On our only full day in Chiang Mai city we tried, unsuccessfully, to explore Old Chiang Mai before our cooking class. When we told the tuk-tuk driver to take us around the old city, he literally did just that – took us on the ring road around the outside of the old city.
We spent the afternoon cooking Thai dishes, starting at the market and learning about the most common ingredients in Thai cooking. Everyone made 3 dishes: a soup, an appetizer, and a curry.
We chopped the ingredients, used a mortar to make the curry, cooked over individual burners, and stuffed and rolled spring rolls (except for me…I made a chicken cashew dish instead. Hannah made banana spring rolls). At the end we all enjoyed some mango sticky rice, a popular dessert in Thailand. All four of us liked the class and the girls held their own, for the most part.
Elephant Nature Park
The next day, we were off bright and early to go to the Elephant Nature Park (ENP), about 1 1/2 hours north of Chiang Mai. Over the course of a day and a half, we got to observe the elephants up close, as well as feed and bathe them.
It was a much different experience from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The ENP is more like a retirement place for older and injured elephants. They have yet to release any elephants back to the wild, but hope to release their first one this year.
Hannah met the owner, Lek, and apparently Amy was giving our life’s story to Lek’s husband, a Canadian😀 The property also houses hundreds of dogs and cats, rescued from a flood in Bangkok. They are trying to find people to adopt the dogs. While we were there, Cat Kingdom was under quarantine, due to unexplained daily deaths, though Hannah still found a few to play with.
Our spacious room was right by where the elephants spend their nights. It was quite something to wake up New Year’s Day to their trumpeting, rumbling, and squealing. It’s amazing the range of sounds they can make.
Back in Chiang Mai
We arrived back in Chiang Mai New Year’s Night. Since our guesthouse didn’t have enough staff to serve dinner, we went next door to eat. As Anthony likes to say, he got sick from a restaurant in Chiang Mai but got better from street food in Bangkok. At 200,000 people (Thailand’s second largest city), Chiang Mai doesn’t even compare to the 10M+ metropolis that is Bangkok. It seems to pretty much exist for tourists now.
Interested in travel stories from a child’s perspective? Get Hannah and Amy Go To Peru