Day 159 - Wat Suan Dok & Chiang Mai's Night Safari

Today we visited the last Temple we have planned to see in Chiang Mai, Wat Suan Dok.  This Temple is quite different from the others we have seen to date because of all the white structures in front of the temple building and the Suthep.  We soon realized that these structures are actually tombstones for important monks, and apparently we were strolling through a cemetery! 

Regardless, the place is still very beautiful, and we enjoyed our visit as it was also practically free of other tourists. 

We popped inside just for a few minutes to take a quick look around, mostly because it seemed like there was some school event going on and we did not want to be in the way. 

After visiting Wat Suan Dok, we went to a nearby restaurant and had some delicious Thai food that was probably more suitable for breakfast, but we didn't mind as it was still quite yummy.

Though we took a taxi to the temple, it was not far and we decided to walk back to the hotel.  The sun in Chiang Mai can get quite hot, and we felt like we were melting during the mile or so walk back to our hotel.  No wonder we never see other people walking around!  I can't imagine how hot it gets in the summer, as Miss B told us that this is actually their winter.  In this instance we are totally ok with chasing winter...I really think we would roast if we visit Thailand in summer time!  

In the evening, Miss B came to our hotel and we all headed out to a restaurant for a quick meal before going to Chiang Mai's Night Safari.  The food was ok and the service was a bit awkward.  We felt like we were interrupting the important conversation of the waitresses when we asked for water!  I would say they are not a fan of tourists, but they were even a bit rude to Miss B who spoke with them in Thai.  Bizarre! 

Chiang Mai's Night Safari is a kind of zoo where the main feature, as the name implies, is its night time safari, one of only a few of its kind in the world.  It is a pricey tourist attraction, by South East Asia standards that is.  Speaking of South East Asia standards, I was a little disappointed with how some animals are treated for the shows, however the actual safari part was great.  Hannah and especially Kian love animals, so they enjoyed being near them and even feeding some of them.

There was always some sort of of show going in the main areas of the park, either a group of dancers, or a fountain light and music show.  It is definitely a very entertaining place to visit.

As I mentioned before, I was really not a fan of how they treat some of the animals, and the tiger show was a good example.  It seemed to me that the tigers and lions were mistreated as the trainers kept feeding them food to make them do their tricks.  The animals really didn't look very happy.  I tried to explain this to Kian, and he definitely listened to me, but as a 5 year old he still was mesmerized by the way the trainers interacted with these wild and giant cats!  And to be fair, it was pretty amazing to see so many lions and tigers so up close.

The safari was the best part of the visit.  Everyone boards a tram that actually drives in complete darkness.  It remains a mystery to me how the driver actually saw where he was driving.  We were able to buy carrots and bananas and were told to feed only certain animals, such as the giraffes and elephants.  We were specifically told multiple times to NOT take pictures with the flash and to NOT feed the zebras.  Sadly this was not understood by some fellow tourists who kept taking pictures with flash on and kept feeding the zebras, who ended up following/chasing us for quite some time! 

Only a few of our pictures came out well enough to share, because unlike others we actually kept our camera flash off.  Among them are two of my favorites, the elephant that sprayed water on the train and, I am convinced, started laughing at everyone, and the bear with the bat logo on his chest!  Nature can be so amazing!

Once again, we are totally grateful to Miss B for driving us all the way to the Chiang Mai Night Safari, which is actually about 20-30 minutes outside of the city center. 

The kids had a blast and fell asleep in the car ride back to the hotel. 

Tomorrow, we are going to play with elephants and tigers!!  Oh My! :)