Chiang Mai and the Elephant Sanctuary

20th – 21st April 2016

What a crazy few days…!

My last post I was on the sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and still had about 11 hours left, well, we arrived safely in Chiang Mai early Wednesday morning and it’s been a whirlwind ever since!

We jumped in a songthaew (a shared taxi which is basically a large tuk tuk) which cost 50 bhat each as opposed to the 300 bhat that the taxi drivers were asking for and headed to our hostel, SOHostel. As we had arrived so early we already knew that we wouldn’t be able to check in so we left our bags in the storage room and headed straight out to explore.

We walked down to the 3D art museum called ‘Art in paradise’ which I had read was supposed to be really good and it definitely was (I think I enjoyed it a little too much)! If you have time I would really recommend checking it out its a lot of fun!

After I had finally stopped taking hundreds of photos ๐Ÿ˜‰ we booked our tickets for the elephant sanctuary and also our tickets for the mini bus to the Thai/Laos border and 2 day slow boat to Luang Prabang. Then we headed into the centre of Chiang Mai to have a look around and get lunch. We found a little restaurant and ordered some food. After lunch we went back to the hostel and checked in.

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We decided to go over to the night bazaar for dinner and to have a look around. I loved it – it has such a cute quirky feel to it, if your in CM you defiantly need to check it out. We couldn’t decide where to eat so just sat down at a random stall – the food was insane! I had beef noodles which tasted amazing and Daniel had beef stir fried rice which he said was really good. After dinner we had a look around the market and then I hunted down a crepe stall and brought a Nutella crepe for 20 bhat (I had been craving one ever since reading someone’s blog about how good they are… They were right!) on our way back to the hotel we stopped at a bar and had a beer. We got back to the hotel and started chatting to some people in our room and then decided to head back out for a few more beers with them! I went with the girls to a little bar and Daniel went with the boys to a reggae bar a bit further down. Spontaneous nights are the best ๐Ÿ’š


This morning we were up early as we were being picked up to go to the elephant sanctuary at 8am. It was about an hours drive to the sanctuary and when we arrived we were the only ones there which was so good as we got to spend all our time with them. Our guide, Joy, introduced us to the guys looking after the elephants and then got out a massive bag of bananas for us to feed the elephants – they all came running! One even broke one of the beams of the bamboo shelter haha!ย 

We went down by the river to watch the elephants play in the water with each other whilst Joy told us all about the elephants and the sanctuary. After this we took a walk down and along the river with the elephants to cool down. They loved playing in the water it was so funny to see – one of the guys kept getting them to spray us with water!

We got out of the river and headed towards the mud bath – they got so excited and literally started running towards it! This was my favourite part, we got in with them and rubbed the mud onto their skin to cool them down, splashed them with water and played around with them. They were having so much fun it was so incredible to watch and be a part of. After the mud we headed back down to the river to clean all the mud off them (and us). Minutes after cleaning all the mud off them they had already found loose dirt and sand and covered themselves in it! We took them back up to the camp and fed them some more water melon and bananas and then they went off to rest/relax/bathe or do whatever they wanted to do. The guys then cooked us Pad Thai for lunch as well as chicken and they also gave us water melon and made us two different traditional Thai puddings wrapped in banana leaves. It all tasted so good (so good that Joy, the youngest elephant tried to steal some)ย 

After lunch we left the camp and headed into the jungle with our guide Joy. We walked for about half an hour to a waterfall where we got in and had a swim. After this we carried on through the jungle for another half an hour where our driver picked us up and drove us to a nearby river where we did bamboo rafting. As it is the dry season here there wasn’t much water in the river so it wasn’t very deep at all but it was still really fun!ย 

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Today has been the most incredible day ever and my favourite so far since travelling. I am so glad we found such a lovely sanctuary to go to where they treat the elephants so well.

Tonight we have been back down to the bazaar for dinner and I had sweet and sour chicken which was so good! We also did a bit of shopping and I brought some new shorts and a Chang top (the beer everyone drinks over here haha).

Tomorrow morning we are being picked up at 9am and heading to Chiang Rai to briefly see the White Temple and then will carry on to Chiang Khong which is on the Thai/Laos border. We will cross the border into Laos and stay the night at a guest house and then on Saturday morning get the slow boat to Luang Prabang. We will have to stop half way at Pak Beng Saturday evening and stay another night in a guest house and then get back on the boat Sunday morning and we should arrive in Luang Prabang around 5 Sunday evening where our Laos adventure will begin!


7 thoughts on “Chiang Mai and the Elephant Sanctuary

  1. Carol says:

    : Hi Natalie & Daniel Chang my looks like a nice place to go pete’s jealous wishes he was there what is the temperature like is it very Hot
    And humid everywhere you go you see your elephants what else some good pictures and your blog is so good Natalie nice to keep up and seeing your blogand how are you are doing love Carol & Pete xxx


  2. robynharley94 says:

    Looks like a great Elephant Sanctuary, they look so happy! We won’t be going there when in Chiang Mai unfortunately, but booked to go to another reputable place located in Kanchanaburi ๐Ÿ™‚


    • nataliewinn1 says:

      They were so happy it was so lovely! Took me so long to decide on one that I thought treated them fairly, I think it’s so important! Hope you have an amazing time I thought it was such an incredible experience


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