Day 11 (December 5, 2010)   Chiang Mai: Baanchang Elephant Camp


   We’re going to be picked up early, around 8:30 AM, from hotel to take us to Baanchang Elephant Farm. There, we will follow the lessons to learn to drive an elephant. This activity ends at 4 PM, when we’ll be delivered back in our hotel. At 5 PM starts Chiang Mai’s Sunday market.


   After a good breakfast in the beautiful garden of this hotel we have got the people from the Elephant Farm at the door. They only stop one time to take a group of four young Americans in the 45 minutes way to the farm.

   Once there we’re delivered some clothes to be changed so we can enjoy the day without thinking about the cleanliness. Then we receive a lecture about elephant’s live and the farm and we’re ready for our first task: feeding the elephants with the bananas that are in some big baskets. Eva goes directly to feed the baby elephant, which is hugging her with the trunk. Some elephants take the entire group of bananas with the trunk as others are opening the mouth expecting you introduce the fruit directly in it. The contact with their tongues is curious.

Feeding the elephantsFeeding the elephants

   Next task is learning the words for “driving” an elephant for these actions: up, down, right, left, forward and stop. We practice these instructions riding an elephant. It is easier than I expected, whether getting on it or keeping seated on its neck while riding it.

Learning for MahoutLearning for Mahout

   After the lessons is time for lunching. It is amazing how fast the morning has gone by. The food is delicious.

   Then we have some time for a nap before the afternoon’s tasks, which basically are: riding the elephant through the forest and ending in a big pool for washing them or, better said, playing with the elephants. We’re enjoying a lot this time and the best tip is not thinking about what could be the soft that we can feel at the bottom of the pool.

Riding an elephant

   This has been a fantastic experience from which we will have the pictures to remember:

Taking a bath with the elephantsTaking a bath with the elephants

Taking a bath with the elephantsTaking a bath with the elephants

   Finally, a photo of the group:

Picture of the group

   Some minutes past 4 PM we’re back in the hotel, we rest just a bit and leave for visiting the Sunday Market of Chiang Mai.

   We take a cocktail in our way to the market, which is close to the hotel. Today is a very special day in Thailand as it is King’s birthday, the mail holyday in this country. When we reach the market we can see a stage ready for some event all in pink and with a big picture of the King, who we can easily reckon after seeing his image all around the country. We take something for dinner by a couple of euros and do some shopping. This market is huge and crowded, which makes impressive seeing how everybody stops and keep quiet when the national hymn sounds. It is like if the time stopped at once.
Chiang Mai's Sunday Market

   In our way back to the hotel, leaving the market, there are some dancers in the stage we could see before and we stop to see the show. It is free and some people is sending paper lanterns to the sky as balloons which are messing with the stars making a beautiful view of the night. There are fireworks too, and we end going to bed happy.

King's brthday festival in Chiang MaiShow in Chiang Mai