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Time for Thailand

sunny 24 °C

The last few days of our time in Vietnam were some of the best and very action packed. The typhoon wind and waves passed for the most part and we got some sunny skies and steady winds for a change. Natalie had a great last day of lessons and got up on the board so we can officially call her a kitesurfer and I had a long day of excellent riding. Originally our plan had been to get the afternoon bus to Saigon on Wednesday, stay overnight in the city and then head to the airport early Thursday morning. When we saw the forecast we made some changes to our plan so that we could be in the water all day and take a bus at 1:30am, arriving in Saigon around 6:30am.

It turned into a long day of travel as we went from the bus to the airport and grabbed a flight to Bangkok and then after a long layover we headed north to Chiang Mai. After a short taxi ride we arrived at our hotel in the evening after an 18 hour trip. We have only done a little homework for this area but we really want to see some elephants, try some cooking and see some muay thai boxing. It is a bit tricky this time of year as a few other people seem to be on vacation, but it still seems to be working out okay. We wandered around a little bit last night, finding some great food and we found the arena for tomorrow night's "saturday night fights," a couple of french guys are in town taking a shot at the local boys title's.

Today was an amazing one, we were picked up early by the elephant farm and taken an hour out of the town to a place called Baan Chang Elephant Farm. They have 29 elephants they have saved, mostly from illegal logging camps near Burma or illegal street beggars in big cities. The morning was spent feeding the elephants and learning the basic commands we would need for our afternoon ride in the jungle. We took a short break for an amazing lunch and then it was time to go for a ride. Somehow I was put on the two year old little trouble maker that was always hungry so usually heading into the bamboo instead of walking on the trail. Nat climbed on one of the full grown elephants and looked a little uncomfortable to say the least. It probably had to do with the fact that there are no stirrups or straps of any sort to hold on to and the trail was winding up and down the hillsides. We switched halfway through the ride and we were both a little more comfortable as we rode back home and into the pond for bath time. Riding an elephant may not be super comfortable, but going for a swim with one is definitely a lifetime highlight. The older ones were rolling and splashing around while we scrubbed and rinsed them while the youngest one had a blast squirting everyone with with water from her trunk.

Great times had by all, back in Chiang Mai now, making plans for our cooking course tomorrow and then heading to the big night market on the other side of town for some serious street food.

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Posted by colincampbell 04:26 Archived in Thailand

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Happy New Year! Love the elephant pics!

by michael sherman

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