We survived the night train!!! Hahaha I actually really enjoyed the journey. I turned my little cubby into a nook and just slept the night away! We arrived in Chiang Mai at around 9:30am and headed to Doi Suthep Temple.
Doi Suthep is gorgeous and overlooks all of Chiang Mai. There are 309 steps to get to the top, but there’s also a little tram that allows visitors to bypass the steps. At the top, we learned it’s important to walk around pagodas clockwise because walking counterclockwise is reserved for death processions.
The temple itself was even more magnificent! everything was golden and glistening under the bright sun. While in the temple, we were blessed by two Buddhist monks and given a welcome bracelet made of cotton string. It was interesting to learn that the monks would tie them bracelet on the men, but were not allowed to touch the women. So instead, I was handed my bracelet.
We then headed to our hotel to drop off our bags. After that we had some free time in the afternoon, so we decided to go to go rouge from the tour and head to a humane and ethical elephant sanctuary. I was very hesitant because I’ve heard many horror stories of companies that mistreat their elephants for the sake of making money off of tourists. With that being said, I learned that there are many sanctuaries that exist that keep the animals’ best interest in hand. The elephant is a significant part of Thai culture, so many sanctuaries work to educate tourists while still maintaining a safe environment for the elephants. Because so many tourists come to Thailand looking to interact with the animals, the sanctuaries provide a more humane and ethical option for tourists, which in turn, slows business for the lucrative companies that treat their elephants poorly. A good rule of thumb is to avoid companies that offer elephant rides or that have their animals perform any tasks or activities that would otherwise be unnatural for the animal in the wild.
We visited Kanta Elephant Sanctuary, which was a great experience! From what I could tell, the elephants looked healthy and happy. They could roam freely and did not need to interact with the tourists if they didn’t want to. After talking with the owner, all the elephants at their sanctuary were domestic elephants that were either born there or rescued.
After meeting the elephants, we went back to our hotel to shower and get ready for dinner. We walked around a little night market and then ended the evening seeing a cabaret show! The “ladyboys” are an accepted part of Thai culture, which was really exciting to hear! It was such a spectacular show!!
At this point, I was WIPED OUT! Hahaha I think this was the first night that I slept through the night. JET LAG CURED!!!
Relive today’s events with me by checking out my vlog!