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Thailand - Part 6 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

With pans under a wooden pavilion, behind rows of butterfly-peas, Thai Garden Farm is a countryside kitchen-garden. No other school imparts such a great sense of the rural origins of Thai cooking. You’ll shop in the village market, pluck herbs from chef Sons garden, grind spices and eat with your classmates.

Bangkok Thai cooking academy is the gourmet option for those serious about their Thai cooking. With 5-20 days of intensive training from top chefs.

On the beach, Krabi cookery school is the place for seafood, cooked southern style in massaman curry, wok-fried or served in spicy salads. Enthusiastic chefs offer classes of up to a week for a backpacker budget, throwing in accommodation for multi-day courses.

If you dream of meeting elephants, Powerful enough to fell trees with a few bumps, but dexterous enough to pick up a single grain of rice, elephants have been employed in Thai farming, combat and festivals for centuries. But while Thailand is one of the best places to meet one, not all of its wildlife camps have the beasts best interests at heart.

Shun anywhere advertising rides of party tricks –the training is cruel and often violent. Instead look for sanctuaries that adopt old or abused elephants, which limit visitor numbers and physical contact.

At Phuket’s first ethical elephant sanctuary, you will walk with the animals and feed them pumpkins and bananas.

Around an hours drive north of Chang Mai the pioneering Elephant Nature Park has become a model for ethical elephant care.

Watch the herd bathe in the valley’s Mae Taeng river.

Don’t just pay a day trip, go on safari with a whole herd on foot- through one of the worlds oldest rainforests, at Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park.

Sunrise processions, moon worship, fireworks, dragon dances- Thailand's festivals occur year-round. The two big ones nationwide are Songkran, a riotous splash- fest welcoming the Thai New Year, and Loy Krathong, marking the rainy season’s end with floating candlelit banana- leaf offerings. If you hear a festival is due, walk to any temple at dawn or dusk to see monks receiving alms or leading processions. Be aware that these parties are often booze-free nationwide.

The celebration of Budha birthday means 24hour of alcohol prohibition.

The huge water fight that explodes along Bangkok touristy Khao San Road is the wildest Songkran, but for something more authentic, try a Thai-Laotian get-together in the northeastern city of Udon Thani, with holy water blessing and dance parties.

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