Chiang Rai (Northern Thailand), Highlights:
-We experienced a traditional Thai Massage. This type of massage is a combination of acupressure and yoga stretching positions...or in my case, straight boney elbows digging in on my boney back. I can confidently say I walked out of there with more knots than I came in with. However, I know BOI loved it.
-Visited Doi Sa Ngo and Doi Mae Salong Village set in the rolling fields and crops of Northern Thailand. One of the coolest crops to see were pineapple fields and tea fields--both unique in their own way. The pineapples grew in the ground (was not expecting that new fact) and the tea fields were perfectly groomed mini-bushes where they harvest only the top small baby leaves to use for tea. In the village, we were able to see how resourceful everyone was: using their roof to dry out chili peppers or coffee beans, collecting old glass bottles and cans to pack into their clay housing for structural support, and using large tree palms for not only roof hatching but also for brooms, custom jewelry, and baskets. And I thought tying grass pieces together to make a bracelet was ingenious....
-Visited Wat Tham Pla, also known as the Monkey Temple. And rightfully so. This temple is set at the base of the mountains with monkeys crawling all over it. You can go to visit and the monkey will be walking right by you or scampering down the steep mountain to reach the temple.
-Tad Kwan Buggy Ride in the forests of Thailand. We left with 6 buggies and came back with 3...that's the result of a good time. We drove out through local towns and into the fields to ultimately end up in the middle of the forest to hike. We hiked deeper into the forest and landed upon an amazing waterfall where we immediately jumped in (freezing cold) while our guide started making a fire. After a good swim, we all roasted bananas, honey, and marshmallows on bamboo sticks and drank tea from bamboo cups that our guide made in that moment. That concoction was one of the best treats ever.
-Elephant ride at our hotel, Anantara Elephant Camp, a sanctuary for rescued elephants. Quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life. For those who know me, elephants are my favorite animal. So to actually ride bareback (SOLO) and interact with these amazing creatures was a dream come true. My gal was named Bonza and she was the oldest in the pack at 48years. She was a beaut and the best part was that she was BFF's with BOI's elephant. We were dressed in Mahout outfits (head to toe denim basically) and barefoot. I would direct her where to go my gently tapping her with my foot to her ear. We walked through their forests, fields, and ended my getting in the water for them to play and take a bath. Bonza actually ended up dropping a load in the water and so BOI and his elephant were swimming behind in her dung (Bonza and I thought it was hilarious). It was a great ending to such a perfect time in Chiang Rai.