Elephants…..I thought I ate a lot…..O’wait I do…..!

Elephants…..I thought I ate a lot…..O’wait I do…..!

We had arranged to spend the day at the Elephant Nature Park, the coach picked us up from our hotel at 830am. The drive to the park takes an hour. It is quite far from the city, in a rural area north west of Chiang Mai, near Chang Mae Ping Village.

Elephant Nature Park is an Asian elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit to help. They have been involved in dozens of rescues to create their thriving elephant herd. They use a philosophy of positive reinforcement and elephants are never punished. The park provides a natural environment for abused, injured and retired working elephants and other animals (they have 350 dogs wandering about the park!) under their care. Volunteers and visitors contribute to the healing while learning about their lives past and present. The park was set up by a lady called Lek who is well known because of the amazing work she has done in this field and she has won many awards.

On the way
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaygoat/8399665913/

This is an amazing experience and one should not miss. This park does not let you ride the elephants, it does not train them to do tricks. Which in our opinion is great and is one of the reasons we chose this park over others. We want to see elephants in their natural state. They actually let the elephants roam free and the visitors are only allowed in designated areas.

Elephant Nature Park
City Office
1 Ratmakka Road, Muang district
Chiang Mai 50100
Thailand
W: www.elephantnaturepark.org

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2.5 month baby elephant

We fed a number of the elephants and bathed them. The centre provides you with an amazing vegetarian buffet (a couple of the items contain egg). Our group of ten ate together. There was a couple from Nottingham, one from Germany, another couple from Quebec and one from Amsterdam, a nice group. We all chatted over lunch and got to know each other.
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We also saw a 10 week old baby elephant and a naughty teenager, Hope, who keeps everyone at the Park on their toes. he was born at the park. We had fun watching him bath in the river.

The park also shows you a documentary about Elephants and their mistreatment in South East Asia including details of the pajaan, a cruel ceremony used to break the spirit if wild elephants. As we were watching this rather serious documentary, one of the park dogs came in and jumped at the screen as it seemed to recognise one of the dogs in the documentary. We were all in stitches! Apparently, the dog does this every day at exactly the same time, maybe he thinks one of these days it will actually work and he will get in to the screen!! The days ends around 16:30 you are then coached back to your hotels.
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Every time the dog in the picture see a dog on the screen is jumps at it!
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Greedy elephants

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Greedy elephant

After bathing you grab a smooth stone and massage the elephants
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The evening was spent relaxing at Baan Chonpakorn and making arrangements for a return to Bangkok for some Muay Thai!

Pai…..

Pai…..

This morning we enjoyed the resort especially the amazing views, it will be very sad to say goodbye to this place! We prefer locations like this as opposed to beaches.
Once we checked out we stayed a while around the pool where we managed to get a lot done, booked UK flights to get us to Leeds / Bfd, decided on exactly which Andaman Islands to stay on and booked the accommodation. Did some research on boat transfers and flights to Krabi. Then, with a heavy heart we headed to town on our scooter in good time for our bus departing for Chiang Mai at 4pm. We had time for one last visit to Chew Xin Jai, also saw a couple of lovely temples. We wandered around some shops and I bought mango and sticky sweet rice from a stall – it’s too good to just walk by!

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Returning the scooter

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Then on to our bus where we felt the twists and turns a more today. The driver was on a mission and played Thai music non stop all the way! We arrived at Chiang Mae bus station about 19:15 and were approached by a Songthaw driver….I think he ripped us off by 100 baht for a ride to our hotel but we were too tired to care, the journey from Pai had taken it out of us a bit…or maybe it was just the thought of leaving wonderful Pai!

We arrived just in time to catch Gianiji leaving the Gurdwara for a little outing so we collected our bags from the Gurdwara and popped to Baan Chonpakorn next door to drop them off. I then went off in search of more lemon Ritz biscuits, yes i am addicted to them! I returned a short while later at which point we popped downstairs to negotiate a discount on our room on the basis that we were planning to stay 3 extra nights. We managed to get our rate down to just over £17 (usual rate £20). Then we wandered down Charoenrat Road in search of a nice coffee shop. After popping into Chez which had a very cute puppy, we ended up at Cafe Regina which is an unusual place, full of bric and brac and cats of all shapes and sizes! The owner has ten in all, 5 of which are very young kittens. I enjoyed playing with them but something seemed to scare them off! After a peppermint tea for Sangeet and a coffee for me, we had a stroll back to the hotel then sent some emails and did some research before bed. Gurdwara programme at 7.30am tomorrow…..

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Chiang Mae…..

Chiang Mae…..

Today we checked out of the hotel and flew with Airasia to Chiang Mae. We ordered a taxi which cost 453 baht (around £10), not a bad price for a 45 minute journey.

Relaxing at the airport before the flight
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Check in and security was straight forward and the flight took an hour

At Chiang Mae
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Outside Chiang Mae airport
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The place we are staying at sent a courtesy bus to pick us up
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On the way
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Arriving at the hotel
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Secret Garden – Bungalows & Cooking
54/1 Moo 5, T. Mae Kue, A. Doi Saket
Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
T: + 66 53 339 502
F: + 66 53 338 901
Skype: borsang
E: isabel@loxinfo.co.th

We were expecting Chiang Mae to be cooler then 31 degrees C it has been in Bangkok. I was pleased to say it was the same temperature. Sangeet was looking forward to cooler temperatures!

The hotel is around 25 minutes (12km) away from a Chiang Mae, in a small village called Doing Saket. Bo Sang, a larger village is close by. We arrived at the Secret Garden a little before 4pm. The place is tucked away in a very quiet area, mainly farmland and local residences.

Our bungalow
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The resort is a family business, Peter and Pai have done a fantastic job of building the guesthouse from what used to be rice fields. They show so much kindness and a lot of passion for the business.

Jan 5, 2013 4:22 PM

We debated whether to go into Chiang Mai at around 5pm and decided against it and relaxed at the resort instead. We got talking to Peter, from Germany, who runs the place with his wife Pai. The resort is a family business, Peter and Pai have done a fantastic job of building the guesthouse from what used to be rice fields. They show so much kindness and a lot of passion for the business. In the evening Pai made a fantastic vegan dinner just for Sangeet and I whilst the other guests ate in the buffet.

A great and very relaxed day…..

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