Ride an Elephant

20 Apr

ImageIn Chiang Mai, Thailand was were Ollie and I got to experience a day with the most AMAZING animals!!  For a whole day we rode and bathed elephants belonging to a hillside Mahout tribe!!  After much research, we found a trip that did not involve sitting on a seat on the elephant (which we had read, to train them to allow people to do so, the elephant’s “spirit is broken”), did not involve the elephants performing tricks for us, and did not involve the trainers beating the elephants to make them perform.

Our trip was a very relaxed day, which involved a pick up from our hostel, meeting our fellow companions (3 Aussies), and an hours drive north to the mountains.  Upon arriving, three elephants were making their way down to meet us, and upon closer inspection we soon realised that it was actually four!  One of the elephants had given birth 7 months ago, and had baby in tow!!

Before arriving we had stopped off at a market to buy some bananas, and these were supposed to last the whole day!!  However, these clever animals had seen these tourists arrival many times and realised exactly where the bananas were kept, resulting in a couple of them trying to devour the lot, even while they were still in their bags!!  After much wrestling however, the trainers were able to rescue at least some of the bananas to be able to use as a treat later, as well of course as the bags!!!

With little time to become acustomed to the huge beasts, we where instucted to climb aboard our elephant and were walkd up to the tribes home, where we were then given a brief background to the tribe, and then thrown back into climbing aboard and learning the Mahout instructions used to direct the elephants.  We then set off on a little trek around the bush, leading back to the tribes base where lunch was waiting for us.

After a lazy lunch, and a bit of a play with a couple of the elephants, it was time to trek up to the waterfall for a bit of bath time!!  This was hilarious as one of the elephants we were with was still fairly young, and so when getting to any stream would suck up some water and throw it over his Australian passenger, and of course always wanted to be first and so upon finding the waterfall and pool, plunged himself and Emma the rider straight into the water! Our elephant, thankfully, was far more graceful, and allowed us to disembark before submerging!!

Cleaning the elephants was amazing, well in fact the whole day was amazing!  Just being able to stand, looking into the eyes of these magnificent animals was out of this world, and something we will remember forever!!

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