Volunteering at Patara Elephant Farm

Volunteering at Patara Elephant Farm

This post is a little overdue (I visited Patara Elephant Farm back in January), but I was waiting on some pictures from that day, and am just getting around to writing about it now.  I knew when I first decided to go to Thailand that I wanted to spend some time with elephants.  Elephants are one of my favorite animals.  I think that they are just fascinating and intelligent creatures.  Thailand has a problem with many elephants being mistreated in the tourism and manufacturing industries.  Elephants are chained up and beaten until…

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers:

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers:

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers: 45 days 4 waterfalls visited 2 Number of elephants I took care of for a day at Patara Elephant Farm 4 friends from home who came to visit! (Alex, Alex, Laura, and Matt) 1 Full Moon Party 30 Meters, the maximum depth I am certified to dive 20 Amazing scuba dives 5 Thai dishes I learned to cook in Chiang Mai 2 injuries suffered by friends (black eye and sprained MCL) 1 Case of food poisoning 20 Amazing scuba dives 1 McDonald’s visit 8 nights at Koh…

Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan

Koh Nang Yuan is a set of 3 tiny islands connected by a shallow sand bar.  The island has no permanent residents, and has only a few bungalows that can be rented out for an expensive price by Thai standards (but hey, remember you’re staying on an uninhabited island).  For those not staying in the bungalows, the island is only open from 9-5pm, adding a small incentive to stay there to enjoy some peace and quiet for those with deeper wallets. A mere 5 minute longtail boat ride from Koh…

Conquering “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan

Conquering “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan

While we were on Koh Phangnan for the Full Moon Party, there was one other activity that I knew I definitely wanted to do.  After reading about my friend Dan’s experience at a “Wipeout” style obstacle course, I knew that “The Challenge” on Koh Phangnan would be right up my alley. For those of you not familiar with the show, “Wipeout”, it basically involves the contestants trying to complete a crazy inflatable obstacle course while in the water.  After fully recovering from the Full Moon Party, we ventured over to…

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai

Chinese New Year and Monks Almsgiving Ritual in Chiang Mai On February 8th, was the start of the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that I never ventured to Chicago’s Chinatown in my 3 years of living there.  Thailand has a huge population of Chinese people, as well as being a very popular tourist destination for Chinese travelers as well.  Chiang Mai is known for having great festivities to celebrate, so I decided to check it out. Around 6pm I left my…

Trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park

Trekking in Doi Inthanon National Park

In addition to Thailand’s many beautiful beaches and islands, it is also host to lush forests and mountainous regions, particularly in Northern Thailand.  I knew that I definitely was interested in going on a multi-day trek into the countryside, but there were a variety of options available.  I wanted to avoid the more “touristy” ones that include stops of elephant riding where the elephants aren’t treated well, and the Long Neck Karen tribe, where women wear brass coils to elongate their necks.  Some of these tours treat these people like…

Ziplining in Chiang Mai

Ziplining in Chiang Mai

While I’ve been lucky enough to do several more daring activities such as skydiving and bungee jumping, ziplining is an activity that I previously never had a chance to do.  Since Chiang Mai offers a plethora of adventure activities, all at affordable rates, I knew I could not pass it up this time. After researching several of the different companies and comparing reviews and pricing, I chose to go with Zipline Skyline Adventure, and did not regret it.  They picked me up at my hostel early in the morning around 8am,…

Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Chiang Mai

Buddhist Meditation Retreat in Chiang Mai

I had heard about an overnight introduction to a Buddhist meditation retreat in Chiang Mai by a local Buddhist University.  Always looking to try something new and experience the local culture, I researched further into it and decided to give it a try.  It is only held once a week, starting on Tuesday at 1pm, and ending around 4pm the following day.  Luckily, I had planned to head back from Pai Tuesday morning, so it fit perfectly into my schedule. To be perfectly honest, I did not know much about…

Helpful Tips for Motorbiking around Pai

Helpful Tips for Motorbiking around Pai

Pai is a sleepy little hippie town, located about a 3 hour drive northwest of Chiang Mai. The population is extremely small, only about a few thousand people. In recent years, it has become very popular with travelers and tourists, and has a similar vibe to Thailand’s island minus the beaches and sand. One of the best things to do besides chill out in Pai is to rent a motorbike and go motorbiking around Pai to see its famous sights, all located within biking distance of the city center. It…

Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai-Thailand’s Next Top Chef!

Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai-Thailand’s Next Top Chef!

Taking a Thai cooking class was something that was high on all of our lists. As there are a lot of different and cheap options in Chiang Mai, we decided to do one here versus in Bangkok or in the touristy islands. After reading some great reviews, we decided to take the evening half day cooking class at Asia Scenic Thai Cooking School. I highly recommend this place, as we all had an enjoyable, informative, and delicious evening! To start the class off we had some short introductions. In addition to us…