Everybody has heard the stories about trains in Thailand. Some are positive and some are your worst nightmerries. We woke up early to catch the 8.30 a.m. train. All the night trains were fully booked because of the high season so we had no other choice. A very stressful taxi ride later (traffic jams in Bangkok are mental!), we were dropped off at the train station.
After obsessing about how the hell we were going to survive 12 hours in a Thai train, hoping
chickens, pigs and goats pets weren’t allowed on board, a small decent looking train pulled up in the station. We found our seat and were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was! The seats reclined to almost-like-a-bed mode, airconditioning blasting (glad we had jumpers!) and no pets in sight. In fact, almost no Thai people! Were we even still in Thailand? Yes, we could survive this.
Our survival kit of food was unnescesary as we were served several meals, snacks and drinks along the way. We killed time by napping, listening to music, reading books and staring out the window. By the time we got fed up of sitting in the train we were almost there. With only an hour delay (!) we arrived in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai. Northern Thailand. The place for adventure tours, culture and scenery. Although the town itself is nice to walk through, the places to be are just outside town. From jungle walks to white water rafting, it’s all there. The first day we settled for exploring town in the morning and an afternoon of hights. A good 2 hours of flying from tree to tree at the Jungle Flight and to top it off a 40 meter drop!
The second day we wanted to ride an elephant and nothing more. Well that was a bit too much to ask. All the travel agencies only offered packaged tours and almost laughed at us when we asked for just an elephant ride! So we rented a scooter and decided we could find the park on our own. No sooner said than done, we were on our way.
After 2 hours of driving through cold mountain roads with amazing views and a sore butt, we suddenly saw an old, rusty sign for an elephant park. We knew this was not the park we were looking for but thought it couldn’t hurt to check it out. Now I would like to point out here that this is exactly the type of event I LOVE about travelling. Because what happened next was one of my favourite things in Thailand.
We pulled up at what seemed a deserted place. My best friend P, hopped of the back to check it out and suddenly yelled out to me: “I see an elephant! Kyley! There is an elephant!”. It’s such an amazing feeling when you go off the beaten track and stumble on a non-touristy attraction. It was only the two of us, on the elephant with no other tourist in sight. The guide took us for an hour on a small path along the edge of a mountain and even stopped at a waterfall for photo’s..
A treat for the elephant.
The road we had to take to get to the elephant park was magnificent. Right through the rainforest and mountains giving you spectacular views. Because we were on a scooter we could stop whenever we wanted, not to mention how fun it was just driving around!
The next day it was time to get back on the move, time to go to Lao! I can tell you now it’s not as easy as you would think.. But that’s a whole new story..