Following on from my blog about Bangkok this was the final leg of the Thailand trip and the final few places we would be staying on this amazing journey across this beautiful country.
When we arrived in Chang Mai almost immediately, everyone noticed the difference in the air with being in Bangkok the air was incredibly polluted. On the other hand, in Chang Mai the air was a lot fresher. In addition, we also noticed that it was a lot cooler; this was a big relief for all of us. It felt very strange however not having everyone in our group. The individuals who caught the flu had to stay an extra night, as they were not well enough to travel.
We then met our next tour Guide Pong who greeted us at the train station and led us to our new bus. We went straight to a temple in the mountains. I preferred this temple so much more than the one in Bangkok as this one was less crowded and was prettier in my opinion. I was overwhelmed with my surroundings I had never seen someone so pretty the buildings were simply glorious. In this temple, however we had to take our shoes off. We then had a little explore where we went into one of the temples where a monk blessed us. This involved kneeling down and putting our hands together whilst bowing our head. The monk then flicked water at our heads whilst saying some words in Thai.
I found this experience very interesting I also learnt that the Buddha has a different pose for each day of the week. Our entire group worked out which day they were born and we had a photo with each one of us doing the pose for the day in which they were born. I found this very interesting, as I had no idea that the Buddha had different poses for the days of the week.
After visiting the temples in Chang Mai, we went back to our hotel to chill out for the rest of the day. The following day we left central Chang Mai and headed for the hills where we would be staying in a Hmong tripe lodge. Before arriving at the lodge however we stopped by at a tea plantation where we got to pick our own tea leaves and make our own tea. I found this so cool and interesting. We also learnt that each leaves on the tea plant made different tea. For example, the top leaves made black tea the middle leaves made green tea and the bottom leaves made white tea, which apparently is the most expensive type of tea.
When we arrived at the lodge, a feeling of sadness came upon me, as we did not have every member of the group with us due to them falling ill in Bangkok. The surroundings were just out of this world, so beautiful. The rest of the group arrived a bit later just in time for the BBQ in the evening. The BBQ was so lovely the nicest meal so far throughout the holiday. During the BBQ there was some Homing dancing. This was interesting to see as the difference between the dancing that we do in the UK compared with what the homing tripe dancer’s dance was very different they do many arm movements very elegantly and sing traditional Thai songs.
After this, we went to the bar where we ended up taking it over for the evening. We put on some music with the speakers that we had, just danced, and had a good time. In some ways it felt like I’m a celebrity get me out of here, where the two camps where separated and then reunited. The whole evening was just great fun, we were in our element, the people that I were with where so much fun and were always up for a laugh. The following day everyone was preparing for a 3-hour hike through the hills up to a local farm where we would learn how to make rice. I did not fancy this, as I knew that I would struggle with both the heat and the terrain. Therefore, a few others and I stayed at the lodge for a chill out day. It was nice just to have a chill out day after having done at least one activity every day, I had not had the time to just lay by the pool and do nothing for a while.
After the others had come back from the walk we settled down to dinner, again this was a lovely BBQ, which the lodge made. It was a buffet so we were able to go up to get food as many times as we wanted.
The following day we were due to leave the lodge and head back to the first hotel we stayed in for our final 2 nights in Thailand. The following day along with the school students back in Pattaya it had to be the highlight of the whole trip. This was the elephants at the elephant sanctuary. On the journey to the sanctuary, I could not help but be over excited. This was one of my dreams to be up close to elephants to feed them and bathe them. It was such an amazing experience. The sanctuary themselves have rescued these elephants from poachers and their ultimate aim was to eventually release these elephants back into the wild.
Seeing these amazing creatures in the flesh was simply amazing my dream had come true. The way that they move and walk is so wonderful, their great big trunk picking up pieces of banana when we fed them I was on cloud 9 for every minute of it.
After we had spent time with the elephants we headed back to the hotel, I still could not believe that I had spent time with these wonderful creatures. For it to go from something I had dreamed of to reality was simply amazing and life changing.
For our final meal in Chang Mai, we went to a Thai restaurant by the river in Chang Mai. I ordered Chicken Satay and Pad Thai, It tasted delicious, so much flavour. Before, I came to Thailand I wasn’t sure about Thai food having tasted it out here I have to say it is one of my favourite types of food along with Indian and Italian.
The following day we said goodbye to pong who has been a great asset to our group, so funny as well. We then headed to Chang Mai Airport where we had to catch flight 1 of 3. 23 hours of travelling. It was worth it though for what I have experienced out here and meeting the students in the school for the blind in Pattaya and to meeting the elephants. The trip has really done me the world of good it has made me see how lucky we are, as a country with what we have for example having the NHS and free health care.
Overall the trip has been life changing I have become closer with some members of the group and made many new friends. Having had this experience it has really opened my eyes to what the world has to offer. I would love to do more travelling like this again with a group of people who share the same dream as me wanting to go travelling and to see the world. Before this trip travelling had crossed my mind but I had not seriously thought about it beforehand now I know what I want to do, I want to see the world.
Hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures in Thailand because I certainly enjoyed writing about it.