Well, were sorry to say that we don’t even recall where we left off last. We have so much to tell that we might have to scrap the blog and do a novel! On our final day in Bangkok we ventured out of the city a bit to a place where they hold a market called the Damndensaduak Floating Market, which sounds really original and cool. At this market you hire a boat and they paddle you down this canal to all the different vendors. You can also hire somebody in a boat with car engine transplanted on the back and the drive shafted in the water with some kind of propeller attached. Here’s something Jess would say, only Americans would hire those boats cause they are loud and obnoxious.
The market really was a massive tourist trap of the worst kind, because once a vendor got a hold of your boat (with a long hook and pulls you in whether you want to or not!) you almost had to swat at their hands to get free, and the constant “you buy, you buy” was enough to make you want to throw your wallet into the river and watch everyone dive in whilst you paddle far far away from there. The market had lots of non-interesting souvenirs at ridiculous prices, but their was some good food here and there. It was pretty interesting to see how they do sales when you want to buy something that is on the other side of the canal. Jess was the initiator for that one, they pass a basket on a stick with the goods over to you then you drop your money in it and send it back. A lot harder then it sounds, especially with all these tourists stopping to take pictures.
We braved one of these transactions for some Thai carrot pancake things, but soon had buyers remorse as all the passing started a boat to boat to boat traffic jam that Bangkok would be jealous of. Oh yeah, and one piece of advise keep your hands in the boat at all times or the angry old lady driver will lose it. Seriously, she made the I punch you gesture at us, and then later asked for a tip. I don’t think so lady! After the market we had boat tour of the further canals where the vendors of the market lived.
Once we got back to Bangkok, we had a night a train to catch to Chiang Mai. Which was interesting in it’s entirety, 4 bunks in a room and a strong lingering smell of urine. I didn’t think it was that bad, Jess would rather walk for three days with her pack on her back. We didn’t expect the train to be exactly on time, but by the time we actually rolled into Chiang Mai it was almost 4 hours late…sort of killed the day for us but we were told that things here run on Thai time, must be a great excuse to be late for work. After we got checked-in to our guest house, we hopped into a cab with some delicious supper from the place next door and headed to the Tiger Kingdom outside the city. Waiting for the dinner to go made us a bit tight on time as the place closes at 6 pm, but with some insane driving from our taxi we got there just minutes before. Since it was so late in the evening and the tigers were becoming active they couldn’t let us play with the larger ones, we had to settle on the smaller ones, still pretty great!
In we went, to play with these little 2-3 month old Tigers and they play hard! Biting, scratching, jumping, these guys almost had endless energy and actually were pretty gentle with people but aggressive among themselves. When they did go a bit too hard with people all the trainers did was give them a little bonk on the nose and they’d stop! Since it was so late in the evening we got to see the tigers get fed their nightly meal of chicken and play fight with each other. It gets super dark early here so it was hard to get good photos, but in the hour we spent watching and taking pictures of these big cats we got a few good ones.
The following day, we walked around Chiang Mai looking into different stores and Jess trying to find a place for a pedicure. We did go upstairs to one place, sat down and waited for the lady to do it. However, soon left because the nail polishes she used weren’t up to Jessica’s standards, so she eventually went to a place beside our hostel. (come on those nail polishes were crappy and had no good colors!) That evening we went to a night market where Jess broke down her shopping famine and bought her first things on the entire trip, who would believe Jess had trouble shopping. Picking up some cool bulb lights, a tank-top and a panda egg holder.
Day 6 in Thailand, involved a tour of the Doi Inthanon national park where Thailands highest peak is located. On the way up our tour guide was asking us whats the highest mountain in the world, then South-East Asia and then he started going into specific countries of where people in the tour were from. Our guide knew Germany’s & USA’s off the top of his head but not Canada’s! Which is mount Logan in the Yukon at 5,959 meters. Our first stop at Doi Inthanon was a waterfall called Wachirathan. We greatly enjoyed this tour as the temperature at this height was only plus 16 degrees c and gave us a break from the sticky heat that we have endured on this trip. We were hopeful of a swim in the falls but after we saw them we realized that these falls were much too fast for swimming.
The tour guide on this trip was excellent and told us, that the king and queen of Thailand had been trying to help the mountain people who lived in these high northern mountains because they were clear cutting much of the forest for money and killing much of the wildlife. Causing a migration of the animals that lived there. Apparently there even used to be tigers in these mountains, but due to the tribes all of the animals moved to deeper jungle. The king and queen in these mountains had their own waterfalls and temples as well and we were able to view both on our trip. We were also able to go to a real village, not a tourist trap one and see the king and queens idea to help the tribes people make money, to prevent them from deforesting the mountains any further. The kings waterfall was the first one we saw, as we mentioned called Wachirathan and was very large and fast moving, the queens was smaller but more remote and the more beautiful of the two by far.
There were also many elephant statues around the national park, as the elephant is sacred in Thailand and considered the national symbol. Everyone laughed when the tour guide asked us what Canada’s national animal is and we sheepishly replied, the beaver. So after the waterfalls we went to the village and we saw first hand the coffee plants growing beans that the king had given to the people as a way to make money, we were also able to drink a cup of it for 20Baht and it was fresh and delicious. Then we were taken to a room with a loom and were able to see a women making wool scarves, but as it was a real village there was no one there bugging us to buy things and there was a small donation box, we were told that this was the queens idea to help out the villagers in making some money.
Lastly we were taken up to the highest mountain in Thailand and to the king and queens temples, which were built to honor them and there efforts for the mountain people. The kings temple was much like the water fall, grand in size but low in decoration. The queens was very ornate and delicate and Jessica’s personal favorite with a narrative batik made of colored clay tiles on the roof. The grounds between the two temples was also a beautiful garden with many flowers in bloom and was very well kept! The tour was then over and we headed back to Chiang Mai to rest up for the exciting adventure we had planned the next day.
That’s all the time we have for this installment, have a train to catch back to Bangkok and then onward to Angkor Wat. We’ll leave you with this picture below to give you a hint on what we left for next time! Thanks for reading!