I was super excited to have Matt experience riding elephants and so I put a lot of thought and research into our tour. It was important to me to find a place that treated the elephants well and would let us ride them bareback (because it’s a lot better for the elephants). I had heard great things about Blue Elephant Thailand Tours from a friend and we ended up doing this tour. It was SO amazing! It was a private tour which was nice and our tour guide, Bob, was extremely sweet and helpful.
We started the day by going to the early morning market and picking up some breakfast, snacks, and bananas for the elephants. I love local markets and Billy took us through it and introduced us to local plants, fruits, and other traditional Thai food that I hadn’t seen before. We were then driven to this beautiful elephant oasis and we ate breakfast, changed (Matt is still upset about what they made him wear haha), and then went to do our elephant training. I was so stressed about learning the Thai words for different commands like right, left, stop, and backup but they practiced with us a lot and we had mahouts (elephant trainers) to guide us. They showed us the different behaviors they use to take care of the elephants and we took a very quick ride around the property. We then got to help bathe and feed them and I liked feeling like I was actually taking care of them. Doesn’t this place look like heaven?
From the elephant camp, we were taken to Zipline ChiangMai! Our instructor, Captain Max, was really funny and helpful. It was a much longer course than I had expected (we had 31 platforms!) and we crossed the river 4 times which was my favorite part! It was so much better than my last experience zip lining because it was JUST Matt and I so we didn’t have to wait for a long time at each platform. After ziplining we went to Tiger Kingdom and had a delicious buffet lunch. I didn’t have high expectations for Tiger Kingdom but I really enjoyed getting to see those beautiful animals up close! I still have such mixed feelings about Tiger Kingdom because, yes, they are breeding and taking care of the tigers but it still looked like a sad life for the tigers. We did find out that they don’t use any drugs on the tigers which is a common misconception! They did use them in the past but have moved away from that practice in the last 10 years. Just when we thought our tour was done, we made one last stop at the Butterfly/ Orchid Farm. It was super beautiful and really cool to learn how long it takes to grow an orchid. They have such a long lifespan and it takes about 4 years before you can even get one bloom. They also need to be carefully planted, put in the perfect environment, and trimmed annually. Million dollar question: how do they survive in the wild?!All in all, it was probably the best day of my life! If you have any questions about our tour or just touring Chiang Mai in general, leave me a comment!!