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We spent our last full day in Chang Mai in the absolute best possible way. We went to a beautiful elephant sanctuary called, The Elephant Home. If you come to Chang Mai, visiting this extraordinary place is an absolute must. A driver from The Elephant Home will pick you up at your hotel and take you the hour drive to spend the day learning and literally playing with, the elephants. When you arrive, they give you clothing to change into [alert, alert, you will be getting muddy!] and a shoulder bag to carry your belongings. We would recommend bringing water shoes with a thick sole or flip flops that you don’t mind getting dirty. The staff gives you instructions on simple commands that will come in handy when you ride the elephants. Each rider and elephant has a guide that stays along side of you in case there are any issues – like your elephant wants to stop and eat the banana leaves a little too long [LOL].
 
Once the instructions were given, we were off to meet and greet our elephants and bribe them to like us with sticks of sugar cane. Each elephant eats approximately 10% of its body weight per day. With the average weight of an Asian elephant being 4.4 tons, you can imagine how much vegetation and the expense of maintaining the animals in good stead. An easy way to make friends with the elephant is to feed it, and that is exactly what each of us did with our chosen elephant. My elephant’s name was Ruby and she was so incredibly sweet and docile. She picked flowers and put them on her head with her trunk for me. It was love at first sight.
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Once we had sufficiently bribed the elephants for their love, the guides showed us how to command the elephant to lay down so we could climb aboard. The ride was approximately 6 Kms to our lunch spot. We passed over a river and up the side of a mountainous area [it was a little disconcerting to look down off the cliff and hope that Ruby wouldn’t get distracted by the latest plant food!] to an elephant watering hole created beneath a place to have our lunch. Lunch was unbelievable – Pad Thai wrapped in a banana leaf and fresh fruit as a compliment. When lunch was over, we got into the watering hole with Ruby who gave us each kisses and then let us give her a mud rub down. She received a royal spa treatment and so did each of us – we covered our faces in the spa-like mud as well. Once we were finished in the watering hole, we boarded the elephants again until we got to the river.
 
The river was where I had the most fun. We jumped in to the river and washed the mud off of our faces and the elephants laid down on their sides for us to wash them and give them a rub down. They played with us as well, filling their trunks with water and showering us with it. They were so playful and cute.
When you return to base camp, they give you a towel and a T Shirt from the camp as a souvenir. They have showers there and areas to change. Once we were cleaned up, we went out to the main area where they had a table with fresh fruit and water.
 
There were two photographers with us the entire day and part of your price of admission is a CD at the end of the journey with all of the pictures of the day. The driver is waiting to take you back to your hotel. I am telling you – this experience was so well done, so professional and one of the best experiences in travel I have ever had.
 
Once back to our hotel, we had booked a Thai massage with xxxxx, one of the high end spas in Chang Mai. When you enter, they give you hot tea and cold towels to let you settle in. The Thai therapists that perform your massage then wash your feet with water filled with herbs and orchids. We then went upstairs to the massage room where you change into traditional Thai clothing. This particular Thai massage method used more stretching and movement techniques. I felt wonderful when it was finished as they led us downstairs for more tea and nut and honey cakes.
 
We called an Uber – yes Uber – and went onto the Night Bazaar of Chang Mai, more than entire city block full of crafts, clothing and local art. Of particular importance are the charcoal drawings in the downstairs area. If you bring a picture of something you want them to draw in charcoal, the artist does a remarkable job of making the image look as realistic as a photograph. After wandering through the night market, we headed back to the hotel. It was a full day in Chang Mai. Tomorrow, we head over to the xxx market to shop for our cooking class to be held at xxx. After that, we are off to the airport to head to Laos. Talk to you tomorrow…. FK

By |2017-03-02T23:46:19+00:00February 28th, 2017|News|0 Comments

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