Thailand: Chiang Mai
As a lot of you may know from social media, I have the giant blessing of traveling the world, (well South East Asia for now) I'm going to be traveling from May 31st until Mid July and then onward to real life in Texas. Im traveling with my husband and my in laws, when I say in laws I mean his dad, his dads girlfriend and his mom. Don't ask, they are just a very friendly bunch (haha). We will be with them until Cambodia, then it's just his mom in Cambodia, then we go to India and meet up with my sister and her husband to adventure in India together! After that we go to New York for a week and a half and then Portland for a week. I'm SO excited because this is my first real international experience other than Colombia, which to me doesn't count since I was born there and Mexico which kind of doesn't count because it was in Cancun where there were more Americans than Mexicans!
Anyways enough back story. We are traveling for this month internationally with just one backpacking backpack. It's day 5 and I have already worn all of my shirts because NEWSFLASH: IT IS SO HUMID HERE. I thought I knew humid, then I took a shower here and never dried off, try getting a dry swimsuit onto your wet body.... anyway later on I'll write a post on how to pack light and essentials for a trip where you still want to look kind of cute but not check 5 backs across the world.
We first flew into Doha, Qatar which was amazing! This is a NON sponsored plug for Qatar airways: they are amazing, we got the most amazing food on board and all the accommodations you could imagine and we were just flying coach! The staff was amazing and the flight attendants catered to all of our needs (including giving me an extra Coke because you know, necessities). After a short stay in the Doha airport the real fun began. Like I said before I was born in Colombia so I have a Colombian Passport, well we took the precautions we thought we needed and called the embassy before hand about all layovers in different countries. Turns out the person we talked to misunderstood our itinerary and when we got to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia we found out that in order to get to our other flight we needed to take a public bus to KLIA 2 which is a separate wing of the Kuala Lumpur International airport. A public bus meant entering the city which you need a visa for if you're not a native Malaysian or an American Citizen. I am SO PROUD to be Colombian but if I have ever hated my nationality, it was in that very moment. Long story short immigration refused to speak to the Colombian consulate and we ended up having to buy all new tickets that departed from KLIA 1 into Thailand. But we made it, and that's all that matters right? I'm not upset AT all that we wasted 10 extra hours and hundreds of dollars!
Chiang Mai was a short stay but it was so so fun! I truly think that we did the best things to do in Chiang Mai and we did them in 3 days so those of you that think a short vacation wouldn't be worth it DO IT! Find some cheap tickets and go to a different country you won't regret it! In a future post I'll link all the things we did and give you a more attainable itinerary. Here's an over view of what we did.
we met up with my father in law and his girlfriend and they are so sweet and fun to travel with, they'd been in Vietnam before we got here so they had acclimated to the time difference but to be considerate of us they didn't plan anything for that day so we kind of moseyed around in the morning and then asked a truck driver (my FIL kept calling them Shlongs but I'm almost 100% sure
that's not what they are lol!) if he could take us to the sticky falls which are about an hour away from where we stayed we got all 4 of us to sticky falls and back for 1200 Baht (that's like 35 bucks!!) it was so fun we kind of hiked around, got in the falls read about the history of the falls and then went back to the city. We still weren't feeling too jet lagged so we decided to book a Thai cooking class and let me just say BEST CHOICE EVER!!!! I truly think it's the funnest thing I've ever done on vacation. I was literally falling asleep during the class because when that jet lag did hit IT HIT HARD MY FRIENDS. I was falling asleep standing up at 6 pm! Anyway the lady who does the cooking class takes you to a market in her village and then back to her home to cook, she has all the little stations set up for you and walks you through a detailed process, we made Pad Thai, Curry, Soup, and Sticky Rice with mango. A lot of the other classes are kind of commercialized but hers felt so private and personal it was amazing. It's called Bhum Thai Cookery school
10/10 recommend Thai cooking class. That night we went home and seriously crashed HARD.
The next day was the day we'd all been waiting for... THE ELEPHANTS! We are all animal lovers in our group so we were all kind of apprehensive about seeing elephants while on vacation. We asked the man who owns the house we were staying in if he knew of any legit sanctuaries where we could go he said there were a lot of places that professed to be sanctuaries but were not, so he suggested to one of which was the elephant jungle sanctuary where we ended up booking. It was such an amazing day we got to feed the elephant's, walk around with them, bathe them, pet them rub them down with mud, and eat some delicious food ourselves. It was about 50$ each and I would definitely recommend this to anyone going to Chiang Mai, at the very least just don't ride the elephants. Some bare back riding is okay but the riding and drawing and plating soccer comes at a great cost to these magnificent animals, human demand has made it so they're taken from their packs at an early age, tied up, beaten and prodded with hooks. When they are ridden with cages and seats on their backs their vertebrae can be fractured and even break and they have to work through the damage and pain. Elephants eat practically all day and when they are parading humans around and being forced to juggle or paint they don't get to eat or drink for up to 10 hours. I'm done ranting but PLEASE don't ride the elephants, a lot of people will tell you a lot of things but if you ever feel guilty or sad or concerned, follow your intuition. We left in the early afternoon on Sunday but still got to explore a little in the morning, Chiang Mai is a very charming city, the locals are wonderful, accommodating and kind.
I'm so thankful to my Father in law and his girlfriend for being so gracious and loving and fun to travel with. I am also so so thankful to my husband and for his desire to travel with me. If you know them you love them!
See you all in the Thailand Island Update!!