BootsnAll Travel Network

Mar 22-27: Chiang Mai


Leaving Bankok – another new travel experience – night sleeper trains in Thailand – you start out with 2 sitting seats – they turn into a bottom bunk, the top bunk pulls down from the top.  They have sheets, pillow, blanket, and curtains.  Josh said he slept incredibly.  It was nice in that everyone had their own space.


Annika’s head sticking out from top berth


Juniper Tree:  This was a real treat. Tim called his former teacher from boarding school days in Pakistan, who is now the principal an international school in Chiang Mai. She recommended us to this place, which is normally set aside for mission families and NGO workers, but they let us come stay for a few days since they weren’t full. It was set in beautiful gardens, with a pool and meals included.


Tiger Kingdom:  There are 2 groups that house Bengal tigers and allow people to pet them.  One is near Bangkok and is run by monks; the other is newer and in Chiang Mai.  We decided to do the one in Chiang Mai because it is close to the city rather than spending all day getting in and out of Bankok to see one.  If you read about them on the web, get opinions about them ranging from adamant disapproval to high ratings. Some say the tigers are drugged; some say not. We spoke with one couple who lived in Chiang Mai, whose friend was bitten by a large tiger and was still in the hospital.  In this instance, the “trainer” who was supposed to be the “protector” basically threw his stick down and high tailed it out of the cage.  Another male tourist who happened to be in the cage grabbed the lady and got out the gate.  Since we had also heard good tings about this place, our curiosity got the better of us and we decided to go see it, but we also decided that we would only go in with the newborns.  Below are pictures of that experience.  Unfortunately, young Bengal tigers had gotten older than we wanted to be in a cage with, but there were 2 lion cubs, which we got to pet.  Incredible beasts up close. Their habitat was clean, but too confined.  We came away with more of a sorry feeling than neat experience.

Annika WritingTiger Kingdom – In Tiger Kingdom   I got to pet a real baby lion. It was totally awesome! You also could pet a huge tiger or a medium tiger. The small tigers I couldn’t pet because they got too big for me to hold. If it were a month later, there would be new baby tigers that I could hold. There was 2 baby lions. 1 was named Ben and the other was named Dave. Their mom and dad were at the Bangkok zoo. There wasn’t much space for the tigers and the lion. I felt really bad for them. It was fun but sad.


University Hospital – the doctors and friends that Natalie worked with when she was there.  The neat thing was when we were trying to find the parasitology lab and co-workers from 20 years ago, we had a lady trying to explain who we were and what we were there for.  By chance, she happened to knock on a professor’s door and explain it again, and his first words that came out were “Natalie Campbell?!”  He didn’t even hesitate – kind of amazing.

Natalie here…I didn’t even recognize Chiang Mai, and th kids were giving me a bad time, because I couldn’t find my way around the Univ. Hospital, even though I had worked there for 9 months! But this was a highlight to the Thailand portion of our trip to see people who had been good friends and helpers when I came to Thailand 20 years ago.


Natalie’s former apartment on the campus


Another travel mode experience – called “sangteow” – a little more room than tuk tuks, but we had all our bags


Art:  seen outside a tourist shop – we’ll call this modern sculpture – it is quite incredible – it is from all kinds of metal (note the screws, chain, etc). 


Heading to hawk one’s food at the night bazaar


Wat (Temple) where we went to a “monk talk” and spoke for 20 minutes or so with a monk. Each of us came armed with 2 questions.


Monk Talk:  “school work time – religion studies”.  We happened to hear about a wat where at a certain time you can sit down with the monks and talk about Buddhism and wat (ha ha) it is like to be a monk – or whatever you want to ask.  Initially, the kids groaned, but after the experience they kind of enjoyed it.  We told them they had to come up with 2 questions and had to run the conversation without our help.


Natasha and Natalie took a jewelry class – silver making.  Here is Tasha making herself a silver ring.  She did not want to go on the zipline trip – so this was her treat.

Natasha Writing:   Jewelry Class – In Chiang Mai, I did a silver making class with Mom. It was really fun but it took a long time because you had to draw the design you wanted on a piece of paper. I wanted to make a ring so I had to find the size I needed for my finger and the width and thickness of the ring I wanted. I also needed the length of the ring so our teacher gave me the formula: L = size + (thickness x 3.14). Then you get started, he gave me my piece of silver and I heated it up to get it softer.  It was too fat so I had to roll it though a roller thing to flatten it so it is the right thickness.  After that, I heated it up again and glued my paper design to it. Then I chiseled my design into the silver. That took a long time because I had to make sure it connected to the indent before it. Then I had to cut off the extra silver with a little saw. That made my wrists hurt because you had to cut straight up and down. Then I had to heat it again and I drilled a hole in the middle. Then I got rid of the hard edges on it by filing, and heated it again and then I made it round. After I got it to where I wanted it to fit, I heated it again and put it in some kind of hot water. After that I scrubbed off the white stuff that the hot water stuff put on it. Then I polished it. Then it was ready! Even though it took a long time it was rrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllllllllyyyyyyyy fun!!!!!


Zip Line:  Chiang Mai is close to the mountains and has all kinds of outdoor activities – mnt biking, white water rafting, elephant rides, etc.  – Below are the pictures – real fun.  The zip line part took 3 hours – had 22 platforms, 18 zip line sections, and at the height was 210 feet up in some spots.

Josh WritingJungle Zip Line -One exciting thing we did in Chaing Mai was go on a zip line ‘cruise’ through the jungle. It was really rather fun. Some of the zip lines were really long; some were short. The place we went to was called Jungle Flight. It had 22 platforms, 3 bridges and the 3 drops. The drops were where they attached a rope to your back and then ‘dropped’ you down to a platform below the one you were standing on. The first one was rather short and the second one was a bit farther but the last one, oh it was scary. You pretty much just step off the platform and fall until the guides slow you. The thing is, you are seven stories above the ground. Overall, it was worth it. 


Nice shot! The guides made me do the “Superwoman” zip on this one by attaching the zipline to the back instead of to the front, as normal.



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