Chiang Mai & Mtns in N Thailand

 

When we gave these kids paper and pencils they immediately fell on the floor and started  drawing.

When we gave these kids paper and pencils they immediately fell on the floor and started drawing.

The highlight of our visit to Chiang Mai was a trip into the Thailand jungle/mountain area nearby. We spent 2 action packed days there. We went bicycling in the through rice paddies, bamboo rafting, playing with and riding elephants, cooking Thai food with local village people at an eco-village, trekking, watching women weave, and visiting a local kindergarten where we played with the kids and gave them paper and pencils which they immediately, hungrily, started using.

The elephants decided to get wetThe most memorable event was spending some time with elephants – riding them and playing with them in the river.  They are amazing creatures, so huge and so gentle.  They eat 300 pounds of food a day!  They are really sweet and appeared to enjoy, or at least not object at all to, our attention. The photo shows how we rode them bareback without any tack. They were kind of scary at first, but we got more used to them during the ride.  The mahouts (elephant minders/trainers) did take good care of them and made sure we were safe. A short video is here. Elephant Interactions 2.7 minutes

Other videos from our experiences on this excursion are below.

While we were in Chiang Mai we visited lots of temples, the royal gardens, and watched the annual Chiang Mai Flower Parade. Video here.  

Most of the Buddhas in Chiang Mai temples are brilliant gold

Most of the Buddhas in Chiang Mai temples are brilliant gold

The temples are all pretty old and impressive. Gold is a predominant color on all the budhhas. Before entering a temple, you have to take your shoes off, and cover shoulders and knees. You can sit down on the floor in the center but you can’t sit in such a way that your toes are pointing to the buddha. You definitely need to stay very quiet. It seems odd, but they don’t mind if you take lots of pictures. In fact we saw monks taking pictures with smart phones and tablets.

Walking a tunnel of light and flowers

Walking a tunnel of light and flowers

Chaotic by day, Chiang Mai is somewhat charming at night. The city has many sparkly colorful lights and there are HUGE street markets. One street market occurs nightly and the vendors line this one street for around 1 km. We wandered one night for the experience. It was a definite overkill of street marketing and knockoff merchandise, but a very popular (crowded) activity. We eventually escaped to a local coffee shop (aka Starbucks!) before heading “home”.

More photos from Chiang Mai are below. Click on one and it will go into slide show mode where you can see full captions.

 

 

 

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