A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Monday, December 16, 2013

Riding Elephants in Thailand

One thing that Thailand is known for is their elephant camps. Most people ride elephants when they visit Thailand. Although I had ridden on an elephant before (in India) I LOVED my experience and was excited to ride another one in Thailand. The rest of the group was not quite as excited I was. But I begged and told them I wanted to do it and said that I would set it all up. So they agreed.

I searched for different places. I knew there was an elephant camp where you could watch the elephants paint pictures and then go on a ride... sitting two on a bench on top of the elephant, much like how I did in India. The more I searched, I found out there were a few places that would teach you how to ride an elephant bareback. When I found this out, I was set. If I was going to ride an elephant again, I wanted it to be bareback.... or Jungle Book style as I like to call it.

I was SO HAPPY when I found a place that not only let us ride elephants bareback, but they would take us to do a lot of other things we were wanting to do in Chiang Mai as well. So I signed us all up right away and put down a deposit.

Daniel and I drove through the night for 7 1/2 hours in another country where they drive on the other side of the road to get to this tour, so we did this entire day on no sleep, but I was so excited to ride elephants that I didn't even care. We got there JUST in time.

We drove to this place out of the way. I think they had 8 elephants total and so the 4 of us each got our own elephant to ride bareback. They also had a baby elephant there who I guess was a little trouble maker, but so cute.

They taught us all the Thai words for the different commands to give the elephants like down, left, right and go. Don't ask me what any of them are now. I don't remember. Then they had us change into these awesome denim jump suits. They took each of us to our elephant. I was assigned to the biggest and slowest elephant who might be pregnant. She is old too. She got down on her knees and I grabbed the rope around her neck and climbed on top of her neck to that my knees rested on her head and my feet were tucked behind her ears. Then she got up. I thought I might fall off... you feel a little unstable at first. It's not like riding a horse, you are pretty high up there. No seat to sit on and just a little rope around their neck to hold on to. Once they start walking and you get used to their movement... I felt VERY comfortable on top of the elephant. I could have ridden that elephant all day. I loved it. I felt like I was in the in the jungle book. It was more fun for me and more comfortable for the elephant too... to not have a big bench on it's back. I didn't even hold on after a while.

Once we were all on our elephants, we rode them through the jungle and down to a river. Once we were in the river, the elephants one by one got down on their knees and we got off of them into the river and helped wash them and scrub them. My elephant even played with me and sprayed me with his trunk. It was so fun. Wet, but fun. Then we got back on our elephants, and headed back.

Once we were back, they gave us each a bunch of banana's to feed our elephants. They don't care about the peel... they just eat it whole. So fun. Washing and feeding them and riding them. You really bond with your elephant.

Elephants are so friendly and love people. I fell in love with my elephant right away. I would do this again in a heart beat. In fact, if I ever go back to Northern Thailand... I want to do the "Own an elephant for a day" program. It is similar to what we did... except more, and all day. I would love that.


jamie hixon said...

THAT IS SO RAD. I would totally love to do that. I'm way less scared of elephants than I am of tigers.

Lori said...

Wow, Tracy! What an awesome experience :) Glad you pushed everyone to do it!!