THE ELEPHANT JUNGLE SANCTUARY DAY TRIP : NO TO ELEPHANT RIDING IN THAILAND || I never thought how sweet and gentle the Elephants are, the thought about going to Thailand would initially give you an impression that Elephant Riding is a thing, however, seeing series of video documentation about these elephant owners in Thailand and how they mis-treated it just to teach new tricks and the likes just to entertain the guests was an idea I am not totally happy for.
I saw an activity thru reading online, that there are businesses which advocates “NO TO ELEPHANT RIDING”, where you get to spend a day in the Elephant Sanctuary, learn about the elephants, get the chance to feed them, bathe with them and literally spend time with them for almost the entire day.
WHERE TO BOOK THE ACTIVITY : : book via Klook.com for different packages that best interest you or book directly via https://elephantjunglesanctuary.com/
COST FOR THE ACTIVITY : the cost of the activity depends if you want half day or whole day trip with the elephants, it comes with a free buffet lunch, a pick-up from hostel and back, the usage of the Karen shirt while on-site (*see photos), and the entire day of activity to spend with the elephants.
During my booking for the activity – the half day tour cost around PHP 4,000 / THB 240 / USD 8. It was really a fun and interesting experience. The sanctuary believes that Elephants shouldn’t be harmed and they deserve all the love and care that is why they try to save more elephants from different parts of Thailand, and take them all in a safe sanctuary.
We were fetched directly from the hostel in Chiang Mai and spend a couple more minutes to fetch the rest of the tourists that is part of the tour. We were two groups by this time (advance booking is really necessary as they manages the number of tourists visiting. And this comes as an advantage for everyone.
AS soon as we entered the sanctuary, we were greeted with the short background about the elephants, the things and tasks will be doing for the day and how we’ll specifically get along with them.
FIRST TASK : FEED THE ELEPHANTS
There were bananas everywhere, and the elephants were staying on the opposite side of ours, it is said that earning the elephants trust is really important first. We were feeding them thru its trunk and it was really amazing to get to see it firsthand. No need to worry, as they’ll teach you on how to properly do it, everyone should be careful still — as placing your hand over their mouth is also tricky and dangerous.
SECOND TASK : COME CLOSE WITH THE ELEPHANTS
After a couple of bananas fed to the elephants, we were then asked to come close with the elephants. We were still feeding them but this time, I must say that I am much comfortable with the Elephants already compare on our first feeding encounter with them. It is still scary to really run over them since there are still big mammals (*friends! I tell you haha!)
It was like petting a big pet HAHAHAH!! This is the first time that I ever touched an Elephant, their skin was rough and hairy contrary on how it’d looks like that is smooth and soft. They were gentle but big, and certainly once you earn their trust, they’ll start on running towards you and they won’t mind you touching them as well.
By the way, the Karen Shirt — we were all wearing were part of the package from the sanctuary, it is however not something you can bring home. You just choose the shirt that matches your size and you wear it while staying in the sanctuary.
THIRD TASK : PLACE MUD ALL OVER THE ELEPHANTS
After quite some time of getting comfortable with the elephants, next task was to put mud all over their bodies. It is said that the mud over their bodies is used to protect the elephants from insects and from the scorching heat of the sun.
It felt like a team building activity with the rest of the tourists around, we were getting mud and placing it all over the elephants as well as placing it all over our bodies at the same time. As you see, wearing of swimwear is a must inside your Karen Shirt, our bags and valuables were all inside a locked cabinet just around the entrance area. Not unless you have an action cam, it would be best to leave everything in the cabinet. Also, as part of the package, they have a professional photographer who gets to capture everything all the time.
Lucky for us Filipinos, if were with foreigners, chances are — they are not as addict as we ourselves when it comes to taking photos. I remembered when my bestfriend Kim and I just have to call the photographer and ask for a photo of us — as if you are wearing a red ribbon with you during graduation rites. HAHAHA! All hi-res photos were then uploaded just after a day via their official facebook page.
FOURTH TASK : BATHE WITH THE ELEPHANTS
After that mud fight and all with everyone, it’s time to rinse them all and to bathe with the Elephants, from the mud area, we had to walk a little all the way for our next task. We were each given a small pail (or like what Filipinos are known for “tabo”) we used it to gather water and rinse the elephants.
Look how this big elephant smiled over the camera. It was really refreshing considering the striking sun during this time. After around 30 – 45 minutes I guess, we then returned to our first and original place at the reception area.
We then rinse ourselves in the shower, and changed clothes.
Prior to leaving the sanctuary, a buffet lunch were also served as part of the package. Though it was really way off after lunch time already. They are are also selling other beverages should you wish to have one. What I liked about this Thai Buffet serving is the fact that they tend to serve dishes that we are unfamiliar with. It is definitely one of the moments where you try something else and something new.
We were also given a small bag remembrance before we head back to our mini-jeeps and ride all the way back to our hostels. AS a whole, I have never thought I’d get this type of experience, the thought about the Elephant Riding was already a NO-NO for me, so a chance to really get close with these elephants, caressing them, feeding them and having to bathe with them was really one for the books, and is definitely one on my bucket lists of activities to do. It may seem pricey at first, but I would always take into consideration the experience that goes with it, and looking back at the photos from this trip I had in Chiang Mai brought a lot of wonderful memories I would never forget.
Let me know that activity you wouldn’t mind spending to as well by commenting on that below!!!
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TO MORE TRAVEL DESTINATIONS. – XOXO
All photos were all originals from the blogger @nathaliecsalcedo