Baan Chang Elephant Park Part 2: How To Train An Elephant (Or Try At Least)
After an awesome first day at Baan Chang, it was time for the “main event”!
Time to train, trek and bathe with the elephaaaaants!! Gaaahh!
Now, I was wary about joining just any mahout training course because the last thing I wanted to do was help fund the inhumane treatment of elephants (similar to Mali’s case).
So, I tried to research as much as I could online, and I also wanted to talk to the Baan Chang tour coordinator in person to express my concern for the elephants’ well-being, and well, my power as a blogger (albeit not a super popular one, but still) to expose malicious acts to my readers. But you’ll never really know what they will be like until you get there.
Baan Chang Elephant Park Part 1: Waterfalls, Rapids, Rafts & Lanterns
At $100 for only 2 days, this was the single most expensive thing I paid for in my trip so far, and I couldn’t be happier about the decision to push through with it.
I initially just wanted to take mahout training (elephant whispering), but when I saw Baan Chang’s packages, I figured I’d take 1 “adventure” day as well. Let me take you step by step through Day 1. :)
Spontaneous Joyride Up Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
After catching a late lunch at Salad Concept, and getting coffee at one of the Wawee Coffees in Nimmanhaemin (which is also littered with a whole lot of other cafes), Ro suddenly suggested that we go to Mae Rim.
And before I knew it, off we were.
Cheap Vegetarian Eats in Chiang Mai, Thailand
A pleasant surprise I’ve come to realize on this trip is that it really isn’t that hard to maintain a vegetarian diet while traveling. You can always find yummy vegetable dishes or salads, and you can always ask people to omit the meat in your Phad Thai or replace it with veg-friendly tofu.
I’ve also found that vegetarian dining can be the easiest to your pocket, and that was especially true for me in Chiang Mai.
Clarity & Disillusionment with Monk Chats & Meditation in Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the “things to do” in Chiang Mai is to engage in monk chats or go on meditation retreats.
Having had enough difficulty with 1-hour of sitting meditation (actually, no, 10 minutes alone is hard enough), I thought it would be better for me to look for one-hour meditation sessions around the city instead of doing on 2-, 3- or even 10-day meditation retreats, and engage in 1 to 2-hour monk chats.
Mint House: My Home in Chiang Mai, Thailand
When I parted with my sleeper train friends and one-night-only Chiang Mai roommates, Justine & Michael, I proceeded with a series of failed attempts at attending a yoga class and felt more lost and dejected than ever in my entire trip.
Little did I know that my arduous yoga-seeking trek would land me not too far away from what would be my home in Chiang Mai.
Crossing Borders, Breaking Barriers: 31 Hours from Battambang, Cambodia to Chiang Mai, Thailand
I’ve got some backlog on my experiences in Siem Reap and Battambang in Cambodia, but I felt the need to post this first just because this is more than just an account of places to see, or things to do. :P
Traveling Solo Again
I did my first border crossing (and also my first and only solo traveling until now) back in October or November 2006, when I took a really lousy train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. And that did nothing to make me any less anxious about crossing over to Thailand from Cambodia.