This is a post dedicated to the elephants of Thailand
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t call myself an animal lover by any degree. I mean, I like animals, I think they should be treated with love and respect like any other living and breathing creature on earth (except possums and raccoons). The cute animals make me go ‘Aww,” the fat animals make me smile with the impulse to take photos and the slimy/creepy crawler animals….I actively avoid. But elephants? They elicit a slightly different reaction/emotion from me – awe.
My teammates Bri and Curtiss used to positively freak out about elephants. And I positively could not wrap my head around why. They are huge, oddly shaped, weird trunk, with even weirder nostrils, uncomfortably rough skin and sporadic course hair like a balding old person (no offense to the elder community).
But that’s just it – I did not understand the elephants. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t ride an elephant if the opportunity presented itself. And it did. One of the activities on my 3 day tour in Bangkok was elephant riding. And after my first interaction – I fell in love.
I got my first glimpse on a pitstop on my 3 day tour. A different tour group was riding them, but they let us walk over to them and say hi. Let me tell you, they were not shy.
Finally, the morning came where Meg and I could finally ride elephants zomg!!!
We have both heard reports and stories of how riding an elephant while sitting in the chair that the human straps to its back is not only painful for the elephant, it’s also damaging. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. When it was our time to ride the elephant Meg and I nicely, but persistently asked over and over if we could ride an elephant without the chair. The man looked at us as if we were silly little girls and had absolutely no idea what we were getting into. So he let us. And immediately, I knew I had no idea what I got myself into and I was certain I would fall off ‘baby’ Samboon.
After riding Samboon they gave us some time to hang out with the elephants and feed them banana…or inhale. The elephants sucked half of the food I gave them through its nostril! Which is reason for my face in the photo below.
The next stop on my elephant tour was Koh Chang Island! I knew you could be in the water with the elephants because of friends that have gone and raved about how awesome and amazing the experience was, so I was pretty excited. We even stayed at the same bungalows as our friends suggested because of the proximity of the elephants. We must have been quite lucky because WE WERE SO CLOSE WE COULD SEE AND HEAR THEM AT ALL TIMES. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Excuse the capitals, I was quite excited.
At night, Meg and I could hear them blowing out of their trunks. And in the morning, they became our wake up call. How sweet is that?
And from time to time – pretty much every hour – they would walk down the beach. This baby elephant wouldn’t even let me read in peace! Just kidding, she wanted the bananas behind me. But that was my lunch so I just couldn’t give them up. Sowwy.
A simple hello basically turned into a 20 minute make out session.
A perfect ending to a trip, and a ‘see you later’ to the elephants.