I CAN’T WAIT to show you my time at Chai Lai Orchid! It is a nature retreat inside of an elephant camp just outside Chiang Mai, Thailand. We got to the nature retreat last Friday. The moment I got out of the van, I saw a lot of elephants strolling around a dirt patch. Then we crossed a suspension bridge to the café area, where we were greeted with some Thai iced tea by the friendly staff members. After eating at the lit up café, we went to bed early so we could get ready to trek to a waterfall the next day. I liked the room because I’m a mosquito magnet and the bed had a mosquito net around it. When we woke up we had a great buffet breakfast. I had toast and juicy watermelon! Then we hopped into the back of a truck with a family with two kids, Micah and Kyla, and drove to the start of the trek. We walked for 25-30 minutes and saw lots of interesting things: a plant that would curl up when touched, corn fields and rice patties, and we even saw a man-faced bug! When we got to the waterfall, we all swam in the water, even Molly!
It was cold but not too much, though I would recommend bringing a towel. We hiked for another 25-30 minutes to a smaller waterfall that was warmer than the last and had lunch there. My time here was even better with Micah and Kyla because it was nice to have some people around my age doing the same stuff as us. Then we hiked through a hill village with roofs made from leaves and bamboo back to our truck. We sped down a dirt road with the warm air blowing against my face. We hopped on a bamboo raft and rafted down a narrow river with lots of other people also on rafts back to the Chai Lai Orchid. When we got back to Chai Lai Orchid, we immediately started to wash a baby elephant, 4 year old Dong Dee! We stood in the river and scrubbed the baby and threw water on her. I also got to sit on her! My mom rode her; I chose not to. It looked scary and I preferred watching more than actually touching her. Then the next morning we left to return to Chiang Mai for the rest of our trip. I really want to go back to Chai Lai Orchid again when the river is higher. My favorite part was going on the bamboo raft. It was made so the driver could step around to shift the raft around rocks and other rafts. I splashed other rafters, then they splashed me back. It was really exciting! And I think if you’re in Thailand, you’re going to want to stay at Chai Lai. It’s a great wildlife experience! Bye for now! 🙂