Photo by Chris Arthur-Collins

This trip was taken a while ago… and by I mean a while ago, I mean May 2018. The perfectionist in me wants to chronologically document all the trips I’ve taken so far with my now husband, Dustin, even if it will take me years to do so as we’ve travelled a lot together since.

Chiang Mai is one of my favourite places in Asia. I first went back in 2015 while having a growth period in my mid 20’s and had discovered the joy of yoga and meditation. Since then, I’ve had a strange spiritual connection to the place and went back again in 2017. This meant I couldn’t wait to go back for a third time and show Dustin how creative and relaxing the place is.

We stayed at Pingviman Hotel on the south west side of the Old Town, which was a perfect location in relation to places to eat and markets that pop-up over the weekend. Our first day was spent lazily exploring while battling the heat, and cooling off by the pool with a couple of Chang beers.

The following day, we’d arranged a tour at The Elephant Nature Park in Northern Chiang Mai. I’d read articles around certain elephant parks advertised to tourists as being legitimate tours but actually treating the animals unfairly, so I wanted to do the research and make sure I was spending money on a place that properly looks after the animals.

The park is absolutely huge so shares land with neighbouring elephant tours – some nice and others not so nice (such as riding on the elephants). We chose ENP because you don’t ride the elephants, just feed and bathe them. While the elephants have handlers, they aren’t mis-treated in any way, shape, or form. They also have a dog rescue program and their work is mostly volunteer-based.

We chose ‘Pamper a Pachyderm‘ which involves preparing fruit, walking with the elephants while feeding them in the mountains, a light vegetarian lunch, bathing the elephants, then taking a river raft ride down to the main area of the park, ending with a short tour and a much needed shower. This truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially bathing them in the river. The animals are huge, but so gentle and sensitive.

Our last day was spent enjoying the culinary delights of Thailand. A dish native to northern Thailand is Khao Soi, an egg noodle dish served with coconut curry, meat and crispy noodles on top. I typically chose mine with northern thai sausage which can be found at most markets. Also, you can’t visit Thailand without having a good local thai iced tea – especially refreshing during the heat of the day when you’re running out of fuel.

This isn’t the last I’ve seen of Chiang Mai. We’re currently planning a trip over New Year’s, so expect a post about it in 2021!