Backpacking in Thailand - Part 1: Chiang Mai

Last time we backpacked through South-East Asia was six years ago on our three month honeymoon. While checking in our two 12 kg backpacks at the airport, a tiny hint of doubt appeared, what were we doing? Two young kids in tow, no travel plan and me being six months pregnant. Are we brave or mad? Well, I love a challenge...

We fly into Chiang Mai, a city in the north of Thailand. Some last minute booking put us in a very friendly guest house in a nice and quiet neighbourhood, the best thing: hardly a tourist in sight. The first day we mostly spend recovering from our night flight, getting used to the high temperature and humidity, take a dip in the local pool and ask around for things to do and see.

After a good night sleep we hail a tuk-tuk at the street and make a trip to the craft village of Bo Sang. This area of Thailand is very rich with local craftsman: silk weaving, wood works, laquer box, silverware and colourful umbrella's. If shopping is your thing, you'll think you're in heaven. We were mostly interested how they made it.

These pictures show the spinning and weaving of silk
And of course the end product, I go ga-ga when I see colours, we ended up buying a couple of meters of fabric to turn into a colourful blanket for our bed. Silk is nice and cool to sleep under in Summer.
 Another one of our favourites is the wood carving, a panel as the one you see above takes about six months to work on. A true work of art.
The next day, again we hail a tuk-tuk and drive to the Mae Rim district, there are a lot of attractions and animal shows. We had our doubt about them, with little kids you better live as you preach. You do not pick up snakes, let alone play with them,  you do not put dresses on monkeys and tiger cubs are no kittens you can play with, walk away and call mamma. Naive? Maybe, Insect Zoo and Butterfly garden it is! The kids learn so much about insects, get to hold caterpillars and learn about the dangerous insects like scorpions and spiders, safely behind glass.
Tim and Sophie very much wanted to see elephants, no jungle trek, just see them. We pull up at the Maesa Elephant Camp (link) and like what we see. At entering the park a couple of elephants were just being led into the river for a bath. The kids didn't stop laughing at their antics.
Riding an elephant doesn't look very comfortable, Sophie could't get over the fact how big they were, but Tim after having patted a couple he very much wanted to give it a try.
And although we did had reservations beforehand about the show, it was great. Seeing elephants playing soccer sure was a highlight, they could score!
After another fabulous day we're tired but exhilarated.
The next day it's time to head back to the airport for our flight to Bangkok where we'll meet up with my parents, three sisters and the two boyfriends.

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