A day with elephants

I knew that if I wanted to spend a day with elephants I had to do it before Husband got to Thailand. He mentioned several times before our trip that he is not a big elephant fan and not looking forward to learning about taking care of them. I choose the ‘Chiang Siam Elephant Mahout Training School’, a camp about 2hrs from Chiang Mai. The drive was great, making me realize how much more there is to see in Thailand. The camp itself is beautifully set in the jungle.

Running to meet us.

Being a passenger on a moody elephant is a lot of work, especially while riding it bareback. We went for a two hour walk through the jungle which turned out to be an incredibly stressful experience. I was picked to take the smallest (800kg) and youngest (4years old) female elephant. She was vicious! Absolutely hated having someone on her back. Didn’t listen to any of the trainers and basically did what she wanted which mainly consisted of rushing after the food in difficult to reach places (I had to hold on for dear life). I almost fell off when she actually jumped in the water! I had all the takers running towards us. I am very proud that I managed to hold on. I did better than last year in Mongolia when I was thrown off a horse…

Elephants seem to walk on tiptoes. The middle of their sole is like a hard sponge. Surprisingly soft! Five toes are buried within the flesh of the foot.

One of the caretakers.

Learning the most basic commands in the Karen hill-tribe language and instructions on how to control my elephant. I didn’t have much success into applying those instructions.

The best part of the whole day was watching the youngest elephants bathing and playing in the water! Beautiful sight!

Sparkly clean

Can you see me?

Bathing elephant was fun. We used hard brushes. It looked like they thoroughly enjoyed it!

Ready for another feeding of sugar cane and bananas.

Out of traditional clothing.

Being able to watch them and see them interact with each other was a memorable experience but I am not in any rush to repeat it. Animals tend to not like me and as much as I feel uncomfortable around them they seem to want to get rid off me. I learnt a lot but next time I will only watch from a safe distance!

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