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Ketchup Series #2- Elephants & Pad Thai, Oh My!

Thailand has been a very exciting destination on our itinerary for quite some time because this is where my sister Carly and her friend Marissa were coming to meet us. It had been 9 months since I’d seen Carly and I was so excited I couldn’t sleep the night before!

The girls are ready to take on Thailand!

Carly and Marissa have come to join us!

Hughes girls reunited. Watch out world!

After a couple days in Bangkok to get used to the time change, Carly, Marissa, Skott and I took an overnight train to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is located in Northern Thailand and it is a well known destination for cultural activities. We headed there in search of a chance to see some elephants and to take in a cooking class to learn about traditional Thai food. We were thrilled with both experiences and enjoyed all the funky, earthy cafes in the old city to rest up at in between our activities.


For our elephant trek we wanted to make sure that we went with a company that treated the elephants well. Friends of ours recommend the Thai Elephant Home and we felt this was an excellent choice. The staff did a great job teaching us how to work with the elephants and you could tell that they were really close with the animals.

We spent an entire day riding the elephants bareback, giving them a mud bath and sharing our left over pad thai with them at lunch.

Southeast Asian elephants are smaller and more docile than African elephants and we were amazed how smart they are too. With just a call of “ma-blong” our elephant would crouch down so that we could stand on their leg and and hoist ourselves up. They also helped me retrieve my flip flop when it fell off.

Learning how to get on the elephant.

Carly's elephant loves her so much he gave her a kiss.

The elephants loved sugar cane. Marissa's elephant even paid for his himself-he took the money out of her hand and gave it to the sugar cane vendor!

Me & Paboo. I just love his spikey hair!!

Trekking with our buddies

An elephant spa day-we give the elephants a much deserved break with a mud bath.

Skott and his elephant take to the water.

Our whole crew

Pad Thai-everyone's favourite Thai dish

Pad Thai

The Thai food has been our favourite cuisine on this entire trip. Each dish we’ve tried is always flavoured with such an interesting mix of sweet, spicy and savoury. We choose Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School to teach us all about how to recreate these flavours at home.

Skott & our instructor Sammy

Sammy had a great sense of humor and we had a blast cooking with him and his wife at his organic farm just outside of Chiang Mia. We learned how to make pad thai, three types of curries, soup, and some delicious coconut based desserts. Sammy even let us take a break in the hammocks in between our cooking lessons.

Picking up our supplies at the market before our cooking class.

Ready to cook!

Curry paste ingredients

Carly and Skott mashing their ingredients into curry paste

Marissa's chicken triangles (wrapped in pandana leaves)

The special pot to cook sticky rice

Carly's mango with sticky rice

Needless to say we were completely full when we were finished up with our cooking class. We all came out of it with lots of new ideas about how to use coconut milk and a huge appreciation for the flavours that can be created with curry! Thanks Sammy!!

Next up…we head for the Islands of Thailand!

Hiking to a waterfall in Chiang Mia

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4 Responses to “Ketchup Series #2- Elephants & Pad Thai, Oh My!”

  1. Jennifer Burton April 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Lovely! I want to read about Skott’s week of meditation!
    Jennifer Burton recently posted..Dear Charlie…

    • Skott April 22, 2012 at 6:18 am #

      Working on it as we speak Jen – thanks!!!


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