Extreme Weekend in Chiang Mai

To kick off an extreme weekend in the north of Thailand, we hopped on a plane Friday morning to Chiang Mai, which is about 430 miles away from Bangkok. We were welcomed by cool air and beautiful mountains and were ready for adventure! We had decided to go to Chiang Mai this weekend because the city was hosting the 41st Flower Festival to celebrate the end of the “cool” season. (I’m not quite sure how I’m going to handle the hot season when I thought the cool season was pretty hot!) During the weekend, there were parades, different markets, and displays of gorgeous flowers.

flower-festival

After getting off the plane on Friday, we took an hour trip up the mountain to a temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthe, but not before getting some delicious BB Burger. (We ended up going twice during the weekend to satisfy our American fast food and milkshake cravings.) The drive up the mountain was frightening, but luckily, we made it to the top, and the temple was beyond beautiful. We went at the perfect time—the sun was shining off the gold rooftops perfectly. The view was also spectacular—like everything I do and see here.

img_5372The view from the top of mountain looking down on Chiang Mai was beautiful—like all of us!

Since we have learned our Thai numbers, my friends and I are able to barter very well, and after the temple, we went to a market and got souvenirs (but not as many as we would get at the Sunday market). While my friends buy stuff for their parents, I like to treat myself, especially since I’m so easy to shop for (just kidding, Mom!).

img_5499The woman who took our picture made us throw up deuces before she would stop taking pictures.

The next morning, we got up early and went to the Flower Festival Parade. Each float was intricately decorated with bright colored flowers. We stood outside and watched for about an hour until we felt the start of a sunburn. We finished watching the parade from inside a café while eating cashew chicken and mango smoothies. Never in my life have I seen a parade last this long. It was still going on after four hours—when we left to do some extreme zip lining!

img_2489

We drove for about an hour and half into the jungle. We were all hoping that we weren’t going to die, but we felt pretty good since this company didn’t have as many accidents as other companies in the area. (EXTREME!) We were excited to do some zipping and kept making the dumbest jokes and faces to each other on the other side as we flew across the canopy. (The GoPro video of my face while screaming is pretty good—watch for it in our weekly video). We had two guides who loved joking with us. I had just jumped off the platform and the one said, “No, wait, come back!” I freaked out until I saw him and my friends laughing (thanks, guys!). At the end, we got certificates for being stupid and risking our lives. (They don’t really say that, but probably should.) That night, we found a Mexican restaurant with live music to celebrate surviving zip lining. The taquitos were so good, I thought I had actually gone to heaven. (There was even cheese—real cheese on them!) We also went around looking at all the flower displays around the town.

flower-festival-2

Most weekends, we would be on a plane on Sunday back to Bangkok. But this weekend, we decided to stay for the huge Sunday market, meaning we would miss school on Monday to do this. To continue our extreme weekend, we went whitewater rafting on Sunday. We took a two-hour drive to the Mae Taeng River, where we went rafting over many, many rapids—a few times I thought I was actually going to fall out of the raft! At one point, our raft got stuck and our guide, Ping Pong, was saying, “Jump!” I thought he meant to jump out; thankfully, he started yelling, “No!” before I did. Ping Pong was a lot of fun. He helped us splash every other rafter that came near us. For some reason, I didn’t think we would get wet during the trip. Man, was I wrong! In each rapid, the water basically went over my head, and by the end, we were soaked and bruised, but very pumped! We even saw elephants in the water while going down the river.

img_8603We got totally soaked by the water—even in one of the tame rapids.

That night at the market, we went even more extreme. We left the hotel at 7 p.m. and did not come back until 11 p.m. with so many bags that our arms could barely hold them all. I’m very good at bargaining and kept getting good deals because the stall workers thought it was “cute” (their words) when I used my Thai (what can I say, I’m cute in all aspects of what I do). It was a good thing I packed an extra duffle bag to fit all my stuff in.

On Monday, we had a mellow day. We visited another temple, which had tons of adorable puppies running around—and sadly, made all of us miss our pets. (I will be home for you in a few months, Sylvester!) We were all so exhausted from our extreme weekend that each one of us fell asleep on the plane. I was passed out before the plane even took off and didn’t wake up until we landed. It was a great weekend trip—and luckily (or surprisingly), no one ended up in the hospital this trip.

img_2704My shoe tan is top notch!

IMG_2517.JPGBirds were all over the city making me cling to my friends in fear when they got too close.

Chiang Mai was a beautiful city. I can’t wait to go back for Songkran!

 

 

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