My sister just left to go back home, meaning I have been pretty sad the last 24 hours but I also have a lot more to get everything written down… and with that being said, on to Thailand!
We slept in. It was glorious to be able to get some extra sleep, even if our hotel neighbors were squeaking around at 6 AM. We later found out this was because the couple next door had two otherwise adorable little children who wore squeak shoes wherever they went. Unfortunately, sleeping in meant we missed breakfast so we decided to go out and hunt some down. As we made our way down to the lobby, we decided we should find the hotel’s travel agent first to book some excursions.
There was a little room off to the side of the reception desk in which a pamphlet case was spilling over with adventure. We entered only to find it empty but started sifting through the pamphlets anyways to see what looked interesting. Just as we were pulling a few out to look at a kindly little old man popped in to help us. He happy to answer all of our questions and make suggestions in regards to any kind of adventure we wanted.
Seeing how we had slept half the day away we decided to book our first “real” adventure for the following day: Jungle Kayaking! I think I may have been more excited about this one than Riley was – I didn’t realize she goes kayaking pretty often back home. We also booked zip-lining for Tuesday before I realized we didn’t really have any plans for the day. So, we randomly picked the Chiang Mai night safari – we mainly wanted to book this one because of their advertisement for a Giraffe Restaurant – for 6 PM the same day. After paying we headed out to find breakfast… at noon.
It wasn’t very hot in Chiang Mai this time of year, warm enough we could easily get away with skirts and dresses during the day, but I needed to carry around a sweater most of the time just in case. That being said, our walk around the city looking for breakfast was quite enjoyable even if we were both a bit hangry. It took about 45 minutes to find a place serving breakfast at noon, but we somehow managed to do it.
My sister looks cute as ever. I just look hungry.
Both of us starving, we quickly set about to ordering coffees and food. The restaurant was just on the outskirts of the Old City area so we had a view of the river moat that surrounds it which ultimately meant that we had a great view of the city’s traffic.
Breakfast arrived, and the iced coffee was a much needed and welcome aid to the day. This is the part of the trip where I find out my sister doesn’t like eggs… days after I’d been excitedly ordering her all my favorite Chinese egg dishes to eat. Breakfast was some kind of sausage (I’m not a fan of sausage in Asia), chewy bacon, delicious hash browns and those runny eggs. I used to gag at the site of runny eggs, but now I really love them with toast.
My sister still gags at runny eggs.
Breakfast finished we slowly walked back towards the hotel via a back street. We took our time and Riley was able to get some pretty cool pictures of some temples and the randomness that is the Thai streets along the way.
I have to add a couple small detail shots here, their lanterns were beautiful as were their adorably printed kitten scarves.
Once back at the hotel we decided to try to find a mall to get Riley some close-toed shoes for our excursions. The mall was pretty much just a regular mall, except in the basement floor there was an food market in which vendors were selling fruits, veggies, and all sorts of street food-esque wares. We walked around this area a bit, but left the mall soon after finding Riley a decent pair of cheap shoes to wear. Malls are malls pretty much everywhere you go and we had a night safari to get back for!
We went back and rested and snacked for a little while before heading back down to the lobby to meet up for the safari. Whenever you sign up for an excursion in Chiang Mai, the company sends a van to pick you and others from various hotels up to shuttle you there. We were the first ones in the shuttle which seems great, first choice of seats, but on the way back you realize you have to wait for everyone else to get dropped off as you desperately need a get to back to use the bathroom.
It took about an hour or so to collect everyone and get to the safari venue. Thailand really knows how to put on a show, the whole place was lit in all different colors and ways. It’s almost just as exciting just to go for all the decor.
We were rushed in to the first show of the evening which mostly featured a bunch of big cats (tigers, pumas, etc.) quite lazily preforming their tricks for slabs of meat. The show lasted about 10-15 minutes before we were ushered out and on to the actual night safari.
We were seated 4 to a row in an open air shuttle (this is where I realize I’ve forgotten my sweater, it was quite chilly that night) and were lucky enough to have been seated on the side which most of the animals were chilling. This first round of the safari mainly featured herbivores with a scattering of carnivores. I do have to say, the animals did all seem to look pretty thin. There were several places in which the shuttle would stop and staff would come up to sell you veggies for 30 Baht ($1) to feed the animals. I managed to get some for Riley and I just in time for the zebras and giraffes. I think this was was my favorite part of the whole safari.
The people in front of us getting a face full of giraffe, featuring Riley’s hand.
The giraffes’ heads were literally inches from our own as we fed them corn and carrots. Being so close to such magnificent creatures (and perhaps also thanks to Zoo Tycoon) reminded me of why I used to want to be a zoologist so badly.
After we left the shuttle we were left to watch a water show at the parks lake and then rushed on to the second night safari shuttle. This one mainly featured the big cats, and a really cute bunch of pigs that kept trying to jump on the shuttle to eat out of people’s veggie baskets. I need to find the picture I took of the little guys.
We found our guide after leaving the safari shuttle only to find out we were being taken to see the final event of the evening. A ladyboy show. Riley and I couldn’t help but chuckle to ourselves. We hadn’t planned to go see any ladyboys, at least not intentionally and we certainly hadn’t expected to see them as part of an animal night safari. Odd juxtaposition.
They danced in traditional Thai style… but it was hard not to focus on their faces and trying to make out if any of them were actually women. After they finished dancing, people kept rushing up to make their kids pose for pictures with them. At this point we realized it wasn’t just us who couldn’t stop staring at their faces. People would actually go up really close and scrutinize them. This particular set of ladyboys did have quite masculine faces and no truly noticeable feminine features so I’m not entirely sure they weren’t just men in drag… but it is Thailand so we may never know.
I was absolutely freezing at this point and happy our guide was ready to rush us off one final time to our van. This is when we realized we had never gone to the Giraffe Cafe which was now closed. I thought it was going to be a main feature, but upon seeing it I think it wouldn’t have quite lived up to what we were expecting anyways.
Now starving and cold we patiently waited for the ride back to be done so we could get ready for bed and the day ahead. Exhausted, we decided to order room service… oh, such a mistake. If your hotel lobby looks like a palace and your hotel room looks like an old 70s movie… best not to order room service.
We both ordered a delicious sounding burger. Yes, I know, a burger in Thailand, but to be fair I’ve had some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in Thailand and I’m not a fan of Thai food.
What we got was far from edible.
Although not beautiful, the picture looks decent enough… what it was made with, I do not know. My sister spit out her first bite. I tried to force it down but the burger tasted like cardboard (perhaps it too was from the 70s), and the fries had a chemically aftertaste. I felt awful, but we left our mostly untouched dishes on the room service tray and got… Burger King from across the street. Full and perhaps with a little burger guilt, we prepped for our early morning the next day and drifted off to sleep.
End of day 2.
P.S. Creepy hotel movie of the day: The Voices.