Traveling to Southeast Asia: Elephants and cooking in Chiang Mai

3년 전

Disclaimer: Many of the pictures in this post are not mine, I have not written the EXIF data beneath them so you can distinguish them easily.

Me and Amaan stayed in different hostels in Chiang Mai due to my small budget, so we did not spend a lot of time together.
When I arrived in my hostel I felt, that my disease has gotten worse. After a day in bed I decided to go to the hospital. I was pretty surprised by the high standards there. Everything was handled digitally, so all I had to do is show a small piece of paper with a barcode on it, that I got at the registration.
The waiting time was okay, I had to wait about an hour, which is pretty fast compared to some hospitals in Austria. After I got antibiotics and some painkillers, I spend two more days basically in bed.

DSC_0259.jpgMe (in the back) with the others at the elephant camp

P8272984.jpgThe Sunday night walking street
1/15 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 250

P8272999.jpgI was not quite sure if this dog was enjoying this, but he was driving around on this electric car later he even had a helmet on
1/50 Sek. f/4,5 22 mm ISO 800

P8273006.jpgHe didn't hit a single note, but he sang with more passion than most superstars!
1/50 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 800

On the second day however I was bored to death and felt pretty good already so I booked a cooking class for the evening. I was told about that particular class by Mike and Olive back in Myanmar, they said it was the best cooking class they ever had. I can also really recommend it, if you are in Chiang Mai and like Thai food, you might want to check it out this is their Facebook.

I had a little trouble with the reservation, as I booked the course for 900 Baht (which is roughly €23 or $27.5) the confirmation mail said the total price was 3932919864731700 Baht, to put it in perspective that's more than 700 Million Bitcoin as of the current rate or 10 to the power of 14 Euro! I had booked cash payment, so I was a little worried that I might have to sell out the whole European Union to pay for that. As I contacted them via Facebook, it turned out to just be a mistake in the mail.

P8303015.jpgEveryone had their own stove
1/8 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 800

P8303013.jpgThis was the only wall the building had
1/30 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 800

P8303024.jpgWe had great fun making fire with hot oil and water
1/15 Sek. f/5,4 45 mm ISO 1250

The cooking class turned out to be really cool, the whole group of about 15 people was first driven to a market, where we learned how the ingredients looked like and what to watch out for to get the best quality. Afterwards we got to the kitchen, which was a big outdoor kitchen, with only a roof on top. It was situated outside of the city, right in between the rice fields. The view was amazing, and we would have seen a great sunset if it wasn't for the thunderstorm that was building in the distance.

Our teacher was a really funny guy who showed us step by step how to do a papaya salad, some curries, stir fried chicken and vegetables and for dessert a great sticky rice with mango. After cooking we all sat down and ate. I was surprised by how good it tasted despite the fact that I was the cook!

I felt healthy again after that so I went ahead and booked myself a day with elephants. It was important to me that the animals where happy and held correctly, so I camp that was a little more expensive, but had great reviews (Tripadvisor is your friend). I got picked up at about 8am by - and I'm not joking - "Machete Jungleman" our guide for that day. I guess his Thai name was to difficult for us western ignorant people to pronounce. We picked up the rest of the group, two girls from the Netherlands and a couple from Italy. The drive to the camp took about 2 hours and over some pretty broken and bumpy roads.

P8313119.jpgTons of spiders in the forest around the camp
1/125 Sek. f/5,6 150 mm ISO 500

P8313037.jpgHere we go!
1/2000 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 320

P8313103.jpgThis big guy was the male, a little off the rest of the group
1/1250 Sek. f/5,6 150 mm ISO 500

We changed into some other clothes, which were provided by the camp and went straight to feeding the grey giants. There were 2 fully grown female, one male, one smaller female and one baby elephant. The male one preferred to be alone, but the baby was so fun to watch and interact with! He was so playful, you wouldn't believe it. The keepers were always playing with him and making him do tricks, which he did joyfully. Once he even tried to lift a tree trunk and later he ripped out a small tree. It was great fun, although I had trouble making good pictures as I was way too amazed to focus on photography.

P8313046.jpgThey really love bananas!
1/400 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 500

DSC_0052.jpgThey could give kisses on command, but only if you paid them with a banana

P8313074.jpgHe kept sliding over the ground sitting on his behind

We then went to a waterfall to make some medicine for the elephants to help them digest their food. Machete made us taste every single ingredient. Some tasted quite good, while others made my mouth inside out because it was so bitter. After a little bath beneath the waterfall we had a great lunch and then the highlight of the day came: We went mud bathing with the elephants! Of course I did not take my camera with me, but luckily the price of the trip included a guy who made pictures of us, so that is what you are seeing below.

I also brought my action cam and made a few videos, but some turned out to be useless because the camera was so muddy.
About 5 minutes after we started smearing mud on the baby and his mother - and of course each other - it started raining heavily. I didn't really mind, I was having the time of my life throwing mud balls on the elephants and the rest of the group.

DSC_0241.jpgYou can still see how pale I was from my sickness, but also see how happy I am :)

DSC_0269.jpgClimbing down the slippery slope behind the elephants, you don't want to climb below them when they slip!

DSC_0278.jpgWashing the mud off

DSC_0276.jpgMachete and I had a little water fight

DSC_0313.jpgThe final shower to get it all off

DSC_0159.jpgYou can literally see how my head is being squeezed a little smaller by the force of the waterfall

Covered in mud from head to toes we went back to the waterfall and washed ourselves and the elephants. That was just as much fun as the mud bath because we were given buckets to throw water at each other.

Sadly soon after that the day was over for me and I got driven back to my hostel. The rest of the group had booked a two day trip, so they stayed at the camp overnight. How I envied them! However I was also looking forward to the next day. I had a flight booked for the evening. Contrary to my initial plan to spend the last two weeks of my holidays in Laos I felt like two weeks weren't enough for the country and I wanted some easy beach days to relax a little. That's why I got a flight down to Krabi, a city all the way in the south of Thailand. There I would meet my friends in Railay, a beautiful peninsula, which actually felt like an island because you could only get there by boat.

So the next day I mostly chilled and then got an Uber to the airport.

DSC_0311.jpgThat's it for this week!

Next weeks post will be about sunrises at beaches, monkeys, rock climbing and the breathtaking beauty of Thailand's south.
Stay tuned!


All shots in this post were made with my Olympus OMD EM-10 Mark II with a 14-150mm lens in manual mode.

If you want to learn more about my travel through southeast Asia you can read the previous posts here:

There is a new chapter coming each Thursday

If you want to know more about me check this out:


Thank you for reading and feel free to upvote, resteem & follow me :)

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That little dog is happier than most people would ever be! 😂

Elephants are such kind hearted animals. I love them. Did you ride them as well or were they just trained to entertain and play with?

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I wasn't quite sure about the dog he seemed like he didn't know himself if he liked it.

The only training they had was to give kisses ^^
I specifically chose a camp that didn't allow riding because I read that elephants really hate that.

Hi Paul, I got sick while staying with a family in Cambodia and end up in hospital in Chiang Mai. I thought the hospital and staff were amazing, much better than England, the only let down was the food (as usual!). Thanks for your post, it brought back a few memories of my travels. :-)

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First of all, thank you so much for resteeming me! I really appreciate it!

Luckily I was only in the hospital for a diagnosis and to get some medicine, so I didn't have experience the food. But I feel like hospital food HAS to be bad, otherwise something must be wrong :D
But it surprises me a little, that the food was so bad while all the food I ate in Thailand was delicious!

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Because I had a stomach bug the consultant said I couldn't eat any fruits or vegetables, and as I'm vegan that left me with a choice off the hospital menu of noodles with ketchup. Thank god I was only admitted for 24 hours, or I would've starved! There was so much amazing vegan food in Chiang Mai, me and my husband @danpaulson actually went there for a vegan meet up and met people from all over the world that we'd been chatting to on fb. It was a really positive experience, despite ending up on a drip! :-)

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Ah I see that makes it hard to find decent food ^^
However even though it feels like starving as long as you are on a drip you won't die from hunger ;)

Heya, just swinging by to let you know you're being featured in our Daily Travel Digest!

Nothing much I can say that I haven't told you already, haha! Really amazing post once again!

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Once again thank you very much!
Being selected by you always gives me motivation to make the next post even better :D

Thanks for sharing Paul! I'm pretty amazed that your photos have no motion blur even at 1/8 of a second. Are you using a tripod or something?

I've followed your blog to read more of your adventures. I'd really appreciate it if you'd follow me as well, I'm telling my story of travelling from India to Germany without using a plane!

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Thanks Donny! The lack of blur is due to the amazing image stabilisation built into my camera, it's one of the best on the market and works all 5 axis.

I checked out your profile, however I didn't follow you, because I am extremely selective in who I follow. I do like most of your posts, but I cannot follow everyone I like unfortunately :(

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I understand. Steemit is getting quite crowded after all. Hopefully as I build my profile and continue to generate quality content, the audience will come.

That place looks awesome. Maybe I'll take my wife there for an anniversary trip some year. I think she would especially love the elephants.
I think the dog WAS loving his ride.
And we have those spiders here in Florida. Or at least something very similar. I spent months freaking out about them (I worked in the woods and they were EVERYWHERE) because people called them "banana spiders" which as far as I knew were highly venomous to people. Turns out they are a completely harmless species, they are just huge and everywhere.

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I can certainly recommend Chiang Mai and it's surroundings! You can do so many things there or just chill in one of the nice juice bars, it's hard not to get stuck ^^

Machete our guide told us that they were completely harmless, but we still kept our distance because we were sceptical just like you.

Guess it's not that hard to have fun when you are in the mud with a few girls and elephants :P

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Not hard at all :D

Wow, I really envy you and Machete, having fun in the mud with those beautiful Dutch beauties. Those elephants look so happy when they kiss.

Nice man. Chiang Mai is a really nice place to just hang around. I really enjoyed it there and it seems you did/do too.

Excellent post and I can say that you look like you had a lot of fun :)

  ·  3년 전

wow looks like fun :D

what an amazing experience.. it look so fun.

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