After two weeks with Logan’s parents it was time to say ‘goodbye’ as they continued on with their holiday and we returned to our current reality of exploring Chiang Mai further.
Wat Jed Yod
This temple was quite close to our apartment and we discovered it one day when we were out geocaching. It happens to be one of the most important and oldest temples in Chiang Mai and the grounds were quite large, with some amazing structures and trees to wander among. We had entered through the main gate and needed to make our way through the grounds towards another entrance to look for the geocache.We found the cache under a sign and recorded the date and our details, pleased to see that a fellow Kiwi had placed/started this particular cache in November 2016. We walked back through the huge trees and watched a large group of little squirrels playing amongst the branches. While this was a bit of an accidental discovery, it certainly was a beautiful one and a very tranquil location.
Elephant Rescue National Park
We had long researched visiting an elephant sanctuary or rescue centre while in Chiang Mai and there were plenty to choose from. After much sifting through brochures, reading reviews and contacting a few places, we chose to visit the Elephant Rescue National Park. As it was such an amazing day and experience it needed its own blog post – which can be read in full here.
Wat Chedi Luang & Monk Chat
Logan had read up on the opportunity to interact with young monks to help them learn more and strengthen their English. We thought this would be a great experience for the whole family, particularly the boys. One location for ‘monk chats’ was Wat Chedi Luang, which is a famous temple in the middle of the city square that we also wanted to visit so two birds…. Foreigners enter through a gate to the left of the main gate and pay a nominal cost, adults are 40 THB/$1.70 NZD and children (under 135cm) 20 THB/$0.77 NZD. While Lincoln isn’t under 135cm they weren’t specifically measuring the children and he was charged at 20 baht and Braxton was free. The temple was beautiful and a very interesting experience as generally when we visit temple grounds we don’t go inside, but on this occasion I dressed appropriately (covered my knees and shoulders) as we did wish to look around inside. Most temples do have clothing to borrow or rent if you do turn up in not quite the correct attire, and this was also the case at this temple but it wasn’t required as I passed the once-over looks of those at the entrance gates.We looked through the main temple and around the grounds and marvelled at the structures and how much work would go into them when first constructed. Following this we headed to the ‘monk chats’ area but sadly there were no monks around at that time and they wouldn’t be back for another hour or so. With only one entry per ticket and the midday worms starting to bite we had to forgo waiting until they came back. A little disappointed, we headed off to see what we could find for lunch, and perhaps we might get another similar opportunity somewhere else along our travels.
Muay Thai Kickboxing
The boys, especially Lincoln, had been keen to try Muay Thai after getting some specialty shorts at one of the markets, so we decided to all give it a try. Logan found the Lanna Muay Thai gym which was quite close to us and open for private sessions between 9.30am-4pm. We arrived around 10am and through some mixed communications we established that we could do a one and a half hour session for 600 THB/$24 NZD each for Logan and I and the boys would be 300 THB/$12 together. We were happy with this price as we thought the experience would be one we would all enjoy and remember for a long time.Our main trainer, Snook (who was 31 years old), took us through the warm up, firstly some stretches and then skipping – it’s been a long time since I skipped!! But it didn’t take us too long to get back into the swing of it, no matter how many times we stopped for a breather. Meanwhile, Lincoln and Braxton were practicing being ‘light on their feet’ by bouncing from side to side on a giant tyre. After a small break, Lincoln, Logan and I got our hands wrapped up and Braxton stepped into the ring with Nunk, who was 59 and very patient with the boys. Chai (22), another trainer, joined us and we went through the techniques used in Muay Thai; how to stand, how to punch, how to kick and how to move your body correctly with each movement.By this stage we were all getting pretty sweaty under the iron roof of the gym but yet our trainers were yet to shed a drop. Next we were onto some bag work and Lincoln alternated between this and being in the ring with Nunk. Time to practise what we had been taught and getting the timings right; the trainers were very encouraging and while we were hot and sweaty, it was pretty enjoyable as well. Another quick drinks break and we were onto the one-on-one with a trainer as they padded up and made us really work – an awesome stress release (not that we partially stressed at the moment!!) but still a lot of fun.Finally time to cool down and finish up with some more stretches. We were kindly given some bananas and dragonfruit as we cooled down and we spoke to the trainers more about their lifestyle as they all live onsite at the gym and train twice a day (6am-9.30am & 4-7pm), 6 days a week. This particular gym has been in operation for over 30 years and they have produced a number of champions, even some world champions, which is evident with the many trophies and posters proudly on display.
This was definitely a very cool experience for our family and thankfully the muscles weren’t too sore the following day.