distance and saw and elephant on display. It was probably the most interested elephant we had ever seen at a zoo and when we got closer and noticed you could feed it, we understood why. The elephant was a beauty! She was large but very gentle, taking the sugarcane (20 baht – 66 cents) from me, eating it and quickly offering her trunk for another piece. It was a very interactive way to view elephants up and close.


Moving along we passed many normal zoo exhibits, and visited the gift shops along the way. Surprisingly, the gift shop was cheaper than some that we had seen on the streets. We picked up a couple bracelets before noticing a sign to feed the big cats.


We started to understand why people would buy a bus or train package, the zoo is quite hilly with a lot of stairs and steep climbs to the viewing areas. The big cat area was our first major hike up the side of a hill and I will admit that the hill made my legs burn (the theme of the day). After reaching the top, we viewed a lion, a tiger before getting to the feeding area. There was a guy sitting in front of the black panther exhibit with what appeared to be fishing rods. One of the panthers was sitting rather close (in a cage of course) apparently waiting to see if we would be so kind as to buy him a snack. I was reluctant at first, but Tim paid the 20 baht and offered me the fishing pole with a chunk of beef on the end. Here kitty kitty!!


Kitty Kitty

Besides the hills, there was a lot of the normal stuff you see at a zoo; we travelled through the reptile exhibits, the plains (deer and ox), and stopped to snap a picture of an orangutang.



The last noteworthy experience at zoo was one of the bird exhibits. As we were walking along, Tim saw a table with what appeared to be a cage with bird feed. The feed, which was actually alive mill worms, were there on an honour system; feed the birds, leave 10 baht. Just standing at the table we were getting swarmed with anticipating birds trying to encourage us to pay the fee. We did and had a great time trying to be fair to get all the birds that amassed for the grubs. A couple were particularly friendly, sitting directly on the cup.

 Chirp Chirp

Doi Suthep is located about 18 kilometres up the a mountain just west of the city. The truck ride up was 40 baht, well worth it, but a nauseating journey for two reasons. The road up the hill has many turns and switch backs to make the climb possible. The truck almost felt like it would topple over as the driver swung around the tight corner; Tim hanging out the back with only a hand rail preventing certain death. Secondly, the fumes from the trucks was so thick, I thought we would end up with carbon monoxide poisoning (particularly on the way down).


At the top of the hill we did some shopping and Tim ate some street meat. After using the nasty toilet facilities we made the couple hundred step climb to the summit; feel the burn. The temple was pretty, costing only 30 baht each to move along through the famous tourist site. We entered one temple and were encouraged to approach the awaiting monk who asked, in good English, where we from. After a short conversation he suggested we could use the good luck and fortune his blessing had to offer. We knelled in front of the sitting man while he chanted and used a bunch of sticks to throw holly water on us. I guess he thought Tim needed extra luck because he got particularly wet. After the blessing, he tied a white string around Tim wrist and instructed me to get one from his assistant (apparently monks can't touch women).


What we did, not us though

The remainder of the evening was spend doing normal life stuff, kinda. We had to do laundry and found a laundry mat along the way back to our hotel. I was grumbling about wasting our time sitting while we on vacation; I had expected us to get laundry service but it cost 40 baht per kilogram (we had about 6 KG) and it would take 2 days! I had wanted to get a massage the day before, but there wasn't enough time in the day, so, Tim suggested we multitask; he could do the laundry and play on his tablet; and I would get an oil massage. Score!

Tags: chiangmai zoo, doi suthep


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