Cooking, elephant rides and Monk Chat
13.02.2008 - 16.02.2008 31 °C
We arrived into Chiang Mai after a really good overnight train. We had a sleeper ticket which was so cheap, about 10 pounds each for 12 hours of journey. I'd really recommend this to people on a tight budget.
Our guesthouse was really nice, MD in the old town. A good location!
We headed off and had some food and looked around some of the temples and treated ourselves to some pampering. I had a Thai masssage (amazing how a 7 stone Thai woman can beat you to a pulp with relative ease) while Diane had some reflexology for 1 hour cost about 3 pounds. Bargain.
That evening we hit the Night Bazaar and got some real bargains. The goods were cheaper (with bartering) and better quality than we found in Bangkok.
On the second day we went to more of the temples. They were really stunning, but our favourite was Wat Pra Singh was our favourite as it was really old, and had an area called Monk chat.
Here you were encouraged and welcome to sit and talk to one of the monks and ask pretty much what you wanted. The monk we sat with was called Udone and was really funny, we learnt a lot about the life of a buddist monk from this. They are such friendly guys, and are not expected to be a monk for ever, they can leave at any time they want to. Really different to the religions we are used to. Its quite a tough day though. Up at 04:30 for chanting then and hours meditation. At around 06:30 they try to get food from the generosity of people. As monks don't do paid work and their robes are certainly not Levi's, money is not really top of the agenda. Eventually their day finishes around 21:00 to enjoy a much needed sleep.
On our second full day we went on a day trek, visited a Orchid farm, a model village settlement, went on an elephant ride and finished with a bamboo raft ride. It was a really fun day. The elephant ride was hillarious, when you weren't worried that you were going to tip off the seat. The Mahood's are really mischievous (sneakily fireing catapults at us when we wern't looking) and jumped off the head and let us off on our own (of course they only had to talk and they did exactly what they wanted). We treated our elephant to a bunch of banana's at the end as a thank you. It was a real laugh. As soon as the elephant caught sight and smell of bananas controlling them became quite a task.
We hit the market again for some last minute bargains that evening. Too much good stuff.
On our last day, before flying back to Bangkok, we did a Thai cookery course. This run by a family and was a really good day. The company is called "A lot of Thai" and we would recommend it to everyone.
We cooked about 5 dishes (Stir fry chicken with veg, Pad Thai, Thai green curry, Tom Yam hot & sour soup and Non greasy spring rolls) during the day and they tasted great. We ate our creations as we went along, and were so stuffed. The Green Curry with Chicken was divine.
Yui, the teacher was lovely and a genius, a real people person. She also took us all for a tour of her local food market where we came across the thai equivalent of KFC. Deep fried chicken heads!
We can't wait to get back to cook for you, you'll be impressed. Although the chicken heads will definately not be on the menu.
We really had to tear ourselves away from Chiang Mai. We really enjoyed our stay. However, our time in Thailand is short and we had to move on.