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April 18, 2006 – A journey to Chiang Mai, Thailand in Asia

An Elephant Ride Thru Hilltribe Territory

Chiang Mai is a town especially known for Thailand's ethnic minority groups. Most of these ethnic groups originated from Tibet awhile back.

Before I got there, I imagined Chiang Mai to be somewhat remote. Don't ask me why I thought that, because that definitely wasn't the case when I got there. Chiang Mai is actually the second largest city in Thailand (they even have Starbucks and KFC). Loads of tourists and backpackers come here for the hilltribe experience.

a street in Chiang Mai town

Decided to take an elephant ride in a hilltribe's residence. The proceeds for the ride goes to the elephants and hilltribe. Only 2500 out of what used to be a population of 10000 elephants are left in Thailand.

an elephant reaching for some bananas

a guide of the hilltribe feeding the elephant bananas

After that, took a sawngthaew, or truck with two benches in the back, to make a trip to the biggest temple in Chiang Mai, Wat Phrathet Doi Suthep. You can see and hear the monks chant at 6pm each day. There are hundreds of temples around town.

a sangthaew

Wat Phrathet Doi Suthep

monks at worship

Afterwards, visited the night market. You can purchase all kinds of goods here - mostly relating to hilltribe and Thai arts and crafts. You can also sample much of the local food and get outdoor massages for cheap.

You can see hilltribe women in their traditional headdress and sometimes full traditional outfits walk around selling their crafts. Most do not like to bargain at the market. But it's relatively decent pricing anyway. Plus, buying direct from the hilltribes benefits them directly.

the night market - it's gigantic!

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