Elephant Riding, Tiger Petting and Bug Eating. My Adventures in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai was the only part of my trip that was planned and by planned I mean I had a rough list of things I wanted to do when/how I got there.
I was on a mission. I had to...
take a cooking class. 
ride an elephant 
lay down with tigers. 

No biggie.
My bucket list was going to get a lot shorter. I was so excited I didn't mind the 12 hour bus ride it would take to get me to my adventures.

First up. Get on an elephant. There were so many options ranging from cheap to super over the top expensive. There were elephant shows (didn't want this, the elephants aren't treated well), overnight elephant trekking companies and just about anything that appealed to your interests.
My cooking class instructor was actually the one that suggested this company  for the elephant tour and arranged everything for me.
Check out their website. The company is locally run and has a very authentic feel. There are no frills and pomp. Everything is simple but organized.
They teach you how to care for the elephants and how to communicate with them.

The staff is friendly and  even though most of them don't speak English well, they try to communicate with you and make you laugh.
You can tell that the guys who work with the elephants really love and care for them. They are so comfortable with the animals and it's amazing to watch the interaction between man and beast.

love this pic. she looks so happy!

straddling an elephant hurts, like a lot. 

haha, getting down wasn't gonna be easy.

Next stop was Tiger Kingdom. I hadn't thought about doing this until a few friends of mine visited Thailand and posted pictures. I had no idea that such a place existed. Of course once I found out about it, I had to do it. 
Everyone asked if the tigers were drugged. Ummm...no. Drugged tigers don't do this....

Or this...btw I was in the cage when these shenanigans were going on. 
Such playful little devils. 

The experience of being with the tigers was beyond surreal. I didn't feel afraid at all, which is either really brave or really stupid. Maybe I'm an adrenaline junkie or a fearless super hero.

Eating bugs wasn't necessarily part of my bucket list but I was hella curious to try it. Rushing headlong into what some call danger but I call adventure is my MO.
I am always up to try something different and what could be more different for a Westerner than to eat deep fried insects?
Luckily, I had company. I was hanging out at the night market with a lovely couple I had met at my hotel. The husband wanted to try but the wife refused.
I mentioned after seeing a few people walking around with packages of the fried delight that I wanted to try it. The husband literally jumped for joy at having company.
The wife suggested we pay the vendor a few Bahts for a selection we wanted to try instead of buying a whole big bag. Smart!
I picked the fried silk worm and going on the recommendation of the vendor picked the lighter colored crickets. They tasted better in his expert opinion.


finally settled on the silk worm and the brown crickets

right before I took the plunge.

The worm was ok. tasted a bit like those tiny little dried shrimp they use in Pad Thai sometimes. The crickets were weird. They were dry and hung around in my throat longer than I would have liked.

I had such a blast in Chiang Mai. Words can't even begin to describe just how amazing these experiences were. I realized that I am fearless. If I can apply this to everything in life, I'll be unstoppable!

Go to Chiang Mai people. Now. Go. I want to see your pictures and hear about your adventures.