Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring Break 2011- Thailand: Chiang Mai

After a great start in Thailand we hopped an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (14 hours in total). To be fair I have the say that sleeping on the train wasn't that bad and I actually got some sleep. Thank God for earplugs and an eye mask!

Enjoying some of the candy Justin helped to make. It was a long train ride we had to do something.

Upon arrival we met up with one of Buck and Mae's friend Jeff. He works in Chiang Mai helping the local people develop self sustaining methods such as farming. They both work for CMF and it was awesome going to breakfast with him and hearing about his ministry and getting to know him. The rest of the day we hit up the pool and wandered around the city before it started to rain.

Lots of dragons in Thailand

More sights around Chiang Mai



The Thapae Gate

The second day in Chiang Mai goes down as legendary. We got picked up from our hotel for an adventure of a lifetime. Thanks to a tip from our boy, Trey, we made reservations with a company called Flight of the Gibbon. This is a zip-line course through the jungle hoping to see gibbons, but definitely feeling like a gibbon.

I love the gibbons!! I loved seeing them in the wild too. 

Straight out of Avatar

Buck showing us how it is done

Superman!

Mae smiling through the fear

Having way too much fun

The whole crew

To understand the full awesomeness of this event check out this little video I put together with live footage.


After flying through the jungle we also venture to a waterfall.

That night the boys headed to some muay thai boxing and the girls hit up the night bazaar for some shopping. Justin will further explain below. 

Buck and I were pumped to see some real Muay Thai fighting and much to our dismay, the first "fight" pitted these two 12 year olds that weighed maybe 100 lbs. each.  We were thinking that we had been swindled, but it got better after a couple of fights.  All we could do was laugh, knowing that it would at least be a funny story.  I will say that this is at least a little more hardcore than playing little league!

So I'm no expert, but what makes Muay Thai different from normal boxing is that each contender may also kick, knee, and elbow their opponent.  It means you have to be ready for a lot more possibilities of getting walluped.

For some live action check out this video!


Night Bazaar. We definitely hit this up every night.


The following day turned into a girls day and a guys day. The boys rented some motorbikes and rode out to a cave. Long story short, the cave was not found, but both boys came back with farmer tans. At least they found a waterfall, so the whole trip wasn't a total bust.

The sweet waterfall they found

Justin wondering where the cave was

The ladies on the other hand had a day full of fun starting with a Thai cooking class and ending with a massage.  I want to do a separate post on Thai food so these pictures are just a preview of more to come.

Check Mae out with that huge knife

Cooking up some chicken coconut milk soup

For dinner our last night in Chiang Mai we headed to this awesome little joint. We sat out by the river and loaded on the bug spray and had some incredible northern thai food.



Our last day in Chiang Mai we all loaded up on the motorbikes and headed up to the temple Wat Pra Thart Doi Suthep. The motorbikes couldn't take us all the way. We had to hike up about 300 steps (nothing compared to what is to come).

The view halfway up

The 300 steps we had to conquer

The Wat 


Buddhist wipe golden leaves of paper on Buddha as a type of offering





This was one of the tribe children and she was so cute. She took my glasses off my head and put them on and then asked Buck and Mae if they were married. She was adorable.

Don't we look so cool on our motorbike?

Chiang Mai was definitely my favorite city in Thailand and if you are ever in Thailand it is a must see. Totally worth the 14 hour train ride or you could just fly from Bangkok in about an hour.

--Marisa
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