We got a great nights sleep after our first day in Chiang Mai and woke up to a huge breakfast delivered to our door. We always love complimentary room service.
We signed up to visit an elephant park where we were told we would learn to ride elephants bareback and then wash our elephant in the river. We didn’t realize that we had signed up for a full day of other activities along with the elephant tour, but that’s what you get sometimes when dealing with language differences! Our first stop was an orchid farm. To be honest, we were not very impressed with this attraction. It seemed much more like a greenhouse for tourists than a real farm, but they had nice bathrooms!
Next, the tour took us to ride wooden rafts down the river on the way to the elephant park. This was actually pretty fun, though 100% a tourist attraction. One of the best parts was watching the boat guides move the rafts down into the water using a crane. We kind of wished we got to ride the rafts on the crane, but they had steps for the tourists.
Then we finally arrived at the elephant park! We didn’t realize that we signed up for a deluxe tour, but everyone else rode elephants in large tours sitting on seats and we were taken aside for elephant riding lessons. We were a little concerned when we were separated from the group and our elephant’s “seat” was taken off its back, but we ended being really glad we had a different tour.
First, they had the elephants kneel down so we could each crawl up on the elephants and learn how to ride bareback. It was definitely an experience. It reminded me a little bit of riding a horse, only much, much bigger.
We also rode the elephants through the river and then got down off the elephant to “bathe” it. A group of tourists in hats passed by us as we were in the water and we all thought it was pretty funny.
We had a lot of fun at the elephant park, but were quite smelly and muddy afterwards. Our hotel was gracious enough to store our bags and let us shower there in the evening after we checked out that morning. After we were nice and clean we hired a tuk tuk to take us to a restaurant to watch the sunset over dinner.
And then it was back in a tuk tuk and off to the airport to head back to Bangkok. We had an amazing couple of days in Chiang Mai and would love to make it back there someday.