This week we had a longer weekend than usual due to a Buddhist holiday, so a few friends and I traveled to Chiang Mai for the weekend. In Chiang Mai, we did various things ranging from walking around night markets to visiting waterfalls to feeding elephants to buying souvenirs at the Hmong village. It was definitely a great weekend with new experiences.
One thing about Chiang Mai that really stood out to me was the tourism. Although Chiang Mai was a relatively small and rural province, it is very touristy. There were full day programs that allowed tourists to spend time at elephant sanctuaries, take part in outdoor extreme sports, or visit hill tribes. When we arrived at our hotel, there were about 50 different brochures advertising the different full day programs that we can take part of during our stay. There was a few programs that we wanted to do, but since our stay was short, we ended up only doing the elephant sanctuary program.
We got picked up from our hotel at six in the morning. The ride to the sanctuary was one of the most craziest ride I have ever been on. We sat in the back of a truck and at every sharp turn our whole bodies would jerk along with it. There was never ending turns to the road. When we got to the sanctuary, the first thing we did was feed bananas to the elephants. Afterwards, we placed mud on the elephants and walked over to a river to wash them off. I was actually kind of disappointed because this was the only interaction we had with the elephants. For the rest of the day, we walked to a waterfall, had lunch, and floated through a river on bamboo rafts. Although I had higher expectations for the elephant sanctuary, overall, I had a great time.