June 5th… what and eventful and memorable day! We started out the day being picked up at 9 to go over to the Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom to get up close and personal with some tigers.
We had scheduled our transportation through the tour desk in our lobby and thought we were going to have a simple red truck van pick us up and take us. To our surprise, a private air-conditioned van was going to be our transportation, which was actually a really nice surprise. While we were driving, we were all a little shocked when at one point the van reached just about 140km/hr but the cars around were all going similar so I guess it wasn’t too crazy.
The tiger kingdom was different than I expected probably because it was nicer than I had expected. All three of us decided to book the package that included getting to go in the big and small tiger cages. Once we were called we got brought back to the space where all the tiger enclosures were, which basically was like a zoo but only for tigers.
We started with the small tiger, which really wasn’t small at all even though they were about a year old. There were four tigers in the space and the trainers had you go to each tiger so you could pet them and take pictures with them. It was super cool after to be able to say I had leftover tiger fur strands on my hand, because how many people can say that? When you pet the tiger the fur is soft similar to any other cat. For some reason I was sort of expecting it to be a little more wiry. When you pet or tough the tigers you can only touch them from about half way down because otherwise you may irritate them, which was a little bit scary.
One thing I really liked was that they let you bring your own cameras in with you and there is no pressure to purchase a professional photographers pictures.., probably because you are already spending enough money.
After about 20- 30 minutes in there, it was time to go into the big cat enclosure. There were three big tigers in here, and it was exciting to be able to be next to such a large, yet beautiful animal. For one of the photos, the trainer told us to basically lay on the tiger, which caught us all off guard. As soon as I started to put my head on the tiger, it shifted its position a bit, which scared me a little. However, once it was situated I got right back close to it again to give it love.
Once again, after about 20 minutes our time was up and we were allowed to spend time walking around the grounds to see the rest of the tigers, just from outside the cages. We got to see the Giant tiger, a white tiger, and a newborn tiger.
All I can say is that if there was a cashier in front of the door to get into the new born tiger area it would have been game over and I would have whipped out whatever money it took for me to go in there to play with that little tiger because it was so cute. The little guy was so playful. It is probably a good thing I didn’t go in there because I would most likely be in Thai jail right now for trying to steal a baby tiger.
Once we had our fix, we got back in our car and drove about 30 minutes back to our hotel.
We had about 2 hours here until we got picked up for our zip lining adventure so we got a little bit of lunch near by and then relaxed for a bit.
I tried an iced Thai green tea, an orange smoothie, and then a bread stuffed with tofu and mushrooms. The green tea was awesome because it tasted very similar to matcha, which I love. The orange smoothie came out basically like a slushy made with fresh squeezed orange juice. The bread was basically a small baguette with a slice in it like a hot dog, which was then stuffed with a garlicy, tofu-mushroom mixture, which was super tasty. Better yet, all of it cost only 80 baht! It was crazy to think that my two friends and I all ate for less than 6 dollars!
When we got back to the hotel we got to rest for just a little bit more until the second van came to pic us up. This time there was a total of 5 of us for the zip lining adventure. This zip lining excursion included zip lining, sort of high-ropes things, and abseiling, which I was super excited to try!
We drove the same way we did to the Tiger kingdom, but instead continued about another 20 minutes up a very winding road into the jungle. Once we got there, all the workers were super friendly, hilarious, and spoke awesome English! We quickly got our gear on and headed over to where our course started. Because I had my go pro camera with me, it just so happened that on some of their helmets they have go-pro mounts on them, so they let me hook my go-pro to the helmet mount, which allowed me to get some super cool shots!
I loved how half the zip lines we went on were super long, versus just one long one at the end. It was also nice that in between there were various sky-bridges, and rope related things to mix it up. On one of them I had to stop since I was about to pee laughing because one of the workers was bouncing the rope bridge. Still, I am not really sure what about it was SO funny, but I just could not stop laughing. I guess I was simply filled with pure, genuine joy.
Once we had our first abseiling experience. Of course then the workers changed the order so I was first. As well, none of us really new what abseiling was; all I knew for sure was it involved dropping from one level to the next, I just thought you’d be almost rappelling or lowered at a medium paced.
Once I was dangled I the air, I was dropped the first half of the 15 meters, then had to undo one of the hooks and was then dropped the rest of the distance… talk about an adrenaline rush. The free fall was kind of awesome and kind of addicting because I couldn’t wait for the second one. The funny kind of scary part was that after I had made the first half of the drop and unhooked myself the instructor at the top screamed wrong hook. At that point I basically accepted any injuries that were going to occur because there was nothing I could do about it anymore. Then I realized he was messing with me.
The scenery around the whole place was awesome because you really felt like you were in the jungle. At one point you could actually peak through a little bit of the mountains and see a little bit of the city, which was absolutely beautiful. The very last thing was the last abseiling experience. Of course, I had to be the first one to make the 40-meter drop. Similar to the last one, I dropped the first 20 meters and then the last 20 after unhooking myself. This one was awesome because you really felt the adrenaline rush of the free-fall. The cool part was that on the second fall, you sort of were going a bit more head first because you were hooked on from you back.
After during the walk back we passed a super beautiful waterfall and then enjoyed a free breakfast. To our surprise as well, we also received free shirts! On the way home we all couldn’t stop talking about how amazing this excursion was, as well as how happy we were we chose one where you did more than just zip line. If you ever find yourself in Chiang Mai and want to go zip lining, Eagle track zip lining is the way to go!! Tours can be booked through Viator.com, but we were able to book the tour through our hotel.
Once back at the hotel, we were surprising not tired yet, so started walking towards the Thae Pae gate to get ready to start exploring the Sunday market. Once we go there, it began to sprinkle, and the grey sky only meant one thing. It was about to storm… Thailand style.
At first it wasn’t so bad but after we walked 10 steps in the pouring rain and were practically soaked, it was time to run into the nearest shop. At one point while we were walking through the market in the monsoon, I found myself smiling, which resulted in me laughing because I had no idea why I could be so happy in the pouring rain, but after such a great day, how could you not be happy?
Luckily for us, we were right near the Wawee coffee shop, somewhere all of us wanted to try! So, we were able to seek shelter inside while also enjoying a delicious coffee! In traditional Chiang Mai fashion, the storm was over in about 30-45 minutes, which was basically the time it took for us to finish our drinks.
Once the rain was basically calmed, we went back outside in search of trying some new foods. By the time I had walked up and back through the extensive market, I was able to try a fried sandwich stuffed with crab, a big chunk of a large crab you had to eat off the shell this spoon, and mussel balls, which were my favorite. I didn’t have enough courage to try the freshly grilled squid on the stick yet because there were a lot of tentacle pieces, but I tasted a small piece that was less intimidating.
Once we were full, we walked back to our hotel and contemplated getting foot massages from the place next door. Instead we just went back to our rooms to get our rest before another long week of school. I know I’ve said this before, but one of the best feelings is going to bed with sore feet because you know you made the most out of your day. While I was falling asleep I found myself reflecting on how incredible to weekend was and how fortunate I was to be able to experience all of these incredible things. How can I not be anything but completely overjoyed?
Anyways, I hope you all have incredible days!!! My blogs will probably be a little less frequent this week, but once again, we shall see.