With the Thai cooking class done yesterday the next thing you have to do in Chiang Mai is a small trek to see some elephants and then some rafting… Very touristy and cliche however it was great fun.
We decided to go on a two day tour, sleep overnight at the elephant camp with some rafting on the second day.
We booked again via the hostel which gave us a great price. They were slightly cheaper than others on the tour, so sometimes it is better to book via the hostel.
We were picked up for our two day excursion which would start with a trekking tour. In our group there were 3 Argentinians, another English girl, a French girl and an Aussie and 2 French guys. We got taken to a market to walk around and grab supplies and then somewhat strangely onto an orchid and butterfly farm. It wasn’t very good.
After the orchids and butterflies we headed out of the city to the country side for a couple of hours and were dropped off for a three hour walk. It was pretty hot, and there was a little climb but it wasn’t too strenuous for us given the amount of treks we’ve done during this trip.
The scenery was a mix of fields and burnt trees from the recent forest fires.
Our end point was the elephant camp located in a small valley surrounded by vegetable fields.
Once at the camp we had some time to have a rest and then went to ride some elephants for an hour or so. White waiting, we noticed this five legged elephant….which made us chuckle a bit…immature I know.
We jumped on one of the elephants and went for a ride around the hills in the area. We had heard about some of the elephants being mistreated at various elephant camps in Thailand. It’s hard to know which are the good ones and the bad ones. From what we saw the camp looked good, the elephants looked healthy (not that I’m an expert in elephants), none of the mahout were using an ankusa (the stick with a point on it used to whack them) and there was no visible cuts to the elephants.
There was also an eastern European guy who was working at the camp as a volunteer who also reiterated that the elephants were being well looked after.
However once on the elephant those worries seemed to go and we sat back and enjoyed the ride. I got to jump out of the seat and sit on the elephants neck where the mahout was sat.
We managed to get the mahout to take a picture of us as we made our way back to camp.
After the ride there was a small man made pond used to keep fish which we could swim in. John jumped into the small blue boat which he sank at one point and watched on as the guides leaped into the pond.
After a swim and a cold shower, we had a chance to get close to the elephants and feed them some food. John was first up and grabbed a kiss from one of the elephants. You grab their trunks and say a command (bon bon), then they suck leaving a mark on your face.
We collectively bought some bananas and got the chance to hand feed them… amazing.
After dinner, they made a camp fire and we went to bed around 9, a little tired after a great day! With more to come on day 2!