Elephant Nature Park
Welcome to week 229 ( 05/28/2015) of Travel Photo Thursday. This week I am taking you back in time (before this blog) to share my magical adventure at the Elephant Nature Park just outside of Chiang Mai. I spent two days and one night, and am still in awe that I got to feed, bath, and walk with elephants in the jungle. One of these days I will visit again. I think what holds me back is I wonder if the adventure will be as magical the second time around. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the experience.
Don’t forget, eave your comment and a link at the end.
The day begins early, and the first stop is to pick up food for our big friends. One of the first things that I learned is that elephants LOVE to eat! Believe it or not, they can devour between 200 and 600 pounds of food in a single day!
After being briefed on the do and do not’s of visiting an elephant park, we got that first touch. One of the main things you have to remember is that if you see an elephant coming towards you move, and do it fast. They don’t stop for anybody! That first touch, and I was holding my breath!
Feed me, feed me! Each elephant gets the same amount of food at feeding time, but like humans some gobble there’s down, and try to steal their neighbors. That is a big NO NO.
Don’t worry; all the elephant cares about is the food. They won’t bite the hand that feeds them 🙂
Watermelon is a favorite, too.
On the way to river for a bath. After eating, I would say that getting wet is their next favorite activity!
Each elephant has a mahout, and only the mahout rides the elephant. We learned that elephants have very delicate spines, and riding on the back of one, especially in one of those ugly seats you so often see in tourist photographs, is agony for them. Elephant rides are not part of the experience.
Watch for elephants rolling and get out of the way!
You’ll never guess where they are off to next, the MUD PIT! Watching them get in and out is hilarious.
After the mud pit, they love to throw water at their visitors. No photos or my camera would have been history!
The beautiful river bed that we followed the next day to go into the jungle with our new friends.
An entirely surreal moment.
The view from our room.:)
The founder Lek Chailert is very dedicated to her herd of pachyderms. She is usually on site and enjoys spending time with visitors.
All of these beautiful animals have been rescued from abusive situations or are orphans. At the park, they no longer have to work. They are pampered and get to live out the rest of their lives in luxury. Each elephant has a name, and you can learn their names and their personal stories here.
You can visit for a day, overnight, or volunteer for an extended length of time. Check out your options here.
This is a very popular attraction, so do book early, and most important if you want to do more than a day trip.
Have you been to the Elephant Nature Park, or something similar?
This is the 229th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.