After sleeping through an alarm clock we forgot to set and awaking to John’s phone call to Lisa, we woke up with banging hangovers and very very late for our flight to Chiang Mai. After a heated taxi ride to the airport we finally made it just in time to meet John and Karen and check-in for our flight. The flight went grand as we all began to get over the hangover or fall asleep. John and Karen were whisked away by their travel rep as soon as they grabbed their bags. We were informed there was not enough room in the car for us to backpacking hobos, so we jumped in a cab to the DangWangDingWongTongDingALingLong hotel.
The hotel was very fancy, a lot nicer than anywhere we had stayed so far on our travels. There was some confusion with the hobos check-in and the nice Thai lady informed us that if we would take a twin room she would upgrade us to the “winners suite”, lol, cant remember what it was called but it was on the same floor as J & K so that suited us juuuuuuuust fine.
We relaxed by the pool for the morning and afternoon. Afterwards we had a walk about the market area that was located a block away from the hotel and a look around for a restaurant recommended to us by the travel rep earlier. We eventually found the restaurant and just our feckin luck the kitchen had just closed. After deciding we would leave it for the following evening, we rambled into a small restaurant place nearby. The food, as all food in Thailand was very nice and fecking dirt-cheap.
After the eats it was onto a trusty Irish bar where we consumed some Thai whiskey and beer and laughed our way back to the hotel and into bed as the next day was Elephant Trekking day.
After scoffing down as much free breakfast buffet as we could we went downstairs to meet our rep who would drive us about for the day. He was a nice guy who had very good English and could fecking talk for Thailand while we all tried to keep our eyes open in the back seat of the van. After about a 2 hour drive we reached the Elephant area. To get to the Elephants we had to cross a wooden “Indiana Jones” stylee bridge. Oh and no dogs are allowed over as the Elephants are scared of them hehe.
Our guide first brought us to buy some banana’s or sugar canes to feed the nearby elephants with. That was great fun, as soon as you hold the bananas near them their long trunk comes over and starts sniffing your hand, curling round and scoops them into their mouth. Before the Elephant bathing show begun our guy walked us over to a giant mother and her ickle baby Elephant. The baby was sooooooooooooo cute. It had big hairy eyelashes and loads of hair on its head. When we held out our arms his snotty little trunk would wrap it around your wrist and get it all sticky haha (see pics).
The bathing show was pretty cool (see pics) the Elephant riders and their Elephants all lined up and demonstrated how they bath their elephants by making them lie down in the water and splash their own rider with their trunks. Each Elephant has one rider for life. They sit behind the elephants head and use voice commands (up to 50 words), physical movements and a small metal prick on a stick to control their movements. Apparently Elephants have a very short attention span, so to make them concentrate and focus on the task at hand the rider rakes the elephant behind the ear with the metal prick thingy. It doesn’t hurt them at all it just makes them concentrate. Oh and the old saying “an elephant never forgets” is true. They remember people who have struck them when young and aren’t very friendly towards them.
The next show was to demonstrate how the Elephants were traditionally used. Typically they were either trained from birth as fighting Elephants that would ram/charge and perform aggressive movements for combat, or trained as logging Elephants that would push, pull, drag, and lift logs along the jungle floor alongside the loggers cutting down and move them long distances. Nowadays since the logging industry has stopped in Northern Thailand, Elephants are mainly used for trekking and performing for tourists. This is much less work then they would have previously done logging, so they lead a much easier and happier life. The logging show was impressive, seeing them effortlessly follow their riders instructions to lift and move massive logs. At the end they had one of the small young elephants named Jasmine PAINT!! for us (see pic) John bought the picture she painted and later Lisa and I bought another she had painted that day.
From the shows it was onto the trek. We had to climb up a ladder into a little tower that allowed us to get onto our Elephant. The Trek was a lot of fun, about an hour of riding into the jungle past little streams up and down little steap hills. The elephants never stopped pooing all the way, apparently they eat so much, a lot just comes back out as a pulp that the locals use to make photo frames and cardboard with. We were brought to a little village in the jungle to see how the jungle people lived.. LOL well that’s where we thought we were going. We were brought to a little village alright, a village full of stalls selling trinkets for tourists make by the villagers…. Pffttt. Back onto the Elephant and onto the return trek thought the river back to the Elephant place for some fecking great Thai food lunch. Sufficiently stuffed we were brought down by the river for a relaxing ride down the river on a bamboo canoe. With some Thai guy pushing us along with a long stick. It was all going swimmingly until big dark clouds decided to appear overhead and let rip with a shed load of rain!!!! See pics, we were drowned by the time we reached our destination where out rep was waiting in the van. Heading home we had a small stop off at the Orchard & Butterfly farm… it was such a gay place.
Elated by our Epelump adventures we went out that evening for some foot massages and then delicious food in the restaurant we were too late for the night before. After the fewd we went back to the Orish bar to get outofit on jugs of Sang Som whiskey and redbull. Although there were all these young Irish backpackers there playing killer pool and singing “Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Weh hey hey, Goodbye” so after the 10th time it was pissing us off. Eventually it stopped and we got drunker. John then proceeded to smash a saucer off the ground by accident which got a big wooohoooo off the others followed by another verse of that oh so catchy number we were subjected to earlier.. but it was pretty funny. After that we went to the hotel we were staying in’s disco. It was quite a big venue and when we went in they had these Thai girl band singing covers. It was pretty funny and after much confusion at the bar with our English orders we had lots of drinks. John befriended some gay Thai guy and we eventually called it a night.
The following day John rented a 4X4 jeep and we eventually made our way about 15km outside town and up to the winner’s temple lol I cant remember the name of it but the story goes…. Elephants that are born white in colour are given to the king and hundreds of years ago the King at the time attached a holy gold thingy on top of a white elephant and let it roam free up the mountainside. Wherever the elephant stopped was the point where they would build this big temple. Well the poor thing feckin stopped alright, dropped dead from fatigue at a very high point. So that’s where the built the temple. It has some amazing views of the city below and some nice 'feed the pony' buddha statues to admire within it.
We had some eats in the car park at the base of the steps up to the temple. The food was again fecking great and costing us swf. A short drive back down the mountain and we visited a nice waterfall along the way. We went on a lost cause drive to find this adventure park but eventually gave in as we were getting lost and had no directions hehe. We dropped back the 4X4 relaxed & showered then made our way to the riverside restaurant. This place was recommended by a friend of Karens I think, and the rep guy we had the day before. The food was lovely and the portions were large. The place was packed upstairs where a Thai band were playing covers to a big Thai crowd who were loving every minute of their performace. We grabbed a tuk tuk to an Irish bar about 3km into the town, it was pretty quite apart from two English lads with guitars doing crappy covers. We got all the drinks in until they were closing and kicked us out.
One of the girls working in the Irish bar told us the place to go after dark was called rush or trush or some shite lol so we tuk tuked our way there. It was jam packed full of foreigners and local girls looking for business. We grabbed a table and some buckets of Thai whiskey and redbull….. Well Lisa and Karen got HAMMERED! lol it was pretty funny Karen kept running off to dance and lisa kept trying to get me and John to drink as much as we could while she counted “One potato, two potato, three potato” etc. Shortly afterwards, John and I made the executive decision to get the girls ooouutoffthere we did and made our way home to hotel Tropicana.
Once again the next morning required us to get our shit together, pack up bags, get to reception, check out and get the ride with the rep to the airport to catch our flight to Ko Samui. LOL well it defo did not go as smoothly as it should have. We got downstairs hung over and tired. I had to run to the jacks as the whiskey wanted to say hello, so John checked out our room. Lisa came down and went with John an Karen to the car to wait for me. THEN the lady at reception told me we forgot something in the room (Lisa’s wallet) so I had to go all the way back up to floor 23 on the SLOWEST lifts in the world! It took ages and an irate rep told me to make my own way to the airport as she was bringing the others and we might miss the flight…. GROAN. So after about ten minutes of lift drama I got the wallet and met my darling Lisa, who had waited for me, :p in the reception area and we jumped a cab to the airport.
When we pulled up to the curb their was a 5 min security check before getting into the place, further stressing us out as the check in time was now well and truly over. But well done to John and Karen, they checked us in without our passports (lol only in Thailand) and we rushed to the airplane in a little car. They took my backpack and put it onboard and we jumped on the PROPELLOR engined plane for the journey to Ko Samui.