Рубрика: Travel

Elephant Experience

Elephant Experience

I am a bit crazy about elephants and this is something I have wanted to do for some time.
After lazing on the beach at Nakamanda in Krabi for four days to acclimatise, having come from the snow in Britain, and soaking up the charming Thai hospitality, we headed up to Chaing Mai.
The Thai Conservation Centre in Lampang, about an hour outside Chiang Mai, is set in parkland and jungle. It is bigger than I had expected and we were booked into participate in the 3 day VIP Mahout elephant training course. The VIP part just ensures you have your own elephant and Mahout for the entire time and there are only 4 participants in the group. From the moment you arrive, after donning your mahout suit, you are with the elephants.
My ele was called Tradang, he is 32 and has a hole in one ear. Charming! The first thing that struck me was his size – he stood about 9 or 10 feet high – it was a long way up there! It was a bit scary at first, although I soon got into the swing of it and began to learn about the special bond between a mahout and his/her elephant. The next challenge was getting off!
Three days of constant contact and interaction with extremely well loved, well trained and well cared for elephants followed.  (Incidentally, we there is also a wonderful elephant hospital that treats and looks after elephants sent from all over Thailand.) From 6.30 or 7am to 4 or 5pm each day we were with our elephants, feeding, bathing, training and even participating in the daily show. My elephant was particularly keen on bathing me as well as himself and I was always absolutely soaked after the bathing session.
We took our elephant to a different part of the forest each night. The accommodation in individual chalet style cabins is spacious, basic and clean and the food is home cooked to order by the very friendly staff.
Until you ride & spend time with an elephant you really can’t imagine how intelligent and how intuitive they are. The last day of the course it was my birthday and I was in heaven riding out to the water hole at sunrise on my elephant.

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