MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Entries in Tourism

Chiangmai Zoo
Many of Chiangmai's attractions seem to centre around animals, least of all with the elephant as a symbol of Thailand. Or maybe animals were just what we were interested in seeing, which might be obvious from the frequency of posts about tigers, elephants and snakes. It was inevitable that we'd end up at Chiangmai Zoo at some point and so we spent part of our last day there.

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Chiangmai Zoo neither outshined or underperformed when compared to any previous zoo we'd visited but did seem very expansive, with perhaps too much woodland or green space to walk through without any exhibits.

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The Beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for Views Over Chiangmai
Doi Suthep is a mountain to the west of town and seemed to be one of the main attractions for tourists as well as locals to visit. A pilgrimage up to the top was recommended by both our hotel and our guide book, as if it wasn't obvious enough by the name plastered on most of Chiangmai's bus taxis, the songthaews.

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Up on Doi Suthep, there are views across Chiangmai on one side, but the beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is the main draw for most visitors. It's the north's most holiest shrine.

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Songthaews and Other Transport in Chiangmai
We came across the unusual Songthaews in Chiangmai. Unusual because we had to get used to the idea that they were kind of like shared taxis, where the driver would transport a bunch of passengers who were all roughly heading in the same direction.

Songthaew

As you might imagine, this suits passengers who may want a cheaper ride at the cost of a longer journey, as the driver cruises the streets a little to pick up as many fares as he can.

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Elephant Rides, Baby Elephants and Elephants Bathing at the Maesa Elephant Camp
As clichéd as it is, we just couldn't visit Thailand without getting close to an elephant. We read about several elephant camps, some less-touristy which were further away from Chiangmai, offering more *authentic* elephant experiences where visitors get to "look after" an elephant for a few days and learn how to handle them.

Elephant-Seats

However, time and money was short for us, and so we settled for a simple half hour elephant ride at the fairly nearby (to Chiangmai) Maesa Elephant Camp. The camp was our last stop on a half day's worth of being driven around, where we also saw tiger cubs, snakes and shot some guns.

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King Cobra Chiangmai Show - Not for the Snake Shy
The King Cobra show was obviously not for the faint-hearted ophiophobic (fear of snakes) but for us, turned out surprisingly to be a barrel of laughs! The show was basically a half hour narrated introduction to several breeds of snakes as they were taken out of their boxes by various snake handlers in turn and paraded in the centre ring.

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There weren't many people in the audience - just us, a pair of English tourists (one of whom had ophiophobia) and a small Japanese family of three.

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