Day 3: Chiang Mai. Some Rain.

We were bummed when we woke up and realized we'd slept in a little, so we packed up and hit the street asap.

We'd talked about doing a cooking class so we looked several up online and had the hotel concierge call them to see if they had any spots open. All of them were either full or ended too late {we had a bus to catch that evening}.

Feeling a little bummed we just walked across the street and through the gate into the Old City. We wandered a while, just enjoying being there. There are little tourist info hubs everywhere -- usually just a hallway in between two shops with posters and pamphlets plastered all over.

We decided to ask one more time about a cooking class. After a little haggling to know which one was the closest she grudgingly mentioned Baan Thai but still said it was "far away,  need taxi." We thanked her profusely and said we'd think about it and come back. Then went and found it...3 blocks away.

Luckily they had 2 spots open but it ended at 8:00pm and we had to be at the bus station by 8:30. We agreed just thinking we'd have to slip out a few minutes early.

Tiger Kingdom.
Touristy? Yes. Worth it? YES.
There were signs everywhere saying "animals are not drugged" {I hope that is true}, and "be careful, they are still wild animals and they like play - sometimes that involves biting."

From Kim's Lens:

{I wanted to call this guy Hurley. Lost, anyone? He kept singing Frank Sinatra and Enrique Iglesias to calm the cats down. Thai Hurley kept saying, "Scratch hard! Not light! If they get's bad news." Um, what is considered "light" to a tiger?!}

{basically a domesticated cat...but huge.}

From Jesse's Lens:
{freaking out a little}

Then he decided to cuddle with ME.

{legit terrified}

{nice chops}

{biiiiig yawn}

We got back into town and just roamed again -- finding all kinds of people, places, and things that were off the beaten path.

{got caught in the rain coming back from tiger kingdom}

{all of the motorcycles would sneak up to the front at stop lights}

{this kid was crackin us up}

 {hand raised for...the turn signal? so cute}

Baan Thai Cookery School. A total highlight for me. It was 4 hours long and between the two of us we made about 6 different classic Thai dishes. It was just so great. Around the table we had Israel, USA, Australia, and Korea represented. A sweet couple from Cambridge{?} Australia sat across from us and were so fun to talk with. *Hugh's aunt has a run at Silver Star named after her {a ski resort my family went to for 10+ years}! Small world.

Went to market to learn about diff foods {*roll lime before cutting makes more juicy}.

 Jesse cooked: Chiang Mai Noodle with Chicken, Fried Noodle Thai style, Seafood in Coconut Milk Soup, and Spring Rolls with Chicken {*never beef or seafood because not popular}.

Kim cooked: Panaeng Curry with Pork, Fresh Cashew Nut with Chicken, Chicken in Coconut Milk, and Papaya Salad.

{soooo goooooood!}

Other random thoughts: The class finished just in time for us to head back to the bus station to catch the 9pm back to Bangkok.  This time we had a movie playing: Resident Evil. HA! We were definitely not in America anymore. Crazy bus ride. Never sitting in the back again. The buses {at least the ones that we took} had "attendants" that gave us food/blankets. The girl and her 8-year-old boy slept behind our sets on floor in back of bus. I felt really awkward about that one...

{these buses were so tall -- no wonder it swayed so much with every little turn!}

We knew it was going to be a tight transition when we got back. We were scheduled to get back into Bangkok at 5:00am and catch another bus at 6:00am to Cambodia. If you've traveled much {especially in Asia} you'll know this wasn't very smart of us to do. Transportation isn't known for its punctuality so the likelihood of us missing that bus to Cambodia was pretty good. Amazingly enough, we rolled in at 5:20. Turns out the Mo Chit station is HUGE {like 120+ bus stalls} with fences separating it into different sections. I don't think that place ever sleeps because even at that hour it was a party! Still, we ended up running, dodging through broken parts of the chain link fence, and through the dark alleys in between the buses that were parked for the night. It was pretty eerie. Finally we found our way from the 100+ bus stall to the 18th and boarded the bus just as the sun was coming up.

Cambodia, you're next!

Day 2: Chiang Mai. No Rain.

Bangkok --> Chiang Mai

The 10 hour bus ride to Chiang Mai was great. A word to the wise though, always try to get seats in the front. The ride home was 1 loop away from being an attraction at Six Flags.

From Kim's Lens:

{6 a.m. -- first of many tuk tuk rides}

{driver helping us find the hotel}

{No rooms were available for that day to put stuff in so we hit streets to look for a new hotel before our trekking tour picked us up at the original hotel. Found one, a much cooler one, just down the street that had room available ASAP. Ran to room, tossed stuff on bed, changed our 3 day old clothes, and ran back to the original hotel {Lanna House} with minutes to spare before the trekking tour to picked us up. Sorry Lanna House.}

{8:30 a.m. -- waiting for the truck. obligatory self portrait.}

{eating fruit in the back of a truck going 60 down the street}

{a lil sugar cane to start the day}

{our elephant named ola}

{the baby elephant decided to go for a dip -- he's not drowning!}

{we just kept going deeper into the jungle --after a few miles of this we were ready to get ouuuut!}


Had a quick lunch {which was super good} before heading on a hike...

{3 out of the 7 women decided wedges were just right for the 2.5 mile jungle hike. what?}

{tom the guide = coolest guy}

{flw's falling water -- thai style}


{made it to the waterfall!}

{our beijing friends were hilarious... and had "many poses"}

{jesse was inspired}

{the rapids were like class 2's but somehow jesse and i almost fell out! our beijing friend lunged for jesse. it was a sight to see!}

{i will forever remember the guides screaming "bamboo sinking!"}

I will also never forget the couple who brought their 1-year-old on the trek and were exasperated when they found out they couldn't take her RIVER RAFTING. They put up such a fuss that Tom our sweet guide was like "fine I'll just watch her!" A good reminder that not everyone has the same opinions across the globe. 

{zonedddd out}

{we stopped by a random tibetan village in the middle of thailand. they've preserved their culture so well. it was really interesting}

{i see you...}

{the village is teeny tiny}

{i usually never buy souvenirs but this lady totally got me -- i came away with a bracelet}

From Jesse's Lens:


{welcome to the jungle}

 {jurassic park butterfly}

{freakin me out!}

That night we got our first Thai massages. Amazing. Even though it was awkward walking by Lanna House every time we went somewhere. Sorry Lana House. 

Then we headed to the night bazaar. It was huge! We practiced our bartering and came out with a few goods. 

Chiang Mai was treating us well. 

Day 1: Bangkok. No Rain.

Flights: SLC --> San Francisco --> Taipei Taiwan --> Bangkok

It's never fun to realize your flight is going to be 13 hours instead of the 9 you had calculated. Luckily, after some pleading, we were able to sit together {once again, we will never use Travelocity in the future}.

We touched down in Bangkok and immediately headed to Mo Chit bus station to get our tickets for the overnight bus to Chiang Mai leaving that night. Mo Chit is the biggest bus station I have ever seen and a place I will be ok with never seeing ever again.

Trying to buy bus tickets and coordinate some in-country travel is probably not the smartest idea when you're still in that initial culture shock stage! Luckily that wore off quickly and we started to get our bearings in this new country.

We grabbed the first taxi we could and made our way through some nasty Bangkok traffic to Wat Arun and the Grand Palace where the Emerald Buddha resides! Life was good!

From Kim's Lens:

 {these steps rivaled those at chichen itza. so steep!}

{the different offerings that people left were so interesting} 

{our first meal in thailand. we had the diarrhea meds ready.}

{some of the more sturdy scaffolding we saw}

From Jesse's Lens:

We made our way back to Mo Chit and waited to board the night bus {which was awesome!} to Chiang Mai -- 10 hours away.
*We haven't slept in a bed {or showered for that matter} in like 2-3 days. Feelin nast but lovin every minute.

{jesse is 6'1. just sayin.}