I’ve promised pictures so here are a few from the first full day that Squire and I were in Thailand. Specific to our trip up North to Chiang Mai.
When we first got there, we met a taxi driver who gave us his card and some pricing for touring around the city. Tourism in Chiang Mai (and Thailand) is big. So big it’s government sanctioned and the services provided are bonused back to the locals. Which is why it seems the hospitality to tourists is sincere.
Our hotel, although beautiful, was definitely overpriced, or at least the taxi services they provided were. We asked for a couple of stops that we were hoping to do and the price that they gave us was 800 baht but when we called the number the driver had given us he gave us the same trip for 500 baht and then stopped a few more places to boot. (By the way when in Thailand (before you get into the taxi) make sure that you agree on a price beforehand, I think it’s an etiquette thing but it also helps keep everyone honest).
So on our first day of travels we first went to the elephant camp. They had a baby elephant that was only three months old and so cute with the mother. Although the mother ate all the food we gave them people made sure that the baby had some bananas. Yep, we were able to hand feed them sugar cane and bananas.
We also saw one of the elephants named Suda paint a picture of an elephant. Both Squire and I agreed that Suda was a much better artist than we were.
Next stop, we went to Tiger Kingdom, which was a must on our list. At Tiger Kingdom you get to spend some time petting semi-tamed tigers. I do say semi-tamed because there are quite a few rules to follow and each tiger had a person specific to each tiger to make sure that all the rules were being followed and to ensure that if anything amiss occurred someone was on hand to manage the situation.
We were able to go in a petting area with tigers of various sizes. We decided to go in with the smallest (not the newborns) and the largest. There were different packages you could take and the newborns were always an extra fee on top of the various packages.
There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding these exhibits. Mostly because people feel that the animals are drugged. I don’t know if that is the case, I can’t tell how an animal drugged or not looks, I have to say I didn’t think their eyes were glassy, but I know that they are nocturnal animals so being awake in the day is not common for them and they do like their sleep.
Although it’s not as restful as it could be with people petting them all day and wanting to get pictures with them. We didn’t push for the tigers to be awoken but for the most part they seemed to be semi-active while we were there.
If you notice in the last picture of Squire petting the large tiger, his knee is blocking another tiger that came up behind him. I was taking the pictures at the time and although I could have gotten a pretty good picture of a Squire sandwich, I decided on playing it safe and at least warning him of the fact that there was a tiger behind him. If his knee wasn’t in the way it would have been perfect. I will say, Squire was very interested to find out there was the tiger behind him.
We have a ton of pics that we’ll post to facebook soon. Also it looks as if once we get back to Bangkok and spend some time with my dad and his girlfriend, we’ll get to go to the Tiger Temple and pet more tigers. A definite plus because this is a highlight to our trip thus far that we wouldn’t mind doing again.
Now to the Monkey Centre.
Squire and I really like monkeys and we really wanted to make sure we got to see some of them here. These monkeys are smart, they can play basketball, ride bikes, read, and are just all around cute. After a very quick show a baby monkey and an older monkey (that drank Squire’s Gatorade during the show) came out for some photo opportunities.
After the monkeys we moved on to the snakes. This is the same snake team that worked with Sylvestor Stallone in the latest Rambo movie.
The snake trainers/performers, were very fast, from the looks of it you definitely have to be that and crazy to boot.
We were given the opportunity to come up and have our pictures taken during the show with a python. Both Squire and I took advantage of it with the performers around it felt safe.
After these four stops we went to the mall to eat and we rounded off the day with the Night Safari. So many of the animals are nocturnal and I hadn’t realized it before. It wasn’t the best opportunity for picture taking because the flash needed to be used and that was a no-no once we could understand the tour guide which didn’t occur until we were in the second car, so in the first one we were able to get at least a couple of pictures of some of the animals.
We ended the evening with a very beautiful light show and then it was back to the hotel. Just in time for a much needed rest for two more must see stops in Chiang Mai the next day.