Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 9 of 41 › view all entries
Eager representatives met our overnight bus touting a variety of accommodation with cards, brochures, and photo albums promoting their hotels or guest houses. We chose the Chaing Man Guest House, inside the old section of town. Chris and I took a cozy double for 60 Bhat; Dave, a single for forty.
Chaing Mai, Thailand,s second major city, was situated in the northern, mountainous region of the country, in the Ping River Valley. The air was fresh and cool. Lush forests surrounded the city of quiet, leafy gardens, traditional wooden houses, and elaborate temples where orange-robed monks liked to chatter with farangs (foreigners) to practice their English. People were much more laid-back than in Bangkok, and the town not nearly as congested.
Chris and I found our way to the Indian Consulate and dropped our passports off to get visas for that country. Afterwards, we strolled the eastern side of the two-kilometer-square moat which bordered the old section of town. Many of the outdoor markets and eateries lined its waters. After finding barbequed claws not very substantial, we enjoyed a fuller meal of meatier chicken parts with rice.
While Dave went searching for a low-budget hill-tribe trek, for the three of us, Chris and I went out to an elephant training center; a farm where the animals learned to work. Those Asian elephants had noticeably smaller ears than their African cousins. The beasts hauled teak logs out of the jungle with thick chains, then pushed and rolled them to a particular area. In twos, they lifted the heavy logs with their tusks, like a synchronized pair of forklifts, and gently laid them in a neat pile.