Traveling Thailand During COVID | Part. 2

In January of 2021, I had to opportunity to visit Thailand for several months on a group trip. It was an amazing time and I want to share my experience with you. Here is part 2 of this series about my time in Thailand. If you haven't read part 1, check it out by clicking here.

Statue in Buddhist Temple outside Chiang Mai, Exploration Always
Statue in Buddhist Temple outside Chiang Mai

As I mentioned in the previous article, we had an amazing time spending several days in Chiang Mai. After three or four days in the city, we left to go for a bike ride. We were told beforehand that we would do a bit of mountain biking, which I was genuinely excited for. What I did not understand was that Thai people are fantastic mountain bikers and can peddle forever without getting tired.

Mountain Biking Through Thailand With an Injured Hand, Exploration Always
Mountain Biking Through Thailand With an Injured Hand

The first day, we rode approximately 60 kilometers (over 35 miles) and almost all uphill (in very intense heat). The hardest part wasn't actually the peddling but the seats. These were not mountain biking seats and riding 60 km on a tiny seat does nothing short of making you incapable of sitting down. Additionally, I had noticed the chain on my bike was acting strange and coming loose sometimes. When I mentioned it to the guides, they either shrugged or tugged at it and told me it was fixed. Unfortunately for me, they didn't try that hard to fix it. While riding down a large hill; my bike chain came off, wrapped around my foot, and threw me onto the concrete. While I wasn't seriously injured, I did mess up my left hand and wrist pretty bad.

Hanging Off the Sticky Waterfalls in Thailand, Exploration Always
Hanging Off the Sticky Waterfalls in Thailand

After finally finishing THE FIRST DAY we went to a nice hostel and relax. The next day, we were up by 6:30 am to continue riding. The second day was significantly better, even though we were told it would be the hardest day. While there were difficult hills, they weren’t nearly as long and you could push through them and we rode about 45 km that day (15 less than the day before). The last day was similar to the first and I was starting to really feel my hand injury. In fact, when the biking trip was done, I had some temporary nerve damage in my hand for about three weeks! While biking was certainly not my favorite activity we did, it did have its moments. We saw beautiful scenery of the Thai countryside. We visited a beautiful Thai temple (Wat) which was my favorite one we visited. We also got to visit an amazing place called Sticky Waterfalls. It is an amazing park in Northern Thailand, where the waterfalls are carved from limestone. This means that even though they're wet, you can get enough traction on the waterfall to climb up it. I would definitely recommend doing some biking in Thailand, just make sure you understand what you're signing up for and that Thai biking guides do not mess around.

After biking, we went back to Chiang Mai to spend more time in the city. Some of the great things we did were take a Thai cooking class, hit bars and clubs, and going to street food vendors. After a few more days in Chiang Mai, we finally left for a place we had all been waiting for, the elephant rescue sanctuary.

Happy Elephant Home, an Elephant Rescue Sanctuary Outside Chiang Mai, Exploration Always
Happy Elephant Home, an Elephant Rescue Sanctuary Outside Chiang Mai

Spending a week with elephants is such an amazing experience. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. We spent time gathering and preparing their food and feeding them. We cleaned their sleeping quarters as well as some of the other areas they roam in. We dug a massive pit and gave them a mud bath as well as went swimming with them in a river. Not only are they massive and powerful, they are extremely intelligent, playful, and aware of people and their surroundings. Aside from me being stepped on by a baby elephant, not one of them came close to getting injured because the adult elephants have incredible spacial awareness. While I would love for everyone to have the experience I had with them, it is only because of deforestation and elephant abuse that they were in the sanctuary in the first place. In an ideal world, nobody would be able to get as close as I did because elephants would be wild. But unfortunately, that is not the case so make sure if you interact with them, do so in an ethical sanctuary. For more on that check out our article on Thai Elephant Sanctuaries.

There’s so much more to tell about my time in Thailand and I'm so excited to share it all. In part three you'll hear about the city of Pai, navigating wildfires, and my time in mountain villages. So stay tuned and check out more from Exploration Always to learn travel tips, get ideas, hear fun travel stories, and more.