We woke up at the hill tribe lodge and meet Waza for breakfast, and you guessed it, a buffet breakfast.
Today we drive to back to Chiang Mai, but first stop is at the ELEPHANTS. We go to the Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, which is a sanctuary for Elephants. Many of the local tourist places that tout riding them are very bad to visit. The owner of the ENP tells us his story, the story of each elephant, and why he treats them all differently here.
We need to dress in some local garb, and so that the elephants kind of recognize us as someone who wants to help with them and feed them.
They eat so much food! After hearing all of the historical information we finally get to go meet the elephants. There are 6 of them today to be with us today. They are ready and lined up for snacks! Today we all feed them snacks of bananas and sugar cane. They are very gentle with their trunks. They can very easily take a banana from your hands. Sometimes they’ll hold on to 20-30 bananas and sugar cane before stuffing it into their mouths! We all took turns and fed them many times for about 20 minutes.
From here we walked through the landscape and hills and stopped every once and a while to learn some more about the care of them and what it takes. They try to grow as much of the food on site, but they cannot grow enough to meet their needs, so they buy organic only food from local suppliers.
Sometimes the elephants stop and scratch on a tree, which is kind of funny to watch. They are so good with their trunks that they can pick up a stick off the ground to scratch their backs or bellies with.
The owner carries a very large knife, and he kindly explains why since some people might be apprehensive. He said it’s not ever for use against elephants or people. Mostly to cut food, plants in the way, and for snakes! Cobras can be particularly vicious as he explains, but he’s not afraid of them anymore.
After the elephant super adventure we had more time this afternoon. Waza gave us the option of feeding and petting tigers, snake shows, or ATV’ing. The snake and tiger shows don’t seem very responsible to me so we went ATV’ing. I’ve been on an ATV once before about 18 years ago, but this was different. We booked the hour long tour, paid for Waza to be our guest and come with us this time. After the wait period, and mini orientation, we set out in town through the trails. Aiden wasn’t quite big enough to have his own ATV, so he rode with me. Chrissy and Waza seemed a little apprehensive… lol. The manager of the ATV place told Aiden to come back next year, and she’ll let him ride on his own! We whizzed through the streets and back trails of the area and had so much fun! We eventually got back to the test track that had a mud pit and had 15 minutes to buzz around as many times as we wanted. I opted to drift through the mud so many times I got the ATV stuck, and stalled it out. Our guide was a little perturbed that he had to traverse some mud to rescue us free our ATV. We eventually went through a couple more times and got some epic videos of drifting through the mud. At the end we were SO DIRTY, and covered is mud. So gladful they gave us coveralls, helmets, and shoes to wear, instead of our own. At the end I still hosed myself off to get the mud off.
Back to RatiLanna, for the new years party! It’s much more crowded at the hotel now.
The hotel had a massive party lined up for us to enjoy. We had a table reservation time of about 8pm, and we wandered down to a big party. There were no less than 15 different buffet stations. This was a complete 5 star buffet. There was a sushi station, charcuterie station, pasta station, bbq station, fruit, dessert island… man, we couldn’t have eaten better. Plus an open bar, all night long. There was a stage of performers all night long too. A mix of Thai, American-Thai, and general karaoke that kept us entertained all night long. There were several video game stations that Aiden frequented all night long for treats or party favors. Some of the party favors were mini fire-works for at midnight. At midnight there was a champagne toast and people that had party poppers set them off. I had several by now, and they ended up being a hot mess. The popper exploded glitter everywhere. I also ended up dumping the rest of the glitter over Chrissy’s head which ended up being a mess alll over the hotel room for the coming days.