Tag Archives: elephants

Top 15 Chiang Mai Activities

Take a night train, sleeper bus or flight and head to Thailand’s second biggest city – Chiang Mai! Surrounded by mountains, most of the city is walkable and squared in by canals so it’s easy to find your way. Take song thaews (trucks) for around 30 baht or haggle for tuktuks. With a cooler climate and fresh air, you definitely should not miss a visit here! I lived here for 2 months and despite the hard work I was doing, I really enjoyed it!

1.Elephants elephants elephants! Head to Hug Elephant Sanctuary and spend the day with these gentle giants, feeding, bathing and observing them. Read here for why you should choose your sanctuary carefully! This is one f my favourite sanctuaries that I’ve been to twice! http://www.hugelephantssanctuary.com/Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Chiang Mai Grand Canyon – not quite as Grand as the U.S version but it’s still pretty sweet! Rain waters have filled up an old quarry and the result is stunning blue water where you can go cliff jumping (if you dare) or just float around on wooden rafts for the afternoon. Take a tuktuk

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

3. Sunday Walking Market…night market…or just any market in Chiang Mai! Quirky, unusual stuff that you don’t normally find in Bangkok or the rest of Thailand!

4. Ziplining – spend the morning whizzing through Chiang Mai’s jungle, over natural scenery and valleys below.

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

5. White water rafting – better in rainy season (May – October), hold on tight to your dinghy while sweeping down rapids and admire monkeys and elephants on the river banks on the gentler river swirls

6. Tubing – Vang Vieng it isn’t but plonk yourself into a rubber tube, attach yourself to your mates and, more importantly, the tube with the ice bucket full of beers and float your worries away down the Ping river – watch out for the occasional nibbling fish!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

7. Day trip to Doi Inthanon – the highest point in Thailand and the foothills of the Himalayas, stopping at a few waterfalls on the way!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

8. Day trip to Chiang Rai and the white temple – one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand! Stunning on the outside and just plain weird on the inside!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

9. Eat Khao Soy – my favourite Thai dish. Think yellow curry with egg noodles, crispy noodles and a chicken drumstick.

10. Visit Street Pizza – it’s true, you can eat too many noodles. Check out this restaurant that I personally claim to be the BEST pizza in Thailand!

11. Try a cooking course – even if, like me, you prefer eating to cooking, this is still a fun way to spend the day and you get to eat a lot too!

12. Brunch at Chiang Mai Breakfast World – amazing European bread, cheese, cold cuts of meat…not cheap but worth the investment!

13. Party at Zoe in Yellow area with the dirty backpackers! Be warned, most bars close by midnight. It’s an army thing.

14. Celebrate Songkran – Thai New Year from April 13-16th with a massive city-wide waterfight! I’m talking water guns, pistols, ice buckets, hoses, a Buddha procession that comes down from the hills and being solidly wet for three days. The most fun you will ever have in a Hawaiian shirt! Chiang Mai is arguably the best place to celebrate and party and a lovely mixture of tourists and locals!

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

15. Celebrate Yi-peng and Loy Kratong in November in Chiang Mai – one of the best places! Watch thousands of floating lanterns wind their way up into the sky for hours like something from a magical Disney movie.

 

Chiang Mai Activities Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to get to Chiang Mai from Bangkok:

For getting to Chiang Mai by night bus or night train, book via this website for great discounts on multiple bookings or tickets.

Or if you prefer flying, compare prices using skyscanner here

 

 

Ethical Elephant Experience in Thailand

Hot Water for Elephants

Riding an elephant in Thailand on your bucket list? Re-think your list.

I like to think that any tourist planning to visit South East Asia and interact with animals would do some research into the type of establishment they are participating in and giving money too. Unfortunately the high number of tourists who ride elephants and visit tiger temples in Thailand every year suggests otherwise.

elephants Thailand
Feeding the ellies some sugarcane at Hug Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Making a Difference

I would love to see tourists taking responsibility for their actions. In the Western world, we are so lucky that we have the money and often the time to travel to places like South East Asia. When I first visited Thailand, I could find only TWO elephant sanctuaries that did not offer rides. Four years later there has been a burst in ‘no riding’ sanctuaries in Chiang Mai and it is thanks to the tourists who drive the demand for this. If there is no demand for elephant riding, then local Thai people will be encouraged to use their elephants in alternative tourist settings such as feeding and bathing with them.

Elephant Abuse

Elephants are not made to carry items on their backs. The metal racks placed upon them during tourist rides does lasting damage and deforms the elephant’s back. Working elephants are subject to cruel and abusive ways of taming them known as ‘the crush’ in which elephants are tied up for days or weeks and violently abused until they will comply with the abusers’ commands. Many elephants are trained from an extremely young age which includes being separated from their mothers. Elephants are often blinded on purpose, as a blind elephant is that much easier to control. Large metal hooks are driven into wounds to force the elephant to turn left and right. The skin around the tusks is often hacked at in order to sell as much of the tusk as possible on the ivory black market.

The Future

Ideally these elephants would be rehabilitated and released into the wild. Unfortunately in Thailand this is often not possible, either the elephants rampage local farms, are too dependent on humans. or there is simply not enough jungle to realise them back into. Luckily Thai locals have set up sanctuaries such as Elephant Nature Park and Hug Elephant Sanctuary (two that I’ve personally visited!) to protect them, work with them and boost local tourism using them.

So here’s to the Thais and the tourists, changing the fate of elephants in Thailand little by little…

Links to sanctuaries visited:

Thailand: http://www.hugelephantssanctuary.com/

Thailand: https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/

Cambodia: http://www.elephantvalleyproject.org/

Even better yet – head to Khao Yai National Park and see elephants in the wild!

Heading up to Chiang Mai for your elephant sanctuary? Book your tickets here? The more tickets and trips you book, the cheaper it gets!

What are your elephant experiences? Any other ethical places to recommend?

Thailand: Top 10 Adventures and Activities!

Visiting Thailand? Here are the top 10 adventures and activities that you can do here, written by someone who lives here! Thailand has so much to offer, especially when you dig a little deeper than just the beach parties and Khao San Road in Bangkok!

1. Visit an Elephant Sanctuary. One that rescues elephants and offers no riding! (Hug Elephant Sanctuary I strongly recommend!) Read more here about why you shouldn’t ride elephants and how you can support ethical animal placesReasons to visit Thailand

2. Go to the jungle – Khao Yao National Park is one of my favourite places to visit for activities and adventures like hiking, jungle treks, camping and wildlife spotting. Read more here about Khao Yai and other places near to Bangkok to visit

activities and adventures Thailand
I was lucky enough to spot three wild elephants in Khao Yai National Park. This was an alone adult male.

Or if you want to venture slightly off the beaten track then read my post here about the activities you can do in Thailand’s amazing National Parks

3. Party on a paradise island like Koh Phi Phi or if timings work out head to Koh Phangan for the world famous Full Moon Party…read here for advice for the Full Moon… I should know I’ve been to 5!

adventures activities Thailand
Enjoy beautiful beaches in Koh Lipe

4. Visit a Bangkok skybar, avoid the incredibly expensive Lebua Sirocco Tower and head to Vertigo or Octave instead. Just as impressive a view and (slightly) more purse friendly.

activities and adventures Thailand

 

5. Go market shopping at Chatachak Weekend market. It’s open Saturday and Sunday and has probably everything you will ever need to buy in your life. Haggle with a smile and be open to getting lost in the middle (items tend to be cheaper there than around the road on the outside).

6. Activities to have to include visiting at least one Buddhist temple. In Bangkok, I love Wat Pho with it’s huge golden reclining Buddha and colourful stupas. Read here for more Bangkok adventures and activities (I live here!) or if you are heading to Northern Thailand like Chiang Mai then do not miss the White Temple in Chiang Rai, it’s a stunning sight to see.

adventures activities Thailand
White Temple in Chiang Rai

7. Eat Thai food. Street food, mango smoothies, desserts, the list goes on. Be adventurous and try some new dishes, sometimes in pays off

adventures activities Thailand
Just not when you’re drunkenly trying scorpions on Khao San Road in Bangkok…

8. Snorkelling Trips are an absolute must do activity. The coral and the fish are worth seeing in all their colours and they trips are great value for money, often full days including a pretty island spot for lunch too. Beware that national park fees will be added in some places so check when you book the tour.

adventures activities Thailand
Snorkelling in Koh Chang

9. Try scuba diving for the first time. Koh Tao, while not the beauty that it once was for diving, is still one of the cheapest places in the world to get qualified as an Open Water diver with PADI or SSI. Be warned, once you start you will be spending all your money on diving around the world in the future. If you’re already qualified or keen to do more then read about the best dive spots in Thailand here

adventures activities Thailand
Dive around tropical coral reefs

10. Get exploring Thailand by island hopping around 100s of islands. Take ferries or kayaks and enjoy anything from party islands to tranquil and deserted spots all around Thailand’s coastline. For (almost) all island summaries check out my blog post on Thailand’s Best Islands here. 

adventures activities Thailand
Beaches on Koh Phangan
Top 3 Things to Enjoy your Adventures and Activities in Thailand
      1. GoPro HERO4 BLACK Never miss a moment above or under the water with a Gopro. I’m obsessed with mine and love the results it produces, particularly diving and snorkelling shots
      2. A bag like this Dry Bag (Green, 5L) to keep all your valuables dry on boats and in monsoon season. Also it generally keeps things sand free too!
      3.  Don’t forget your mosquito spray. I’ve yet to find strong repellent in Thailand so recommend buying in advanvce from somewhere like Amazon Repel 40-Percent DEET

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