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elephant village adventure

wowee… just when you think you can’t jam any more experience in you get it in the rump, literally; riding elephants and spending time in their company was a real privilege. Fast on the way to being officially endangered, this eco resort was the passion of an Austrian man who wanted to help; all of the funds raised here are channelled into the care of these marvellous beasts.

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This is a beautiful place and unlike yesterday’s tour that didn’t include any frills, this one provided stunning vistas, fresh drinking water and many informative workers and signs… they also recycle elephant dung, making paper dyed red for impact… the elephants take guests (you can stay here for 2 nights for 130USD with rides etc included) on a continuous loop (river, trail road walk) before being treated to bananas and then being released into the forest for the afternoon/night. In the mornings, the mahouts call their animal (each elephant has their own mahout) and it starts again. Elephants eat 200kg of bamboo / leaves per day and drink 80 – 100L of water. They may well get a bit sick of the monotony of the tourist trade but it does provide for them.

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When you think of amusement rides, this venture would make the carnys proud; seatbelts and guard rails are used to keep the riding couple secure as the elephants lumber gracefully, using their trunks as a sonar to guide the way. Rob’s and Tiffany’s was frisky, spraying water and holding its ground before following the mahout’s cajoling; the water play seemed to be catching.

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once through the first river crossing, it was time for the riders to become the mahout (well, pretend) and this shows how trusting these gentle giants are (or how good the mahouts are).blog 11c6 blog 11c7 blog 11c8

and then we were back at the resort and the elephants were ‘stabled’ in the eating area… Dash couldn’t work out what why his elephant kept reaching its trunk towards him, thinking it wanted his stick… eventually he worked out that it was sniffing for bananas and after buying a bunch for 1USD, it was much happier.

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Before lunch (a buffet of local curry, vegetables and rice), it was a trip across river to the baby elephant camp and this bull and cow were happy to get our attention..

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and then it was upstream past local workers to Tad Sae waterfall. This is a popular spot and no wonder… the water is sublime and our team could not get enough. We were a little disappointed that the zip line and swimming with baby elephants was not available (still low season, come back in a month) but only a little…. eventually, our guide, Soak, had to force us to get out!

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tomorrow is our leisure day but already we are planning to give alms to the Buddhist monks (5 am start!) and climb the Phu Si (the local lookout)… not many days left and we are absorbing as much as we can… LFHS community can be proud as Alyssa, James, John, Tiffany and Rebecca are superb young people.

Jay (this blog’s team name)

ps don’t forget that some of these photos are panoramas but they should open up if you click on them…

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