Northern Thailand

I’m listening to Cringe by Matt Maeson. I have no idea if I am behind on music or not but if you haven’t listened to his music it’s so worth checking out. Love it! Especially “Me And My Friends Are Lonely”.

I was so thrilled to receive all the love yall gave me in my last blog post! Definitely was so sweet for all the messages I received. I am super behind in talking about my time spent in Northern Thailand and Laos! Also, I can’t wait to write about my first week in Vietnam, which I am totally obsessed with so far! I’m writing to you on the bumpiest bus ride ever and I look like a Mexican jumping bean in my seat. (BTW whatever happened to those?)

So after Phuket I headed to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Besides the islands this is my favorite part of Thailand. After my hell of a ferry, bus and flight I am standing on my two feet walking to my hostel, Gate Capsel, which cost $4 a night!!!! img_8798 That is so freaking cheap. I knew I was going to be splurging for a bit while I was in Chiang Mia because of my birthday, elephant sanctuary and cooking classes! The next morning I had a FaceTime date with my girlfriend Gaby. So nice catching up with my friends that way and always feels like a piece of home 🙂 I went to the Wat Chedi Temple (which I dressed appropriately for this time) One of the things that shocked me was there is a temple that is “Men Only” and get this, woman can’t go because we GET PERIODS!!!! WHAT THE $%#@!?! Someone should teach sex ed out in Thailand. Joking aside I really did find it fascinating that they believe this. I respect it out of their culture. However, I would love to see someone make a bar with the same sign out front in California hahah.

I went to the woman’s correctional facility to see if I could get a massage but they were already booked for the day so I went to their cafe for this really good veggie dip which is popular in Northern Thailand. Going back to what you’re thinking, yes it is a prison haha. But they are teaching woman skills so that they can get a job once their time in jail is up. So the woman in this program make goods, waitress or give Thai massages! I think it is really a cool idea! I don’t *think* they allow anyone that has aggressive charges do it. But then again I didn’t ask anyone what they were in for lol. Later I signed up for yoga. It was a totally different practice that I had done before. It was mostly deep breathing and I feel right asleep hahaha. After yoga I went to this super cozy cute restaurant, Blue Diamon, for dinner and wine. The next morning I had to wake up early for my elephant sanctuary!

I do not want to go on some rant about this or guilt trip anyone, but I do think it is important to inform my readers that riding elephants is highly looked down upon. I had no idea how bad it really was and am guilty of riding an elephant a couple years ago. I just did not know. Elephants are really soulful animals and it crushes their spirit along with high mistreatment to them. SO because of this you will find many sanctuarys all over Asia that allows you to come love on and bathe these beautiful animals. They are (at most sanctuarys) treated like kings. I went to Chiangmai Mountain Sanctuary. It is fairly new and was highly recommended. Once we pulled up I had the biggest smile on my face. I didn’t stop smiling from ear to ear the whole day. First thing we did was feed them bananas. They are so funny. If you don’t have food they aren’t interested in you. (First thing in common we have) We made them a natural medicine that is supposed to help support them and help their big tummies. After lunch we went on a three hour hike to give them mud baths and then bath them in the river. It was so freaking cool walking side by side with these massive animals. I have never seen an elephant pee before but it is like a water pipe broke hahahah. When they poop it is like Barbie size hay stacks. Maybe more American Doll size. I also learned that I have an “elephant” voice. Much like how moms have a baby voice when they talk to their children. I was shocked to hear mine. It was high pitch like a baby voice but not sounding like a baby…. because I am talking to something that weighs over 3 tonnes. After we bathed them we ziplined across the river to head back to Chiang Mai.

Edit** I really can’t say that this is the best one to go to. It had great reviews when I went but there were still some elephants that were tied at the ankle. They explained that this was because they would fight. I am not educated enough on elephants to know if this is okay or not but it did not feel right. They did however immediately address is and went into great detail about how to take care of the elephants and interact with them. Also there were many elephants not tied at the ankle either. Just do your best to be informed. That’s all anyone can do 😉

Once I got back I grabbed my bags and headed to Diva Guesthouse for $8 a night. Which was great because the rooms are massive and very clean. Staff was really friendly too. I headed to the night market. There really hasn’t every been a problem with people speaking English for the most part. Way easier here then South and Central America. However, you aren’t ever really communicating. Everyone is technically speaking English but the conversations aren’t really ever very clear haha. For example, I was at the night market and asked her which dish was her favorite of the two. She kept saying “yes” and smiling so I smiled back and then just pointed at one that looked good. She then brought out two entrees hahaha. Like why would I order to large meals?! But there isn’t anything you can do but pay for both. So I attempted to eat both like a champ!img_9014 The next day I had made reservations at Gaps House for my birthday for two nights. This was the most I had paid for a room since I’ve traveled and it was about $25 a night! It was everything I wanted. Amazing vibes and surrounded but this beautiful garden. img_9035After I checked in I headed back to the woman’s correctional facility for breakfast and to get a massage. IT WAS AMAZING. She did a really great job. These woman are just normal people you would see on the streets. There were these two Asian women talking and obviously distracting everyone from relaxing during their massage. My lady turned to them and asked them to be quiet and they didn’t until she walked over to them and told them to “shh”. Lol, I like to think I am pretty adventurous but if a woman who is not behind bars but currently is in prison for a reason I do not know, and she tells me to be quiet, you can believe that I will shut my mouth the first time.

Since today was my birthday, In Thailand at least, I wanted to spoil myself 🙂 After I went to the Hideout for lunch. This is a must while you are in Chiang Mai! The bagels are awesome and it’s a nice change from all the street food! The owner even gave me this Dillion’s brownie for my birthday. After I came back to just enjoy my hotel and having privacy and so much space!!! August 21st, IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!!! :):):):) I woke up, had breakfast and then went to my cooking class. I was so excited about this!! We started by going to the morning market and picking out all of the things that we were going to need. Then we got to work and made like 8 different dishes!! Everything was so amazing. Joe, the chef, says to cook with your nose, eyes and heart. Well Joe that doesn’t always work for everyone! This woman needs measuring tools. But I can’t wait to have a Thai night when I am back in the states with friends!

I had made reservations at David’s Kitchen for dinner that night. This was hands down the best restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life! And my whole meal and drinks at the end of it cost less than $50! Right when I arrived the staff immediately knew my name and escorted me to my table that was completely decked out in decor. The food was one of the best meals I have ever had. They brought dessert and sang to me. The chefs wife and daughter came to apologize that the chef was not in tonight. The next day the FREAKING chef emailed me a long personal and sincere email apologizing too?!!? I have never seen this kind of service in my entire life. It was so wonderful. This is a MUST DO for Chiang Mia. The expereince was wonderful. After they sang to me this woman sitting at a table with her freinds invited me to join them for drinks after. She didn’t want me to celebrate my birthday along but I really was looking forward to celebrating my birthday alone this year. I was extremely satisfying and gratifying to be comfortable enough with myself to do it! This birthday was truly the best birthday I ever have had!

That following day I headed to Pai, Thailand. (Pronounced “pie”) Everyone says this was so beautiful and one of their favorites. Maybe because I just left Chiang Mai having the best experience possible and did so many fun activities I didn’t LOVE Pai like everyone else. Not to say it isn’t beautiful and still a must, I just love Chiang Mai more. I arrived late so I checked in my hostel for $3 a night and woke up early the next day. I went to a gym there in town, had breakfast and then signed up for an all day Pai tour! For 15 dollars this is was we did all day!

-White Buddha – unfortunately was under construction
-Yhan Lai viewpoint – had tea and bananas. It really was such a beautiful viewpoint
-Chinese village – really cute little town. I walked over and tried to do the bow and arrow but didn’t win a prize… booo
-Saingam – really nice hot springs. I found a spot that wasn’t surrounded by people and enjoyed some quiet time
-Coffee in Love – this spot was amazing. I decided to put my phone away (after getting one picture haha) and just soak it in. If you get the chance to go there is a white gazebo down at the bottom. Grab a coffee to go (Got my first white flat in God knows how long lol) and sit in total solitude looking at the beautiful backdrop and flowers.
-Bamboo Bride – really neat. If you make it to the end there is a temple. It was closed the day I went
-Waterfall – really pretty. I didn’t jump in. Just walked around and took some pictures
-Land Split- Okay this is pretty cool. In 2008 there was an earthquake that literally split the ground. It isn’t so much that looking at this is totally “ground breaking” (bahahaha see what I did there) but the spot is so cool. The guy who lives there has all this fresh produce from his garden and homemade wine he will give you for a small donation.
-Pai Canyon – really neat too. We watched the sunset go down from here! Great end to the day.

I was so exhausted after that! I had done about 7 miles total that day and just went none stop. It was the best way to see Pai as quickly as possible. The next morning I was headed to Laos!! I will post about this next because the slow boat on Mekong river is a must and such a fun experience!

PS- Brad recommend I put pictures in throughout the blog. I think it makes it a lot better so you can see what I am talking about without scrolling to the bottom! Feel free to let me know if there is anything you want to hear about more on?!

xoxo, Rachel

9 thoughts on “Northern Thailand

  1. I am rather speachless. Not sure why I get so emotional reading your blogs. For one, it places me right next to you experiencing what you are seeing and doing. That is very special for me to be with you when I physically can not. Another thing is the experience of the places you are seeing that I have not experienced. Your views of these places arouses in me the desire to adventure as well. Safe travels and keep us close to your heart.

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  2. God do I love your posts. I’m on the fence about going next year (I’m out of vaca after Europe). The elephant sanctuary, I do believe, is the tipping point that will take me there in 2018. Thanks for taking time to share your experiences. I’m sending love. Lisa

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  3. I love your blog! I came across it while living and working down here in Antarctica. I’m planning on doing a lot of travel myself next summer and your details are very helpful to me. Thank You!

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  4. Geez Ol’ Terry pulling on the heartstrings with his comment man !! I love reading all your posts love!! I’m sure you’re inspiring more people than you have any idea !

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