A few weeks ago I took a quick trip to Chiang Mai for a long weekend. I had been to Thailand before but only when I was young and I went to a touristy resort with my family, so I was very excited to get to go to a new part of Thailand and really explore. It was one of the most coolest trips I've been on. It's such an absolutely interesting and beautiful place. All the people I encountered there were really nice and friendly.
On our first day when we arrived and checked in at our hotel and relaxed there a little bit. The hotel - the Rainforest Boutique Hotel - was just perfect. It has two lovely pools, big, nice rooms with king sized beds, and the whole hotel just had so much local character. We then went to the old part of the city, to the markets and got the lay of the land. Right away we were impressed with the cheap and cool things for sale in the markets.
The next day we went to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, a ethical elephant sanctuary, home to seven rescued elephants. The youngest elephant there is 8 years old and the oldest is 55 years old. It was very important to us that we found a place that truly treats the elephants there well. No riding, no bull hooks, no abuse. We did a lot of research and picked out the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and we were not disappointed. The elephant handlers there were so friendly and welcoming, and clearly cared for their elephants. We spent the entire day meeting the elephants, petting them and getting comfortable with them, feeding them bananas and bamboo, making 'medicine balls' (a combination of white rice, bananas, brown rice, and chopped up bark, all mushed up into little balls, that are supposed to help with the elephants' digestion), playing in the mud with the elephants and then washing them in a nearby creek. The whole experience was truly amazing.
The following few days we spent just exploring the areas, going to temples such as Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suan Dorg and exploring all the markets.
*Unfortunately, I suck at planning ahead so I didn't buy new film in time for my trip and there is NO film to be found there so I didn't get too many pictures as I had to borrow my very generous friends' digital cameras*