Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

So we head on to Ayutthaya, a small town which boasts many temples and wats and was once the centre of old Siam, and also our first rain since arriving in Thailand!
After a few days here, we decided to head north, reaching the old capital of Chiang Mai, the former capital of the Lanna kingdom. Our main point for being here was to go to the wonderful Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary for retired, injured and rescued elephants, which allows them to both create their own social groups as in the wild and learn the basics of any creatures natural instincts, foraging for food etc. It was a dream of a young girl, Lek, which came into fruition as a life long dedication to saving the elephants, both work and natural, from the persecution and mistreatment at the hands of man. Her team has created an amazing place over the last 15 years and from 4 elephants has now grown to a colossal 35! we got to feed them and bathe them aswell as being allowed to join into the most personal and intimate moment for Lek and her young babies, the daily lullaby she sings to them as the get ready to sleep. Absolutely fantastic day and great food for thought.
During our week stay in the city, we got to hang out with the guys from Naga Tattoo who took us out for the night and a different view of modern Thai life. They took us under their wing and really are a cool bunch of guys. We ended up tattooing each other until 5am one night, so a little souvenir for our time here!!
From here, we took a bus at a truly unholy time to get up to a boat station, from where we would take a longboat 4 hours along the river to get us to Chiang Rai, which was much nicer than dealing with more buses!!  We went to see the various hilltribes that reside in the Northwest of the Thai/Burmese border, including the Akha, Karen, Hmong and Lahu. It was a little bit of a tourist zoo, but as a working group of people in a working village, the sentiments where there. Following this, we then went to the yet unfinished (60 years to go!) White Temple in Rong Khun, the self financed vision of contemporary Buddhist artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. His life long project will be finished long after his death, so a programme to train 2 consecutive classes of students to carry out his vision has been set up, plus a team of artists and sculptors working 17hours a day to keep the plan on track. truly jaw dropping in its nature and a heritage sight in the making.
From here we leave Thailand and head to our new country of Laos!
                                                          One of the Wats in Ayutthaya
 As as this, cool Buddha face in the roots of the tree. And you weren't allowed to take pictures unless you where kneeling , so as to be at the same level as the Buddha face

                                              Monitor lizards were all over the place

                                                       Nothing better than two big black.................................roosters
                                                     Kittie thought Kiley was its Mummy
 "Baby-girl" the only baby elephant that you could touch "Baby-boy" was too naughty for that

 This is "Supa-Naughty-Boy" (pronounced very fast with Thai accent) he needs two Mahuts (trainers) at all times

                                        This one gives kisses to everyone who wants them.... stickyyyy
                                      Lek giving out snacks before singing her lullaby (Que Sera Sera)

              Lek was singing into this elephants trunk and then it decided to give me a go too :)
                                                                    Naga Crew
                                  I dont know how an apprentice can afford a Chevy this cool
                                               They don't beat around the bush in Thailand
 Shy after receiving his face spider from "The Balance Saint" (Kileys new name, whatever that means)
                                                        Mr Spin (as in Spin Doctor)

                Small Chinese immigrant tribe, relocated to Thailand after the WW2. The Yao
      The Lahu hilltribe girl.. those leg rings look very painful and leave pretty gnarly scars
 The Karen hilltribe, the rings dont actually make their necks longer, but depresses their collarbones

                              Little Lahu girl with tunnels allready bigger than any of ours haha
                                                                 The White Temple
                                    Gnarly hands of the white temple.. Wolverine is in there

                                                  They even bothered with white fish

                                                                  Thats the toilets!!
 Same guy designed this clock tower which plays music and changes color at 7pm every night.. pretty epic and very loud



  1. So amazing pics. Hope you're having a fantastic trip around the world..

  2. So many cool places you guys are visiting! I'm looking forward to more stories!!!


  3. cant wait till my trip to ayutthaya next week