We arrived in Chiang Mai on the sleeper train and I have to admit, as our travels have progressed so have the sleeper trains in regards to their standards. The Bangkok to Chiang Mai train has bigger beds which are turned into seats. Amazing (it is all about the small things)! However they do keep the the lights on ALL night (you do have a curtain which blocks it a bit) but that's fine I have my trusty eye mask. No wait... I left it on the last sleeper train in China, I actually wanted to cry when I realised.
We spent 3 days in Chiang Mai which we worked out clearly wasn't enough. There is so much to do and it is such an incredible place to stay.
I'm sorry but I am going to show you a picture of my incredible breakfast, as it was just purely amazing. Fresh fruit (melons, dragon fruit, pineapple and more) covered in homemade natural yoghurt and homemade muesli; it was literally the best!
We spent the 1st day exploring the old town and the night market in the evening.
On the following day, we decided to book ourselves on to an elephant training camp for the day. The camp we had originally wanted to go for was fully booked; so we took the risk and booked ourselves on to a new starting up program. It was the best decision we have made so far on this trip.
We began our day by dressing in local dress and meeting the elephants. I have learnt that elephants LOVE bananas and eat vast quantities of them everyday. We were taught the local commands (in Thai) which were needed whilst bare back riding the elephants. We then rode the elephants up the hill to the first point. At one point I was left carrying 4 large bunches of bananas and, as you can imagine, I was bombarded by hungry elephants.
We then stopped for lunch and were taught how to make medicine for the elephants to help aid their digestive system (as they not only will eat the bananas but will happily eat the plastic bag they are put in too). It was made of 4 simply ingredients; salt, bananas (obviously), dry rice and tamarin. It was a messy business making the medicine and didn't smell the greatest either. We formed large fist shape balls and left them in the sun to dry out.
Then we helped cut down sugarcane for the elephants; due to it being the dry season, food becomes scarce for the animals so all the help was needed to collect the 550kg of food each elephant eats per day. I have to admit I wasn't the greatest at this part of the training (blaming the weak arms) but we were able to feed the elephants the food we had collected.
(Will finish the blog on a separate post otherwise it will never upload!)