Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Our Holiday Part 4 - Pai in the sky!

After 3 nights in Chiang Mai we decided to explore further north so hopped into our rental car and headed up towards Pai.

On the way we stopped at Mae Rim's Tiger Kingdom! Where we were able to get up close and personal with some magnificent tigers. They were beautiful. Such an honour and privilege to be able to interact with them. There is no doubt that they are wild animals, even though these are reasonably used to humans being around. (I know some people don't like this kind of thing, but really these animals seemed really healthy and well treated and I was so grateful to get the chance to see them and even touch the younger ones)

More Tiger Kingdom photos HERE

We then drove on and on and on along the most nausea-inducing windy '762 curves to Pai' road to Pai. Check here and here to see what the road looks like. There was some gorgeous scenery and a surprisingly really large number of coffee shops en route. I mean there were LOTS. It became almost laughable. We stopped at a nice 'Swiss chalet' looking one for lunch. The rest of the drive was spent listening to TED talk pod-casts, which were interesting and inspirational.

We finally reached Pai at dusk that evening. All feeling a bit rattled and 'naar'. We found an incredible special on Agoda and stayed at the luxurious Yoma Hotel for about 60% off! A, after having had to drive the whole day, decided he was heading straight to bed. The boys and I grabbed the car and took the short drive into town. Where we wondered around the night market, and had dinner on the street. We didn't stay out late and went back for an early night and decent sleep. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the amenities in their room having long showers with lovely toiletries, blow drying their hair and wearing gowns and slippers etc. They also raided their mini bar! Thankfully these are reasonably priced in Thailand (I wish it was the same everywhere else!) and items cost barely more than the usual price at 7Eleven anyway.

Next morning we decided it was time for a bit of elephant trekking so off we went to Thom's Elephant Camp a few kms outside of town. It turned out that Thom is actually a lady. :) We took 2 beautiful ellies and A and Quinn rode one, while G and I rode the other, each with a guide or 'Mahout' to control the gentle (but sometimes obstreprous) giants. It was surprsiingly high and rather unstable at first, so I found it a but scary and intimidating. I was not so much sacred of the elephant, as being scared of slipping off it! Eventually I got comfortable - and in a better position, as initially I was sitting ON the ellies shoulders which was just too rocking and rolling, when I moved back it was much more comfotrable -mand got into the 'swing' of it and then was able to reax and not hang on for dear life anymore. Quinn was completely at ease and was able to ride without even holding on. We took a long walk through a field and over a hill and once we were fully comfortable we walked down the road to the river, were we 'swam' with them. That was totally amazing! These HUGE giants, being so gentle yet playful. We'd climb on them and they'd sit still until the Mahout signaled them and then they'd shake us of until we were flung into the water. It was really fun!

After we were done riding on the ellies we fed them bananas and sugar cane. They were pretty clever too and you could hide it away, in your shorts or under your hat and they'll find it!

We stayed in Pai for 2 nights. The rest of the time we were there we explored the town and markets, went for a divine massage, and enjoyed the hot springs.

More Pai & Elephant photos HERE

Next the drive back to Chiang Mai , the zoo Doi Suthep.

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