Das cooking course
We paid 800 baht each (about 18 euro) for a half day Thai Cooking course at Da’s farm, Chiang Mai. This was really good value for money! Each course allows max 7 people, so it is good hands on experience. We picked the evening course, it started with a pick up from our hostel at 3PM where we were introduced to Da, a local man who grew up in Chiang Mai. All his cooking and recipes are handed down through his family. Each of us had an option of what we wanted to cook.
Yellow curry paste
Tom Kaa Gai (chicken in coconut milk)
Stir fried chicken in cashew nut
Mango and sticky rice
Red curry paste
Tom Kaa Gai
Chicken and holy basil
Mango and sticky rice
We started by going to a local market outside town where he explained how to pick the correct fruit, vegetables and meat. From there, we went to his home where he took us on a tour of his farm and introduced us to his family. His brother and sister are wood carvers and spend each day in the workshop taking orders from different temples in Chiang Rai.
After the tour, he gave us aprons and traditional hats for fun! And the cooking began, it was mouth-watering, we had to cook each course before we could sit down to eat! Da explained everything in detail and was very passionate about his food. It was a great experience!
After everything was cooked, we all sat down to enjoy the meal, my favorite was the sticky mango and rice, its just so tasty! It is very popular in Thailand and can be bought for about 40 baht at street markets. (about .89cent). After the meal, we set off traditional fire lanterns and headed back to the hostel, we got back around 8pm. So in total, the cooking course was five hours and definitely worth it! I cannot recommend it enough for a great authentic experience of Chiang Mai!
Woody elephant training
Our tour group collect us at 7:30AM from our hostel, we drove up into the mountains for about 40 minutes before arriving at woody elephant park. First, we were taken inside and shown our commands. The few that I remember were “Byeee”(written phonetically) which means “froward” and “Bow” which means “SLOW!!” (an important one!!). After given a few minutes to memorize our words, we were taken to the elephant shed out back where we were given time to befriend the elephants by hand-feeding them sugar cane and bananas.
Each group of two were given an elephant to ride. To get on the elephants back, we had to say a command to get the elephant to raise its leg so that we could climb onto his knee, then we asked for her to raise her leg higher so that we were able to climb onto her back! When we were both on the elephants back, we went on a short trek through the mountain until we reached the bathing pool where we washed and played with them.
In total it was 1400 baht each and although a little bit more expensive, it was definitely worth it for the hands on experience and you can definitely tell that the elephant trainers (mahouts) look after these elephants as if they were their own children. I think a half day was plenty for us as riding elephants is sore on the tush!! :)