A Day Out

I wasn’t in Thailand just to go to school or work at my internship, I was there for fun as well!  One weekend we took a trip to Lampang, making several stops before we actually made it to Lampang.  Our first stop was the Thai Elephant Conservation Center…

I was excited to see the elephants, even in my early 20’s I still had that excitement you get when you see an elephant at a Circus. This experience was mixed, The elephants were well trained to paint, raise a flag on the flag pole, carry trees with their tusks and trunks, but one thing stuck out at me.  On the elephant ride, the handler had a bullhook, that he dug in the ear of the elephant twice on the trek through the jungle.  I know that they need the control over the beast, but is this really something a conservation center should be using?

Our next stop was the Wat Pra That Lampang Luang just outside of Lampang. The temple is said to enshrine a relic of the Buddha. Such relics are typically bones and ashes believed to be gathered after the Buddha’s cremation. The relic is installed in the main chedi of the temple. This was also interesting because it was the first temple I saw were a building was only available to men. Pictures in the Gallery above.

Our last stop was Lampang, where we took a horse carriage ride in the middle of the city and out ultimate stop, a spa located near the river.  The carriage ride was a bit much for me, as I am extremely allergic to horses.  I believe it was 15 minutes of hell, sneezing and teary eyes.

For anyone going to Thailand, one of the best things can be the value of the dollar, it goes far especially in personal grooming.  At our International center, a guy did pedicure’s, $10 with tip, and yes I got one!  At the spa in Lampang, a 45 minute massage, and aroma therapy bath, with tip $25.  It was tough to relax because you go into a room with other people in the group, there were two other guys and one was giddy like a school girl and couldn’t shut up when the masseuse touched him.

I highly recommend using the dollar to it’s fullest, you can get some great deals on food and personal services, and if you think I mean erotic services think again, that shouldn’t be tolerated especially underage. Who knows, you may end up with a ladyboy like on Hangover II, but that’s just Karma saying punked you!

Cross Country

So Long Bangkok!!!! – Now don’t take this the wrong way, but I found Bangkok to be well, not my cup of tea to put it nicely.  It is a city to visit at least once in your life, but being from Montana, people upon people is not my ideal city.  Interesting enough Travel + Leisure just voted Bangkok as the #1 2011 Best City in the World, but I fail to see their basis.  Anyway back to my story, we only stayed in Bangkok a couple of days and left on a Saturday, we had to get up to Chiang Mai for schooling starting the next Monday.  When I say we left Bangkok, I mean we drove on a bus from Bangkok to Chiang Mai!! It was 14 hours of interesting travel.

On a bus – which wasn’t so bad because it was a private bus for those in my group, but the picture on the right says it all, no room. To be fair, I am 6’6 so I don’t fit into a lot of places here in the USA, but basically I stood decapitated in the toilet.  For those of you who have only travelled in the US on buses, ie sports trips, the bathrooms are nice and located at the back of the bus. This bus in Thailand is located basically where the luggage is stored.  Their are two doors on the Thai buses, one being in the middle of the bus so you go down a set of stairs and the toilet is right there! Enough about space, travelling across the country is something I have loved since I was young. My parents used to load me into our van and drive 16 or 11 hours to Minnesota and Colorado, sometimes every weekend, but that’s another story.  You can tell a lot about a country and the make up by seeing from the ground as opposed to in the air.

While driving I remember seeing Buddhist temples on the hilltops every so often.  I was amazed at not only the number of temples between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, but also the size.  The Buddhas stuck out over the trees and vegetation like they were ants, and another amazing thing is that it seemed as though half the temples were in the middle of nowhere.

One Stop –  We made a couple of stops along the journey, but the main site seeing stop was Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand.  It was hurried so we were only able to make three stops in Ayutthaya, highlight being the Buddha statue in the tree at Wat Mahathat followed by a Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon and the pagodas filled with bats. At one of the temples near Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, we saw an offering to Buddha of a Washington apple, and having lived in Washington for the last 10 years thought it was interesting that an Apple would show up at a temple in Thailand.

All in all, the bus ride was a great experience, and something I highly suggest for those who have some extra time to meander.

See more pictures on our Flickr page by clicking links above.