So I decided to break this Thailand trip up into a few blog posts cause I am sure no one wants to read a 7 page travel novel by me LOL. So here goes part 1!!
I cannot believe one year to the day I was on my way to Thailand!!! I had been dreaming about going there for about the past 5 years. I wanted to be on those white beaches, drinking a coconut and eating pad thai all day long! Really, it’s what I wish I could be doing all day long every day! Thailand was everything I had dreamed of. I discovered I am an over planner and love planning trips, so I planned most of the trip and found hotels and flights and places to go. Ok let’s dive in to all the trip details!!
We started off leaving Seattle with a layover to Japan, it was about a 10 hour flight and it went by fairly quick. They stuff you full of food! They were constantly bringing food by almost faster than we were hungry! We brought some Seattle Chocolate to give to the flight attendants and we gave it to one of our faves and she was so appreciative and towards the end of the flight she came back with some Japanese snacks and a sweet handwritten note. How cute is that?! We also made a cute baby friend named Sotu. They sat across the aisle from us. He smiled at us and waved at us almost the whole flight, before we landed the dad got up handed Sotu to Caitlin and the mom was ready to take our picture. It was the sweetest thing! We didn’t have a super long layover in Japan but we surely had enough time to eat sushi at the airport and wow it did not disappoint. I was in heaven, most of you probably don’t know this but I am a quarter Japanese, so I have been wanting to go to Japan for quite some time. But if the sushi at the airport was that amazing I can only imagine what it’s like at a fancy restaurant, this was pre plant-based lifestyle LOL. After we stuffed ourselves full of sushi we got back on the plane and were finally headed to Thailand!!! Our first stop was Bangkok, but we weren’t going to Bangkok then, we got in late at night so just stayed at the airport all night and ate cake at 3 am because what else do you do at 3 am in the airport?! So, we killed a lot of time at the airport and then hopped back on the plane to Chiang Mai.
After about 30 hours of travelling we had finally arrived in Chiang Mai and I have never been more ready for a shower! I always feel gross after travelling especially after that long. We checked into the Peaberry hotel and it was so cute! Our room was super spacious, we had a room with a twin bed and then a queen bed and the bathroom was in-between so it felt like two rooms. I will list all the hotels and everything below. We didn’t waste any time in getting right to exploring. We requested and Uber, yes they have Uber in Thailand and it was so nice!! Trying to actually catch the Uber was interesting! It appeared the Uber was across the street, no big deal normally but traffic was insane and they didn’t have a proper crosswalk and we were not about to get hit on the first day! Finally, we go the Uber and went up to Tiger Kingdom, I know this is not everyone’s thing but let me tell you it was one of the best experiences. They had 3 sizes of animals, a baby lion, small tiger and big tiger. I said what the heck I am here I am getting in the cage with all 3 who knows when I’ll be here again. They start you off with the baby lion and omg it was the cutest thing ever!! Her name was Nara and she was about the size of a small puppy. It was just the best! They make you wear what looks like a lab coat, so you don’t give her too many of your germs, super cute look! Being able to play with her for a few mins was just amazing. We also made friends with a family with a cute little girl from Bali and they wanted their picture with us, so sweet! After the baby lion they took us straight to the big tiger. I was low key freaking out a little bit. There were about 3 large tigers in a large enclosure. At first, they have you go up to one that is napping and pet it and hold its tail up. I went first and then Caitlin went, while I was taking Caitlin’s pics the tiger started moving and started to get up so she backed way up and so did I and felt a small shock. I backed into the electric fence LOL. It wasn’t a big shock but makes for a funny story. Then we went over and laid with another Tiger. WOW. Again, just one of the best experiences ever. The tigers seemed to be really relaxed and well cared for. They did not seem to be mistreated or drugged. I am assuming they have just been raised from birth around humans and are super comfortable. Our friend Martha was too nervous to play with the big tiger so just Caitlin and I did this one. After the big tiger we went to see the small tigers and these ones actually made me more nervous because they were way more playful!!
Getting back to town was an adventure! No one wanted to take us. We couldn’t get an Uber as there were none close. So, we asked a couple different taxis that were up there and they all told us no as they were waiting for other people. Finally, one was leaving with only one guy in it and we asked him how much he wanted just to get us back to town and then we could figure out how to get back to our hotel from there. We just didn’t want to be stranded up there with all the tigers all night long LOL.
Now that we had played with tigers we worked up an appetite and were ready for our first Thai meal. I had researched a few places to eat and one of those places was Tikky Café. So, after the cab dropped us off we hopped in a Tuk Tuk and went to Tikky’s, turned out it was right by our hotel! So, we got seated and ordered our first authentic Thai meal. We probably got pad Thai, pad see ew and fried rice. It was amazing! Our waitress was amazing too so of course we came back the next day as well since we knew it was good and didn’t make us sick as I was super nervous about getting sick from the food there. We had the same waitress and it turned out it was Tikky the owner. She was just the best! She gave us lots of tips and places to go and see. At the end of our meal she told us to come back the next day and if it was slow she would teach us how to cook. So of course, we had to do that! It was our last day in Chiang Mai so we headed back to Tikky’s and hung out for a bit until she had time to teach us how to cook. She picked out 3 things for us to make. pad thai of course, pad see Ew and yellow Curry. It was one of the highlights to the trip. Getting taught by a super sweet person how to make an authentic thai meal in her kitchen! Bonus that we didn’t have to pay like $30 bucks for a cooking class. We each had a one on one lesson. Everything was delicious and didn’t take long to make at all! All the meals at Tikky’s probably cost $1-$1.50! I asked her to come home with us so she could cook for us all the time but she told me no. Worth a try!
Ok let’s talk Thai massage!! Why can’t we get a good massage here for $8 an hour?! We did a traditional Thai massage and a really nice spa right by our hotel. It was very pretty and serene in there. it made us feel so relaxed and refreshed afterwards! The next day we got foot massages and of course being extremely ticklish and couldn’t stop laughing. Even though it was a foot massage they still worked on our backs a bit. I think we were too spoiled by how nice this place was that we didn’t end up getting massages anywhere else.
One suggestion Tikky gave us was to go up to the Doi Suthep temple in the mountains. There was another temple which is what I thought we were going to so it was a little bit of a letdown when we got up there but it was still pretty cool to see! Our Uber driver was nice but a little weird. He had a book of pictures with mainly selfies of himself or with some clients he drove around. He did however buy us each a key chain and gave it to us when we met back so he could take us back. Nice but a little strange!
Saving my favorite part of Chiang Mai for last!!! Of course I could not go to Thailand and not go play with elephants! Best day of my life! Getting to interact with these amazing creatures was just so incredible. We fed them and got to know them a bit. Rantong rescues all of their elephants from places like circus, logging and other places they are abused. So, all the tricks they knew were from their previous lives. After getting to know them a bit we hopped on the elephant to go for about a 45-minute ride around the camp. Not sure why I thought I wouldn’t be nervous since I can’t even ride a horse! I made Caitlin take the front as I was getting super scared once I realized how high we were going to be. I think I kept saying oh crap oh crap the whole ride around the camp and our elephant’s trainer Philip kept messing with us to freak me out as he thought it was funny. Our elephant was Wonwisa and she was 4 years old so she was the youngest one there. She loved to snack and since she was so young she was pretty speedy! It was quite terrifying while we were wandering around the camp especially when we would go slightly downhill. After this we came back to the camp and ate an amazing lunch. It was some sort of soup and I wish I could remember what it was called as it was so good! When we finished lunch, it was time to go on and elephant ride up the “mountain” which took about 30 minutes since Wonwisa was so fast and liked to pass all the other elephants while we were on a very narrow path. I thought about not going on this ride since I was terrified I was going to fall off the whole time and get trampled by an elephant. But again, I said why not I am here I’m just going for it. By the end of the ride I had skinned some of my knuckles from holding on for dear life. This is one of those things I know not everyone agrees with, but I felt like they were treated so well that it did not bother me, people ride horses all the time, so I don’t find it much different than that. We rode bareback as I know the ones with seats can hurt the elephant. An elephant trainer spends 20 HOURS a day with their elephant! They have such an amazing bond with them and are truly so devoted to them. Everyone here was so sweet and made our experience even better.
Ok this sums up the Chiang Mai leg of our trip!! As we checked out of hotel we asked the staff for a picture with them. We were so sad to leave them! They made us feel so at home and felt like our family when we left. They were so hospitable, and I would highly recommend staying at the Peaberry. The grandma let us holder granddaughter baby Sarah, she was so adorable! As we were leaving the sweet lady who made us breakfast every morning told us thank you for everything! I mean all we did was stay there and eat their amazing breakfast, it just truly shows how sweet the Thai people were. Chiang Mai had some of the sweetest people ever! This was a great first 3 days to our trip!
– The Peaberry Hotel in Chiang Mai- $247 for 3 nights
– Tiger Kingdom- around $30
– Rantong Elephant Rescue- around $70
– Tikky Café