From the top down
Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
61Trip End Feb 28, 2008
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This trip killed around three hours (not all in tescos..also at a restaurant and some other shops!) so we only had to wait for four at the bus company office. We opted for the VIP bus and for once we were not disappointed. We had pillows and blankets laid out, free bottles of water, iced tea, cool wet wipes, sweets, biscuits and a cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning! We didn't sleep too well on the bus but the 11-12 hour trip didn't seem quite that long
Our guest house choice was not a good one as the toilet and bathroom had a poor level of cleanliness and the sink was outside, perfect for the mozzies to attack. So the next day we transferred to another guesthouse with a swimming pool. We lazed by the pool for a bit and then booked a trip for the following day, and did some exploring.
That evening we went to the night bazaar, which was massive, the biggest we had been to so far! We definitely did not see it all but picked up some souvenirs, at bargain prices! Our bargaining skills have definitely improved, we reckon you can tell how good the bargain is by how disgruntled the shop keeper is when they give you the bag!!
Today we went on a trip. We had paid to be on a big tour, however when the bus turned up the guide informed us that no one else had booked the tour and it was just us on the bus! We had a driver and also a guide all to ourselves. Our guide Coco, was quite a character!
We first stopped at the elephant camp, where we went on an elephant ride
We got back to the elephant park in a cart pulled by Oxen, which was bumpier than the elephant ride (and that's saying something!)
After the elephant ride we went to see the baby elephants. They were just wandering around amongst us, and could sniff out a banana from a long way off!! They were really cute and were playing with all the people who were there, as everyone fed them bananas. They were really clever as well, some people tried to throw them just the one banana but they wouldnt chase after it, they would just go after the whole bunch of bananas that the person was still holding!
We then watched the elephant show. Normally we arent fans of watching animals perform, but the elephants seemed to really enjoy it. They kicked a football to each other and scored goals, as well as playing basketball, and dancing. One elephant could even paint pictures, as well as write his name and other words, without any help from the trainers. He definitely had a very good memory...clearly why they say an elephant never forgets
After the show we got a bamboo raft down the river, Mark had a go at pushing us along and from the video we took of it you will probably see that this did not last long! We then had some lunch by the river, overlooking some rapids, which was nice particularly as the lunch that we had included in our trip was a buffet so we could both find something we liked to eat (for a change!).
After lunch our guide and the driver took us to the monkey show. This was not something that had been included in the original itinerary of our trip but as we had some extra time as it was just the two of us there.
The elephant park started as a sanctuary for the retired elephants, and the elephants looked very well cared for and seemed happy. The monkeys at the monkey centre did not look so happy. They looked well groomed and properly fed but they were chained to posts or in quite small cages and looked sad. They looked like they wanted to play together but couldn't.
During the show the monkeys did tricks like ride bikes, or kiss and they looked cute, but the whole time they had a collar and lead attached to them. :(
Following the monkey centre we went to see the hill tribes
After visiting the Tribe we went onto the butterfly and orchid farm where we were able to see some beautiful butterflies and moths. One tried to land on Mark! The Orchids were also very pretty and were grown from wire suspended from the ceiling. At the farm they dried out the flowers and painted them with lacquer and outlined them in gold to create brooches and necklaces.
Following such a busy day, we were both glad to be dropped back at the guesthouse for a rest! The highlight definitely being the elephant camp! Not sure what other trips we will do here there are quite a few activities, but we plan to go to Pai next, before heading down South.
Love Theresa and Mark xx