New friends, elephants and a bamboo raft
Chiang Mai Travel Blog› entry 121 of 158 › view all entries
I signed up for a day trip today -I was mostly interested in the elephant riding, but there was a bunch of other stuff included too. I was the only westerner in the group of 8 which included Singaporeans, Chineses and Malaysian. The other 7 all knew each other as they were staying in the same place. They were all a similar age to me and spoke English, and were abhsolutely lovely. They were all very interested to know about my trip - where I had been, where I was going, how I could afford it and what my parents thought of it all! The first activity of the day was bamboo rafting - the raft seemed a little unstable but the river was very shallow so we were never in any real danger! The guys steering the raft let us all have a go for a while. It was so peaceful out there - we saw cattle grazing and children playing in the river.
Back at the elephant camp they put on a short show for us where the elephants did tricks and painted pictures. I felt slightly uneasy watching a performing animal show especially when you often here horror stories about animal welfare in Thailand, but the elephants looked happy and in good health, and as they were probably originally breed for use in the timber industry, the income received from tourists for the rides and shows now ensures the elephants are fed.
The last stop was to a villiage were 'long necked' people live. The women wear rings around their necks to lengthen them. It was a total tourist trap with every house selling trinkets and silk cloth and the tour guide really encouraged us to walk around every stall and buy stuff. One of the Singaporean girls told me that the long necked people are not actually from this region but were relocated by the government for tourist purposes. The people live in extreme poverty. I don't know how true that is, but I left felling depressed nontheless.
Back in Chiang Mai I headed back to Blue Diamond to eat again as it is such a great place. This time I had an indian style veggie curry which was equally as delicious as the green curry from the night before.