From Maesa Elephant Camp, we drove west to Tiger Kingdom. Just as the name implies, it is stuffed with both baby and adult tigers for up-close interaction. Given the surroundings, I was expecting something a little more wild and natural but these guys were locked in chain-link cages and drugged into a stupor.
Thailand is famous for it's elephants. We went to Maesa Elephant Camp, located just north of Chiang Mai, to get a glimpse of these pachyderms close up. When we arrived, these guys were getting their regular river bath. Those people down below were the lucky ones in charge of catching the elephant poo downstream.
Once inside, we saw the elephants pull logs, paint, and play soccer. Afterwards, we got to hang out and feed the elephants. They are crafty!
This incident resulted in a crazy picture and a trail of elephant slobber running down the back of my hair. Luckily, Sondra had the clean-up covered. After this guy put the hat on my head, he took it back and patiently waited for me to deposit a tip in his trunk/ snout/ nostril. He was kind enough to wave thank you.
From the arena, we moved upstream and got to take these guys for a ride. The news frequently portrays the cruelty of keeping such animals in captivity and after riding along for awhile, it was quite evident that these guys were not treated like members of the family.
Mom, Jan, and Sandra have arrived in Asia! We started our journey with a brief jaunt in Singapore before having to re-evaluate our plans. Our first stop was Bangkok but due to record rainfall, our plans were foiled. After looking at our options, we decided to go to Chiang Mai a day early.
Our pre-arranged driver wasn't available for our early arrival so we opted to hire our airport taxi driver, Was (yes, that's his name). It seems like many people here double as tour guides. We stopped at various temples around Chiang Mai, the first of which was Wat Chedi Luang. Opulent patterns and serene fixtures were all around.