Off to Phuket

Sunday is our last day in Chiang Mai – to anyone considering a visit to Thailand I’d have to say Chiang Mai is a must see. The nature here is so beautiful and the chance to see some of the animal up close as we did with the elephants is amazing. I missed seeing the north when I was here the first time and I’m glad I made it back this time.

Off to Phuket now for some sun and recreation!!

Check out below and in the last post for some videos you can click to watch!!

More Chaing Mai pictures

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Elephant video

Mahout training – Lampang Elephant Training Camp

From the 10th Beth and I went to Lampang an hour southwest of Chiang Mai to the Thailand Elephant conservation center.  We had signed up for a 3 day mahout (elephant driver) training course.  It was an amazing 3 days we started early learning to give about 12 of the 60 commands that the elephants understand.  We also participated in 2 of the 4 daily shows for the public – demonstrating the training techniques and the logging skills of the elephants.

After a days work we when with our mahouts to take the elephants up into the mountains of the park to leave the elephants in the jungle overnight where they can sleep and forage.

 At 6AM we trekked back on foot to the jungle to retrieve our elephants and bring them back for bathing.

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Click Below to watch a video of me washing my elephant in the morning 

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Our last day in Bangkok Sunday the 7th, I started to get a little sick with travellers sickness and started hitting the drugs to keep it at bay.  In the morning we went to see Jim Thompson’s house which is a beautiful house and gardens in the old Thai style – Jim Thompson himself is a bit of an enigma as he was a former OSS (CIA) agent and he disappeared mysteriously and was never found.   In the evening around 7PM we left for Chiang Mai in the north aboard a night sleeper train.  For me it wasn’t the most comfortable journey but I still enjoyed it.

Taxi in Chiang Mai

What Pho

After the Flower market we had breakfast at 6AM on Khao San Rd which is the backpacker mecca of Bangkok full of shops and guesthouses and all might restaurants.  We wandered through some early morning markets and visited What Pho which has the temple of the reclining Buddha.  We went back to the hotel to rest our feet and hang out by the pool (first hotel pool in all of Bangkok – and site of the first scuba training in Thailand)

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One Night in Bangkok (OK 3)

So my flight was uneventfull beyond the usual minor delays and the brutal 20 odd hours sitting in the same position.

I checked into a hotel near the airport as Beth’s flight didn’t arrive until 10:30 AM the next morning (for those I didn’t tell – she booked seperatley as she was staying longer and I couldn’t get the same flight cheaply).

We spent the first day trying to stay up and checking into our hotel- The Atlanta bangkok- it’s cute little guest house with all the trappings from when it was built in the 50’s.  Perfect on a budget – $25 CDN for an aircon room with ensuite – cheap and cheerful as they say.  We had a bit of a wander around  and some lunch/dinner.  Around 3PM I was dead tired from the jet lag and we went back to the hotel for a “nap” which turned into a 12 hour sleep we got up and went out around 4AM to see the night flower market described in several guide books.  This is where the whole city gets it’s fresh flowers for the day – amazing place and we where the only foreigners for miles I’m sure.

More pictures Live-a-Board in the great barrier reef

 Well we have some more pictures on the flickr site of our time on board the Undersea Explorer.  6 days in the Great Barrier reef including 3 days at Osprey reef isolated out in the Coral Sea for those 3 days we were the only boat as far as the eye could see.  We were lucky enough to catch a Manta Ray at a cleaning station twice!  The graceful Manta with a 10ft wingspan cruised in for his daily cleaning and came within 3 feet of Chris!  The Manta looked Chris directly in the eye and for those 4 minutes it was like we were all creatures of the sea.

In addition to the Manta Ray, on Osprey Reef we saw sharks on every dive.  Most sharks just carried on with their business as usual, but every so often one would swoop by for a closer look. The reef also contained some of the most pristine reefs that we have ever seen (due mostly to it’s isolation). 

During one of our surface intervals we spotted some dolphins off the ships bow.  We excitedly alerted the skipper and he immediately started up the engines!  Cruising along towards the dolphins we could see that it was a large pod of about 50 to 60 Spinner dolphins.  The dolphins also began to approach the boat and began to ride our bow wave.  As the dolphins gained speed they would jump up over our bow wave, even 3 at a time!  They stayed with us even when we had to turn the boat!  It was an awesome experience!

 -Beth