Hobbes (kitling) wrote,

Travel Diary - Day 12 - Chiang Mai

Back in Chiang Mai, in a different hotel near the night market, my knees decided it would be a great time for an arthritis flare up. I’d kind of been expecting this and just glad it didn’t happen in the jungle. Being in different locations can cause immune reactions, which my kind of arthritis is, something about all the different germs and whatever in an unfamiliar place, stress is also a factor. And perhaps the biggest factor is the fact I decided not to take my arthritis medication with me. My meds comprise an injection once a fortnight. The injection needs to be kept refrigerated, the hassle of organising refrigeration (not even electricity in the jungle) combined with not wanting to take syringes to Thailand were a factor in my decision. At least I know the Humira is working. So I popped some Celebrex and lay around most of the day feeling sorry for myself.

In the afternoon we decided to try going for a walk, I don’t like motel rooms that much. We wandered down towards the river, finding a rather interesting temple and decided to go on one of the river cruises being offered. Not walking being an appealing option. The cruise was a Mae Ping River cruise. It left from the temple in Chang Mai heading out of the city and stopped at something called the ‘Farmer House’. The farmer house was basically a café with a lovely garden around it, with all kinds of fruit and vegetables all labelled. It kind of reminded me of a Thai version of one of the diggers club gardens. It was actually very cool to see all the plants that grow all the yummy Thai food.

Opportunistic Kitty in the temple

Mae Ping River Cruise

Farmer House


We’d signed up to visit the Night Safari that evening. The Night Safari is a kind of zoo, kind of like Werribee Zoo in that there is a small walking around bit, but most of the animals can be seen on a bus tour (called a tram tour). For this tour we had a driver who was also the guide. He picked up us and another couple and we went to the zoo. We walked around the trail to see the animals. Tripadvisor had suggested I take a torch. The guide also had a torch. It was basically spotlighting at night. We walked through the trail, some animals in cages, others in open enclosures. Lots of albino animals – Thais seem to think white animals are very lucky. Unlike other Asian zoo’s I’ve been in, the cage sizes seemed reasonable and the animals didn’t seem distressed. There were very few crowds in this section. There was a ban on flash photography (which meant we really didn’t get many good photos given it was dark. I’m not sure how the ban on flash photography protects the animals when we were allowed to wave torches everywhere – but anyway.

The ban on flash photography means I basically have no good photos taken at the Night Safari

It was then time to board the English speaking tram. We were encouraged to buy baskets of food in the boarding area, however I didn’t. The tram then drove around through a variety of different animal enclosures, we were told which animals could be fed and as the animals were fed from the tram, naturally they all came up to the tram, some of them could be touched. I wasn’t comfortable with this, I understand why the zoo is doing it, because people want up close encounters with animals and good photos. If the people didn’t want it, the zoo wouldn’t do it. I feel much more comfortable with Melbourne Zoo and its emphasis on conservation and the well being of the animals. But to be honest, I think the zebras like being fed carrots..

There was a water/ laser show. There was a ladyboy song and dance show and there were a variety of animals we could touch. You could also pay 300 baht to have your photo taken with a tiger. The whole place felt like part zoo, part theme park. I didn’t see any sign of mistreated or unhealthy animals. But I still feel a bit uncomfortable with it. Which is kind of silly when you consider I had signed up to visit the Tiger Kingdom the next day.


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