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TharnThong Lodge, Chiang Mai- A piece of heaven on Earth
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This holiday season, my family and I decided to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand. We stayed at Tharonthong Lodge for 5 days and 4 nights. Our resort was located around an hour drive away from Chiang Mai, but the long drives into and out of the city were worth the extraordinary view that we woke up to every morning.

        When we arrived at the lodges, it was around 8 pm and was REALLY REALLY COLD. We walked into the restaurant, which was especially kept open for us- a thoughtful gesture done by the owners. The food we ordered (pineapple rice and some soup) were delicious and we couldn’t get enough of their aromatic flavors. After we had our dinner, we headed to our “hotel room”. The sights we took in while walking back were breathtaking, but we couldn’t admire much of it because, as I implied (fine maybe exaggerated) earlier, my family and I were very cold. I must admit, we slept a little fitfully that night because there were frogs croaking very loudly throughout the entire night!

     On the second day, after a hearty breakfast, we decided to visit the nearby attractions to get a feel of the place. We even visited a mesmerizing waterfall-the crisp and cold air was a refreshing change from the humidity of Singapore. After visiting the waterfall, we headed to a village (a short drive away from the waterfall). Coincidentally, a well- known attraction called, "The Flight of the Gibbon” was situated there as well. Unfortunately, due to all the activities, we had planned and the long waiting time to experience the zip line meant that we didn’t have time to experience it. After touring some more of the village, we visited a strawberry farm within walking distance from our “home for the week”. Strawberry plants were planted as far as the eye can see and it was a relaxing experience to walk around them.

After purchasing some strawberry jam and dried strawberries, we decided to head back to Tharonthong for lunch and to rest after our eventful morning. At around 3:30 pm, my parents came to a spontaneous decision, deciding how we were going to spend the rest of our afternoon and the evening. We headed to the city and explored one of its malls. There were a lot of great steals found there and we were elated with our purchases. However, our shopping spree didn’t end there! We visited the night market, where my mum convincingly persuaded the stall owners to reduce their prices until they were almost a fraction of the initially quoted price. Now THAT is for sure considered a power move, in my opinion. That night, we literally shopped till we DROPPED. There was so much to see and so many things to discover that hours passed like seconds.

  On our third and final full day in Chiang Mai, we decided to stay in the lodge itself, because it had so many exciting things to explore, such as the seemingly never-ending bodies of water linking it together and the animals roaming around. Right after breakfast my sister and I enquired about whether we could feed the rabbits. The owner kindly let us do so, when it was their feeding time, of course. While waiting for the clock to strike 11 am, (the rabbits feeding time), my family and I decided to walk around and take in the enormous and gorgeous scenery of the place. There was a vast variety of trees and plants, which almost enveloped Tharnthong. My sister and I, being animal lovers, made a beeline for the many dogs that lived inside. Time passed so quickly, we almost forgot about the rabbits. We rushed back to the rabbit enclosure and waited excitedly, bouncing on the balls of our feet as one of the many sweet staff members opened it up for us to walk in. The rabbits were really shy and scared easily, but once we were in there for a while, they grew sort of accustomed to our presence and even ate out of our hands. One cheeky rabbit even bit my pinkie (ow it started bleeding) because it mistook it for food ☹. My dad insisted I go out of the enclosure and wash my hands so I didn’t get to experience as much fun as my sister did HAHA. After that fiasco, we shoveled down some pad thai and soupy noodles before heading back into our room. After a short rest, we cooed over the puppies and older dogs roaming around and jumped atop stepping stones found on the streams. Time flies fast when you’re having fun, and soon it was time to get dinner. After yet another scrumptious meal, we noticed a fire being built and decided to sit around while helping feed the tiny fire. After it grew a certain amount, a few people started coming in, including the owner, Prim. At the bonfire, we learned about the traveler’s food- bamboo sticky rice. It was a delicious treat often used as a source of food and nutrition by travelers in earlier times. The place truly felt like a home away from home.

    Soon, it was our final morning in Thailand. We reluctantly dragged our suitcases to breakfast, taking in the sights and smells of the place. A small bird my dad had befriended throughout our stay accompanied us AND ONCE AGAIN ANOTHER ANIMAL MISTOOK MY PINKY FOR FOOD AND BIT IT IN THE SAME SPOT. I couldn’t feel upset when such an adorable and innocent looking bird looked me in the eye though. I left Chiang Mai with not one, but two scars to remind me of my trip there.

I can truthfully say that I wouldn’t change or trade any moment spent there. I will certainly remember this for a really long time.

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