Found a lovely guesthouse on an ideal block in Chiang Mai, a clean and developed city with temples scattered around vintage clothing shops and tasty eateries, it definitely appeals to my pallet. Took a guided tour for three days of trekking, elephant riding, camping and rafting for the low price of 1,200 baht (about $36 usd) through the mountains. Actually saved money doing it. A bit of a touristy thing to do but hey who can go to Thailand and not ride an elephant once? Not something I will ever do again, sad in a bit of the same way visiting a zoo can be. Found the BEST bakery in all of Asia thus far. A little Thai woman makes homemade yogurt & museli, muffins, breads, and vegan treats alike. You can smell the bakery before you see it, I went twice a day while I was there.
Pai was one of my favorite places in Thailand by far. Staying on an organic farm helped to make my time there really special. Being the kings birthday all kinds of celebrations were taking place and it was a relief to stay a little on the out skirts of town. Every night the streets were filled with street vendors selling amazing treats of a wide variety and Thai tourists on vacation happy to cheer on their king. I still dream of the dumplings filled with black beans but sweeter than chocolate. We walked along as lanterns floated toward the moon, a contribution to the king. Sat by fires along the river and smoked in bliss. By day it was warm on our farm and rising early to hang in the rice fields and do yoga in complete peace and tranquility was a splendid way to start the day. Meeting new friends from all around the world we played music, danced, went to hot springs and strolled all over town to engage in the festivities. I will also be revisiting Pai on my second tour and am looking forward to seeing what it's like when it's not so busy!