New Friends, Elephants and Hedgehogs in Chiang Mai, by Annabelle

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, November 26 – Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This post is very long because I figured out how to do the voice messaging and it writes your words for you as you talk, which is AWESOME cause you don’t have to type!!!!!!!!!!! But then me and my mom had to edit it. That’s me talking to the tablet in our hotel.

When we arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand we are all pretty tired and hungry. We get off the bus and we know we are pretty far from our hostel and we know we don’t want to walk. So we get on a red truck (a “Songthaew”) and tell them where we were going, and they stop where the map tells us to stop. So we get off at a big building that says 4LIFE Supplements and we’re supposed to be staying at a place called 131 Hostel, so we’re kind of confused 🤔. We turn the corner and see a tiny sign on the tiny mail box that says 131 Hostel so we go over there and we look inside the door and see a little white board that says “Welcome to 131 Hostel” and it has an arrow pointing up stairs. So we climb one flight of stairs and then a woman comes out of the doorway and asks us if we need to check in. We say yes and she leads us in to a little room with some food out on tables and some couches and then checks us in. After that we go up one more flight of stairs and we go into a very blue room with a living room and two beds and a bathroom and two closets. She gives us our key and then leaves so we put our bags down and then take a look around. It wasn’t really dirty but it wasn’t the cleanest place we’ve stayed. What we’re all worried about is the beds- if they’re going to be hard or if they’re going to be soft, so we all go over to the beds and hope that they’re soft, we all sit down and they are kind of just like cushions on wood but pretty comfortable, better than our Bangkok hostel anyway.

So we’re all very tired and so we lay down and almost fall asleep but as we’re about to fall asleep we hear a knock on the door so we get up and answer the door and the woman is at the door to give us bottled water and then leaves. We are all kind of hungry so we want to get up and go get something to eat, so me and my mom and my dad (my sister stays home) go out to get some food. We get some fruit and a croissant at 7-Eleven and we go home and eat our fruit and then we relax for a little bit. After that we went out for a little bit of dinner at KFC. Me and Amelia had never gone there before. Amelia thought hers was very spicy. I thought the first taste wasn’t spicy but the aftertaste was VERY spicy!

The next day we got up and we all did some blogging, then we got invited to go to a pool with another American family with two boys named Max and Henry. They were from Seattle but had moved to California and were traveling for a year too [Mom note – thank you Kristin for the intro!!]. You should check out their blog which is Transcontinental Drift 2.0. It was super fun to meet other American kids traveling, virtually doing the same exact things as us, but going to some different countries like Portugal and Namibia.

After the pool we went to dinner with Max and Henry and I had pork satay which was AMAZING, I love pork satay. That was a really fun day. Then we went home and went to bed because we were all so tired from the pool day.

On Wednesday morning we got up early and we were going on a bike tour, so we all ate breakfast and then our guide picked us up at the hotel across the street. Then we went to the bikes in the parking lot and we were doing the bike tour with a couple from Vancouver Island. They were very nice, they were doing a culinary tour for 6 or 7 weeks.

On the bike tour we went to a former leper colony founded by a missionary, which is someone from a church who goes and volunteers to help people. It was a big open space and had a bunch of little houses so it was cool to see where they had lived and worked while they got better. We went into the gift shop and saw some of the people who used to have leprosy making artwork and cards. We bought some cards and watched the people making them.

After that we kept on going with our bike tour and saw some farms where they grow mushrooms and fruit and vegetables and keep FROGS for eating! That was so sad, I didn’t like that part. We also saw a couple of temples and old buildings, and people cooking sticky rice inside bamboo. They had really cute puppies! Then we had lunch. I had fried rice with chicken and lots of rice crackers. It wasn’t as fun as the tour with our guide in Sukhothai, but it was still really fun.

After the bike tour we went back to our hostel and mom wasn’t feeling so good. My dad was still hungry so he went out. Me and Amelia stayed with my mom, we all fell asleep pretty quickly after that because we were so tired and weren’t feeling that well and we had a big day ahead of us.

The next morning we woke up and got on clothes to go see elephants at Elephant Nature Park. We got picked up by a van and drove out to the mountains. On the way someone in the car got a little car sick so we had to stop for a couple of minutes, but other than that the drive was fine. Once we arrived we checked in and paid and met with our tour guide Mint, which was probably a nickname, but I liked it because it made me think of mint chocolate chip ice cream. First we went to a balcony and we fed the elephants. It was so cool because you held the food in your hands and the elephants sucked it up with their trunk. See the pictures down below.

After feeding we got to walk around and meet the elephants. The Elephant Nature Park was founded to help elephants that were hurt (like the one below) and needed help. You can watch a new documentary on iTunes called Love and Bananas. We haven’t seen it yet because we can’t get iTunes our tablets, but the trailer is really good and it made my mom cry so I recommend watching it. A lot of the elephants had stepped on landmines or had not been treated correctly so the one woman Lek Chailert decided to create an Elephant Nature Park and have people donate money and come see all the elephants. So back to our day…

After we met all the elephants and took pictures we got to get lunch. It was a ginormous buffet and it had all sorts of stuff. Amelia’s plate looked like a rainbow, it was so cool.

After lunch we went and watched the elephants bathe. One of the elephants was very stubborn and would not go in the water but its mahout, which is the person who takes cares of that particular elephant, was trying to get it in and he was pouring water on the elephant with a bucket.

After that we walked around and got to meet two of the elephant families and the oldest elephants. It was so funny because one of the baby elephants was very mischievous. When the nurses were making tamarind treats for the elephants’ health the baby elephant came running up and tried to steal it but the nurse packed away the stuff quickly and got on the motorcycle that was connected to the cart and tried driving away, but the baby elephant started chasing the cart! It ended up knocking all the stuff off of it and stealing a bag of rice that fell off the cart and eating it. It was really funny.

One of the elephants was 106 years old- can you believe that? Like literally not even a person is that old, well maybe a person is, but that’s not the point.

After seeing the families we had a little bit of time to get packed up and ready to get back into the van. When we got back into the van and started driving home we were all talking about how fun that was. When we got home we had them drop us off at the Old Town and we walked through the Night Bazaar and went to Starbucks to pick us up a little bit. We got buns with pork inside of them and they were so good. After that we were all super tired so we got a Grab (like Uber but for Asia) home and went to sleep instantly.

The next day we woke up early again- shocker- and did some school. Then we got on our swimsuits and went to a Grand Canyon water park. It was the funnest day of all- we met a bunch of families from America who are traveling and we met two girls named Delia and Zoe. Their mom is an author and a photographer- her new book is called How to be a Girl if you want to read it.

The water park was amazing and after the waterpark we took a songthaew with Delia, Zoe and their mom and yelled “Sa-wa-dee-kaw!!” which is Hello in Thai at all the people on the sidewalk and in cars and on mopeds. It was really cool because one motorcyle passed us like 6 times and waved at us every time.

We all met up with Max and Henry and their family at Maya Mall and got amazing food and then went the arcade. We watched a really good person dancing on one of the arcade games. After Maya Mall we said we would meet up again sometime later and went home and to sleep!

The next day we did some school and then we moved from our hostel to a very nice hotel called ISTY stay in style. It was a very nice place.

We were going to meet all of the people we met at the Grand Canyon water park at the Saturday Night Market so we got dressed in flowy non-hot clothes and headed out to walk to the Night Market. When we met everybody we started walking because we were all pretty hungry. We all kind of got food at different places at night stands, we smelled soaps and we looked at different foods. Yes one of them was alligator, I did not get that nor did anyone else. Besides that we got little Pom-Pom hair ties and by the end of that all we wanted to do was go to 7-Eleven and feel the air conditioning and then go home and sleep and that’s pretty much what we did. By the way at 7-Eleven we saw our first Sour Patch Kids in ages and so we are really excited but the line was too long so we didn’t get them. Other than that, that night was really fun and I forgot to mention that my dad wasn’t there because he was going on a run with the Chiang Mai Hash House Harriers which is a running group and they have groups all over. So we went home to our hotel and slept the night perfectly.

The next day was my dad’s birthday and what he said was what we did, so of course he chose a hike but it was only 1 mile so it was okay. We got on our hiking clothes and we went on a hike called the Monks Trail. It was a really fun hike and at the top there was a big temple and a bunch of little temples and buildings, see the pictures down below.

After the hike we went down and we were really hungry, so we went to a barbecue place across the street from our hotel. There’s a big buffet of different uncooked meats and noodles and you have to choose your meats and noodles and go back to your table and cook them on your grill. I didn’t really want to because I didn’t feel comfortable cooking my own meat when I didn’t know how long to. My parents really enjoyed it but my sister didn’t feel good so she didn’t eat a lot, but besides that, that was a really fun day and my dad enjoyed his birthday, I hope.

The next day we did some school and then got our swimming stuff on again because we were going to go to the pool with Delia and Zoe and Max and Henry so we left at 1:15 and arrived at the pool at 2:00. We had an amazing day with Delia, Zoe, Max and Henry and after we went to the pool we were all starving and so we went to Maya Mall and got something to eat. After that it was time to say goodbye to Delia and Zoe because they had to catch a flight at 4 in the morning so it was a really sad goodbye and we were all sad but since we were so tired we just fell asleep quickly.

Photo credit Julie A. Martin for beautiful pic of all the kids together in front of the blue tiles!

The next day we woke up and got some blogging done. Then me and my dad went out and we went shopping and got some stuff for tomorrow’s road trip [to Chiang Rai] and a Christmas tree, a baby one. Then we came home and decorated our Christmas tree.

Then my mom and sister went to a temple and me and my dad went to the Hedgehog Café. It was awesome there. We got to sit on the outside of a hedgehog cage and the hedgehog was in the middle of the table and we got to hold it. It was amazing and since I love hedgehogs it was like a dream room because everything was decorated in hedgehog stuff. There were also some guinea pigs which were cool to feed.

After the Hedgehog Café me and my dad were kind of hungry cuz we didn’t get anything to eat at the café, only stuff to drink. So we searched up on Google Maps “pork buns” because we really like pork buns and there was a steamed bun place about a mile and a half away. So we went to the steamed bun place and it was so good. I got a barbecue pork and a chocolate lava bun which were amazing, and my dad got a chicken and a barbecue pork bun which she said was great. He also got a coconut custard bun which he said was AMAZING.

After the pork bun place me and my dad walked home and met my mom and my sister who had went to the temple and out for some dinner at a tree house place – you can see pictures of them below.

Me and my dad waited for them on the rooftop patio of our hotel which was really nice cuz there were bean bags and it was very pretty to see the whole town off of the balcony.

The next day we woke up and had an amazing breakfast – you can see me in a picture below eating mashed potatoes, waffles, hot dogs and scrambled eggs.

After that we went upstairs and packed all of our bags and hoped we didn’t leave anything. Then we went downstairs and we checked out of the hotel and said our goodbyes and thank yous and got a red truck to the bus station. We got into the station and went to get our bus, we had about 45 minutes so we kind of looked around the place and went to the bathroom and all the necessary things you have to do when you’re in a bus station. When we saw our bus we went and put our bags in the bottom and got onto the bus. The bus was about 4 hours so we did some reading and some playing games on the tablets.

After the bus ride was over we arrived in Chiang Rai and I should probably stop here because otherwise I’ll be telling you about another blog someone’s going to write about Chiang Rai so I hope you enjoyed this post and remember to keep reading. Goodbye!!

Categories: AnnabelleTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. This post was so amazing. I love all the details you included. It’s great that you got to spend time with other American families as well. You must have loved the hedgehog cafe! This morning Desmond said there was a girl in his class that looks like you. I’m so happy that he remembers you and still thinks of you. Have a great Christmas!


  2. I enjoyed reading your post and pictures, Annabelly😄 You’re right. It was long and all the fun things you did made your story so much fun to read. The elephants are such beautiful creatures. I was glad to read that the ones you met were being taken care of so well and lived in a safe place.
    Today is Monday, December 17. Thanks for sharing your adventures and pictures.
    Love, Auntie Caroline. I live close to Boston.


  3. Hi A’belle… and tired Sister “who stayed home at the hotel” and Daddy & Momma!

    In the first picture (not the one of you in the hotel net) I see an “old guy” in the background. He’s not a Thai Guy, but he has a suitcase, so he must be a traveler… which is encouraging for me to see old guys traveling Far & Wide. That could be me some day!… except some days I feel like the 106 year old elephant (and probably look like him too!) and think maybe I should just stay put.

    7-Eleven & KFC & Starbucks?… REALLY!!… while Far & Wide in Chiang Mai…!!??… tsk… tsk… tsk. We don’t even have “WrapMasters” here!
    Now… the pork satay… much better choice, I’d say. (Very surprised to see all those purveyors of Western style fast food over there!)

    What are you wearing under the helmet-hats at Grand Canyon Water Park??

    Must have been a welcome respite to be able to spend some time with peers…aka… kid friends… instead of 24/7 with “you-know-who”…!!

    No worries, A’belle… as long as you keep writing, we’ll keep reading!
    (If you could please, provide the list of necessary things one must do in a bus station and I’ll keep it as reference for when I travel by bus again.
    Thank You!)

    Kisses And Hugs… As Big As An Elephant…!!


  4. Loved your descriptions Annabelle. Looks like you are having such an amazing experience!! Love to you and your family


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