Riding An Elephant In Thailand
I'm going too start off by saying I actually did not accomplish riding an elephant in Thailand. Going into the trip I thought I knew everything to avoid supporting companies that abused the elephants. No shocker, I did not.
Elephants have a very fragile backbone and putting the crates on their back to carry the tourists slowly breaks the bone. I had done much research about that before hand and was determined to find somewhere to ride bareback. Life happens though and by the time we ended up finding a hostel in Chiang Mia we had to pick the first one we saw otherwise, it would no longer fit into the trip. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary happened to be the tour that the hostel carried and right on the front of the brochure it stated 'NO RIDING'. Extremely disappointed, but not wanting to miss the opportunity to see the elephants we decided just to do it. It was the best decision we could have made. The experience outshines everything we did the whole time in Thailand.
The tour costed roughly around $16 in U.S. currency and it was worth every penny. First as much as Thailand was beautiful in every way, being a more then obvious tourist, most taxi drivers gip you. A point to bring up because the cost of the tour was probably about what you would have paid to get back and forth from the location in a taxi anyway. The tour picked you up from your hostel and brought you to the elephant camp, it was about an hour from the inner city part of Chiang Mia. The amazing guide (I wish I could remember his name) started off by explaining every detail of what not to do in order to be safely near these huge animals. The two major things were not to touch there butt or ears, because of previous abuse these were sensitive areas. He went on to explain that when elephants are trained to ride or for logging they go through a severe torture period. The elephants spend seven days being tied up, wiped, beaten, and stabbed by trainers. The main points of abuse being the butt and ear area of the elephants. Also another detail to add he inform us that even riding bareback on the elephant would be harmful to them. There bone is so weak and the amount of tourist they get a day is still to much weight for the elephant to handle.
Our camp had three adult elephants and two babies. Two of the adults, which were mothers to the babies had been with the company for a while now. The third adult had been rescued from a logging company just the day before the tour and it was her first day there. She had tears in her eyes and had no clue how to just enjoy herself by spending the day eating and playing in the mud. Lets turn this away from the abusive of elephants though. We started the day by feeding the elephants bananas and sugar cane. They love their food and try to go for everything in your had. It is a little intense, but a cool experience to have. If you are not careful they will steal your phone right out of your hand. Don't worry though they give it back as soon as they realize it is not food. Everyone knows the feeling of a dog following you when they see food. Elephants do the exact same thing, but try to get as close as possible, shoving there trunk over you from behind trying to grab the bananas right from you. The bananas defiantly do not last long. After the feeding we went to cover them in mud to protect their skin from the sun. It is so amazing to see these huge creatures just lay down and spin around in the mud. If you are not afraid to get dirty you can join them. On top of it just being fun to throw mud on the elephants, the tour guides start a little mud fight with you that make the experience even more fun. After the mud bath, we walk over to a fresh pond to get clean with the elephants. Seeing the joy on there faces as you splashed them with buckets of water is a memory I will never forget. Note: It is typically done the other way around, but they feed you on this tour so they do it this way so everyone isn't full of mud while eating and they just send the elephants back into the mud after. They had this huge amazing meal prepared for you as soon as we were done bathing the elephants. The homemade Thai food was so good. This is coming from a girl who literally does not try any new foods as you will start to notice in my blogs. On top of the whole experience being amazing in every way, they outshines themselves by giving all the women an adorable little elephant purse. Thanks for reading my experience with the elephants and if you are interested in this tour the link is posted just below.
All Hugs, no riding
check out my instagram for my pictures of my Thailand trip @majerblonde http://www.elephantjunglesanctuary.com