Visiting an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and to visit Long Neck tribe in Chiang Rai has always been in my bucket list. The idea of riding on it and watching them do some paintings excites me (before). Thus my Thailand itinerary brought me to ChangMai. From Bangkok, I was able to grab a two way AirAsia ticket for only 65USD (Php3000.00). There are other ways of transport going to ChangMai like trains and buses – cheaper but takes a longer travel time. But for travelers who has limited time like me, air tickets is already a considerable option.
Hotels, hostels and guesthouses are available options for your stay. Most of these accommodation are just around the Old City walls or near Night Bazaar. Plenty of shops, restaurants and some bars as well to grab some beer. For dorm type accommodation (6-8persons in a room), i found some that will only cost you around 5-8USD and standard room for 10-25USD per night in a hostel in Agoda.com.
I arrived in my hostel past 7pm already and I was starving. Good thing there are street of hawker nearby the hostel – meat skewers, rice toppings, juices are available. Chang Mai or Thailand in general is known to be one of the best cuisine in the world, so i believe you will never go wrong in choosing what to eat here even in just the street.
I spent 3 nights in Chiang Mai, my first activity is to visit Elephant Sanctuary and Karen long neck village. This time, i booked a group tour because the places i wanted to visit is a little bit far. You can pre-book your tour or you can also ask your hostels for their tour recommendations. I booked my tour online in Travel Hub Chiang Mai. I got my 2-day tour around 65USD – First day is Elephant Safari Tour with bamboo rafting, ox cart riding and lunch. On the second day , Chaing Rai Tour and Karen Long Neck village.
Elephant Safari and Tiger Zoo
I was picked up in the hotel around 8am and we were about 8 people in the van. We headed our way to Elephant Safari. I am now feeling guilty doing this tour after watching several clips how these elephants are treated to become domesticated and tamed. You can always visit elephant sanctuary for close encounter to these gentle giants but i suggest not to patronize or support elephant riding.
Another activity in this tour is the bamboo rafting. Cruise around the river using bamboo raft – in the middle of the cruise you might want to try to paddle the raft as well. It’s a relaxing cruise as you traverse the river.
On the same camp, you will also be given a chance to ride cart pulled by ox. The ride is just about 15mins around the camp. Lunch is included in the tour. Buffet style lunch with several meat options, noodles, soup and fresh fruits.
After elephant camp, we were brought to a tiger zoo. A close encounter with the tigers inside their cage is not included in the package but you can always add on.
We finished the tour and arrived in the hotel around 5pm – still enough time to take a short nap and freshen up. You can head on to the Night Bazaar for some pasalubong shopping and eat you dinner as well. It depends on your location, you can walk or ride a tuktuk going to the market. Normal price will be 100baht one way for foreigners but you can still haggle to some drivers. You can also walk from your hotel if you still have enough energy after your day tour. I felt safe walking around the walled old city going to the market – it was also a nice stroll for people watching and taking snaps around the area.
There’s a hawker center near the night bazaar where you can eat dinner and have some local beer.
Random snaps of some temples while walking
Check my next post Day 2 in Chiang Mai where I include my travel expenses report.