The Indochinese Peninsula of Southeast Asia conjures up quite a lot of photographs while you consider it, from the rain-soaked jungles of Cambodia to the scrumptious road meals of Thailand. The paranormal pagodas of Myanmar and the intricate waterways of Vietnam. Multicultural Malaysia and the forgotten attraction of Laos. But when there’s one HUGE factor all of them share in widespread (aside from arguably the best delicacies on the earth) is that they’re dwelling to these gentlest of giants – elephants.
Many guests to the area come from international locations the place the one approach to see certainly one of these majestic beasts is in a zoo, and that makes elephant sanctuaries a giant vacationer pull in these elements. We’d even go as far as to say a go to to those shores is solely not full with out hugging a Heffalump, and that’s precisely what we had been fortunate sufficient to do upon our go to to Chiang Mai Elephant Legend in Thailand. Nonetheless, earlier than we regale you with our thrilling expertise, we should train a phrase of warning.
Selecting a Sanctuary
For a few years, animal “sanctuaries” have been all the craze on the continent, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Now, that is all very nicely and good, offering you benefit from the time out at a respectable centre. Using elephants is extraordinarily frowned upon, as is taking images with drugged up tigers simply to see what number of Instagram likes you will get. And no matter you do, in the event you’re attending some animal efficiency routine – you’re doing it fallacious!
Take a while to dig up stable info on the sanctuary you need to go to. They need to be all about love, care and respect for these animals, in a secure and comfy surroundings. Meals, shelter and help are paramount, and it’s best to use your widespread sense in selecting an moral sanctuary. If unsure, ask at your hostel or resort, or learn extra articles like this one! Phrase-of-mouth evaluations are nice for sorting the good from the nasty!
Early to Rise
Our day started on the early facet, with our host Pamela arriving at our condo to choose us up at 8:00 – 8:30 am. Because the expertise lasts a money-worthy 7 hours, go simple on the partying the night time earlier than! We had been joined on this journey by common journey companion Lydia and Agness’s colleague Remco, who had given up the day-job for 4 months to bounce round this wonderful nook of the world. That’s what we like to listen to!
We’d opted for Chiang Mai Elephant Legend as our animal sanctuary of alternative, a relative newcomer on the scene having solely been open round 4 months. For 1,900 Thai Baht (just below $60) you’ll have a day you’ll always remember with the attractive Elephas maximus – the Asian species of elephant. And with the sanctuary being household owned and run, you’ll have a private, attentive expertise you won’t discover within the bigger shelters.
Trunks! Trunks All over the place!
There’s a second of pure pleasure that occurs to most travellers sardined into the again of a minivan after they first catch sight of a trunk. That’s the elephant appendage and never the again of an American automobile. Craning necks to have the primary glimpse of our pachyderm companions for the day, there’s an audible squeal of pleasure once we spot them – and that was simply from Lydia!
Arriving on the centre, we had been met by a mom and her child elephant – who had been each extraordinarily comfortable to greet us. That may have had one thing to do with the truth that they knew feeding time was close to! An grownup elephant can eat an astonishing 300 kgs of meals a day and spend as much as 18 hours doing so. Cez had lastly met his match!
Hand Feeding an Elephant
As a part of the tour, friends discover ways to make a vitamin ball for the mama elephant. The vitamin ball is often used for detoxifying outdated elephants’ abdomen, particularly after they have some points with it. So we messily mash the banana-based concoction collectively after which hand-fed their grasping mouths whereas grinning from ear to ear.
And it appears regardless of how a lot vitamin ball you give to the mama elephant, it retains on coming again for extra and though the child elephant shouldn’t be consuming this meals, it nonetheless craves the identical meals her mama enjoys.
You actually haven’t lived till you’ve hand-fed an elephant although, as there’s something insanely giddying about it and also you received’t cease laughing. There’s this look of enjoyment of their eyes too when you’re loading them up with tasty grub, and you can’t assist however burst with love for them. Why would anybody need to hurt such a unprecedented creature?!
As if feeding wasn’t sufficient of a spotlight, you’ll then escort the elephants to their favorite mud-bath and get as mucky as you want earlier than serving to to clean them off within the river. It’s arguably one of the enjoyable and distinctive spa experiences you’ll ever have in your life! How many individuals can say they’ve helped exfoliate an elephant?!
You’re going to get soaked by, so be warned – these guys take no prisoners! You’ll be able to inform they’re of their ingredient right here as a substitute of lumbering heavy vacationers round in scorching situations. You’d definitely by no means get this chance in a zoo!
The Mae Wang Waterfall
Within the afternoon the tour takes you to the Mae Wang waterfall to spend a while having fun with the attractive Thai countryside. It’s attainable to swim there as nicely, however in any case that elephant feeding and swimming motion our personal starvation kicked in.
Pamela and her workforce laid on a scrumptious lunch of beef pad Thai, dried bananas and watermelon. They even catered for Angess’ no-rice weight loss program and made her a veggie omelette. They’re fortunate that elephants usually are not as fussy!
By the point the day drew to an in depth we had been exhausted, nevertheless it was simply one of the memorable experiences we’ve ever had on this nation – or wherever for that matter. Our entire crew totally loved themselves (learn Lydia’s evaluate right here) and can endlessly look again on today and smile. Belief us – it’s nicely value it!
And to cap all of it – is simply how a lot love Pamela and household have for these animals. It’ll convey a tear to your eye and soften even the toughest coronary heart. Most significantly, it’s their welfare that’s the precedence, and it’s an unimaginable feeling having a day reminiscent of this whereas supporting an exquisite trigger.
So, don’t delay – hug an elephant at present!
Your mission is to assist elevate consciousness for respectable animal sanctuaries around the globe – and inform us your experiences!
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