we landed in bangkok late tuesday night, and our flight to chiang mai, (a province north of bangkok known to have the best elephant tours) wasn't for another 7-8 hours. so we tried to kill time by getting a massage, dined in some of the airport restaurants (which had some amazing food), and conversed with random travelers who were also waiting for their flight in the morning. one lone traveler in particular gave us some great tips on what to do and where to go while in chiang mai...which turned out to be very useful later on.
after being on airplanes and in airports for the last 31 hours or so it was nice to take in the fresh air...but man was it hot!!! the first thing i wanted to do was go straight to our hotel and take a nice shower. our first hotel...the kuang singh residence was located just outside of the main city. excellent accommodations for an amazing rate! only about $15 a night! if you EVER plan on going to asia...agoda.com is the best place to book your hotel. the staff was so nice and extremely helpful
thank you lonely planet. we finally saw a tuk tuk headed in our direction so we flagged him down and we were off to get a massage!!!!
thanks to our new airport friend kevin, we knew an area that was flooded with massage shops. and they were all dirt cheap...i'm talking $5 an hour cheap. so we found one highly reccommended by kevin, and opted for a slightly pricier massage for 2 hours! and by pricey i'm talking about $17 for two hours!!!! holla! it was EXACTLY what we needed after all that traveling. i was about dead after we were done. i could've ended the day right there...but we decided to explore.
we must've stuck out like a sore thumb cause almost every taxi driver would stop and ask if we needed a ride. and they asked at the right time, cause we were still trying to recuperate from our amazing massage treatments. so we hit up one of the local temples...sat in on a prayer session there...visited the silk factory...and since it was crazy hot, we thought we should head back to the hotel to rest. what was supposed to be a two hour nap turned into being a 12 hour dead bird session into the next day!
and that brings me to the elephant tour. i can't even begin to describe how much fun this was. here was the basic outline for the day:
- pick up from the hotel and drive out to the elephant camp
- elephants put on a show where they do tricks, dance, play soccer, and paint
- go on an ox cart ride
- do a little shopping
- go on an elephant ride throughout the village
- take a bamboo raft down the river
- head over to the orchid and butterfly farm
- return to your hotel...or in our case we had them drop us off at a spa
all of this for a grand total of roughly $35!!!! ridiculous!!!! one funny story...everywhere we rode...the local villagers kept pointing at us saying "big big." hahaha...eh! more worse the elephant trainer that was taking us around was saying "yeah big big. big money." i was thinking to myself...yup...keep saying that and your tip is gonna be small small! but in the end the experience was amazing. take THAT bucket list!so...of course when we got back into the city...we just HAD to get another massage. this time we went to an actual spa...and paid a little more for a full on spa package....which included an hour long body scrub, an hour long massage, and a facial. i'm not even gonna discuss the price....lets just say it was about 10% of what it would normally cost here in the states. crazy cheap! and man was it worth it. i felt so fresh and rejuvinated afterward...ready for a night out on the town.
after getting worked on, we developed quite an appetite...and we opted for....mcdonalds. hahahahaha! don't judge me. but after killing time eating...drinking...and people watching, we headed to the muay thai boxing arena. to be honest i was a little hesitant about going cause it wasn't really my thing, but i'm so glad we went. i found it so interesting to see the different type of protocol performed each match. but the highlight of the night was their exhibition match. they had 5 random guys fight against each other blindfolded, for like 5 or 10 minutes. it was hilarious!
after the fight we headed back to the hotel to get some rest as our flight was first thing the next morning back to bangkok. our flight left bright and early at 7 am, and we almost didn't make the flight because it was so full. but we go on and left beautiful chiang mai for...the monster that is bankok.
our time in bangkok was nothing like chiang mai. first off our hotel. we got there and it was an amazing lobby. so clean. so modern. we even enjoyed their breakfast buffet before heading upstairs to our room. the room. hmmm. i swear it was like entering the twilight zone. as soon as those elevator doors it was as if we were totally different hotel. the hallway was so cramped and dingy..and the room was worse. so bad that when i went in the bathroom i got locked in!!! seriously?! the stupid doorknob broke! irraz. granted we were spoiled by our luxury accommodations (lol) in chiang mai...but seriously?
disgusted by the room...we head out to do some shopping!!!! finding a taxi in bangkok was cake...trying to get the drivers to take you where you needed to go...not so easy. they always wanna make different stops on the way so they can get gas credit for bringing tourists. annoying. we kept saying "MBK...MBK...just take us straight to MBK!!!" we finally got there.
that shopping center was ridiculous!!!! i was overwhelmed by the time we entered those doors. it was weird because in some sections it was like a regular mall, and others more like a indoor swap meet. and thats where u find all the bargains. u can totally bargain to get stuff for like half off their asking price there. i had so much fun doing that. we also watched a movie and interesting thai fact...after all the previews, they have this short little 2 minute slideshow of the king of thailand where everyone in the theater is asked to stand to pay tribute to him. they also had a karaoke booth that we totally took advantage of.
post shopping activity...dinner at an authentic thai restaurant. that was the plan at least. but i don't know if that's what we got. lol. we trusted our tuk tuk driver to take us somewhere nice...and he FAILED! after refusing to get out of the tuk tuk...he finally took us to a better place. he offered to wait and take us back to our hotel for 50 baht...but when we came out he fully left! hahahaha. we didn't pay him...so he pretty much took us there for FREE!!!!! we headed back to the hotel and packed up for our flight early the next morning.
omg i can't believe how long this post is! but needless to say...it was an AMAZING trip!!!! i seriously came home ready to go back! i feel like i just didn't get enough shopping done..and i would love to explore the southern part of that country next time. who's down?