Throughout Thailand you will find brochures and pamphlets pushing tourist to go elephant trekking and elephant riding. I will not beat around the bush…THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING YOU CAN DO AS A TOURIST!
- They TORTURE the elephants to make them want to carry you.
- (If reason ONE wasn’t enough) Elephants are strong animals but putting weight on their backs injures them. Actually, IT BREAKS THEIR BACKS
- (If reason one and two aren’t enough) They farm the female elephants out for baby elephants which are then sold. The mothers will soon die after multiple births.
All is not lost! Places such as Elephant Jungle Sanctuary are spreading the word on these horrible places. This sanctuary is located in Chiang Mai and Phuket, Phuket being the newest facility. Your day will start off by learning why riding elephants is so terrible and where there elephants came from (Prepare to get a little sad) . Then you will cut up food for the elephants and mix in their dietary supplements.
Next you will feed the elephants the food which is sugar cane, watermelon, and rice balls. When all the food is gone, it is time to give the elephants a mud bath where you get all in with them. Bring a bathing suit, extra clothing, and a towel.
After the crazy mud bath they will need to be rinsed off. Here again, you are all in. It is more of a play time then it is rinsing off. After this the elephants go back to their area, no chains, no gates, a small wall separates their habitat from the other area. Each elephant has a handler and the elephants are welcome to roam the near by forrest.
Lunch is prepared for us and then it is time to go. The guide B was amazing, caring, funny and answered all questions professionally. What this organization is doing is simply amazing. Please watch out for copy cat companies and NEVER RIDE AN ELEPHANT!