Chaing Mai: Flowers, Elephants, Food and Market

In Vacation by Lynn Como

Early Saturday, we flew to Chaing Mai for the last leg of our trip to Thailand. Once we unpacked we hopped a ride to the International Flower Festival.

We lucked out this Festival was happening on our visit. Plenty of food stands, people, flowers and jade trees that were judged for perfection. Lovely floats made of exquisite flowers in all colors and intricate designs. So pretty!

The gate and twinkling lights beckoned us to explore more inside the gardens and wall. It did not disappoint! Stunning floral gardens, colorful paper lanterns and umbrellas were magical. We saw a lovely display of tulips and twinkling colorful light displays.

The traveling SU! crew had a few photo ops! What a great start to our first day in Chaing Mai.  The next morning was going to be a great day! This crew hops onto the back of the bus and had so many laughs on our way to the Elephant Sanctuary.  Check out this short “laughing” video.

Everyone rode an elephant! It was so cool feeding them bananas and sugar cane while sitting atop and rocking to their rhythm in a seat built for two. Our guide and Suhanna (our elephant) walk us through the river, up and down the dirt trails and jungle like surroundings. It was so exciting to be able to do this excursion and grab some photos along the way (of which are in Rick’s camera).  In the bottom photos, Mom with her two month old baby (who wanted to play).

After the ride, we walked around the compound. For 20 baht (32 baht=$1), you could sit, be held and snuggle with an elephant. They were so friendly and playful. Here’s my friend Margi getting a snuggle and Rick getting a lift.

Here’s a video I took of the area where you can see the sanctuary in motion.   

We also watched some of the elephants get into the water with their mahout (owner). It was bath time and the would gently roll into the river, roll to their side and shower some water through their trunks.

This excursion was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’ll never forget these beautiful creatures and their pleasant and friendly personalities.  Sometimes watching a video makes all the difference.  Here’s a great video of one of the elephant getting her bath. 

Back on the bus for a wonderful Thai buffet lunch and butterfly farm (those photos on regular camera). Then onto a temple, Wat Phrahat Doi Suthep Rajvoravihara. We climbed up over 300 steps to reach the golden temple and the many Buddhas surrounding it. Bells to be rung, candles to be lit and prayers to be said. For about an hour we walked around and absorbed the religious walls, statues and the crowds of visitors from around the world.

Before we headed over to Chaing Mai Orchid Jade Factory (owned by a family of gemologists), we enjoyed some ice cold ice cream. Yum!  I think it was 45 baht for two scoops, about $1.50.

When we arrived at the Orchid Jade shop, we learned all about the varieties of jade, where they come from, how they are discovered, mined and priced. The few artists carving from scratch really capture the essence of beauty and each piece is one of a kind.  The owner took the time to explain many details of jade and how it is carved.  If you plan on going to Chaing Mai, they offer special tours of this place.  I purchased a beautiful ring in sterling silver and lavender jade.  So many items to choose from from jewelry to artfully sculpted pieces.

Our very last day was once again relaxing by the pool. We hung out with the Gilbertson’s & Bosticks’s before heading out to the Market for food and shopping.

The last event of the night and our trip was the Tuk Tuk ride to our hotel. They are fast and loud but the scenery of a faraway place, one you can only catch a glimpse of in a lifetime, pass before us.

You have to watch this short video on us riding on the tuk tuk!

We are so fortunate to have YOU & Close To My Heart give us the opportunity to enjoy once in a lifetime experiences. This one was not on our bucket list … but we are thrilled to have seen another side of the World. They live a life that’s busy, very crowded and go to the market everyday. It’s filled with so many fresh meats & seafood, veggies & plenty of spices, plus a Thai coffee to die for! Its an experience we will never forget!

Lynn Como Close to My Heart Consultant