Chiang Mai, in the northern part of Thailand, is a great place to visit and to go on a short trek through the green hills. I went for three days, which included some good hiking, plenty of waterfalls for cooling off, a nice elephant ride, and some white water rafting. I got a real kick out of watching the mahouts washing their elephants in the river, something both the elephants and drivers seemed to really enjoy.
Bamboo is a great resource here - used to build everything. It is even used in place of steel reinforcement in concrete. Also note the "outdoor" plumbing - empties underneath the hut, in the picture.
The hills are very green now with the rice growing well. It is the rainy season here, which means it is quite humid and warm. Good weather for a cold Chang beer after a long hike!
I took an all day Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai. I can hardly wait to try out some recipies on friends and family.