Bangkok, Thailand… I was warned of its chaos but it still somehow surpassed its reputation.  Luckily, I was taken in by a dear friend and her family, it truly made my time there enjoyable (thank you Ika).  On my last night we went out just like old times so that I was properly sent off to the airport with just a few hours sleep and a slight headache.  

As I took a taxi to my Chiang Mai guesthouse (hotel), my body and mind finally began shake off the Bangkok hustle. The laid back atmosphere of the Old City reminds me of a beach town in the mountains, as if you should be walking around barefoot with a coconut in your hand.  The winding streets are lined with tons of little restaurants (they all seem to feature the same menu), hostels, shops, and a temple around every corner.  The air is filled with the sound of birds chirping and motorbikes zooming down the narrow streets swerving around dogs that stroll wherever they please.

I arrived at the Elephant Nature Park office early and was immediately greeted by a very happy dog that still carried the shave marks and scars of his recent amputee surgery. This was the first sign of my adventure to come…

As we entered the valley and knowing we were close to our destination, it was quite a shock to say the least to see the trees on the side of the road part to reveal elephants strapped with saddles, carrying people, winding up the mountainside.    

And then we arrived.