Elephants!

It’s too soon to say this but I think we have just experienced what will be the highlight of our entire trip to Thailand, a full day at the Patara Elephant Farm and their elephant owner for a day program.  Unlike most tourist traps where 15 people take turns riding an elephant or splashing around in the water for a minute, Patara’s philosophy is to pair one elephant with one “owner” and a trainer and spend the entire day exploring all aspects of an elephant’s life.  After a informative lesson on the role of elephants throughout Thailand’s history we hiked into the field to find our elephants.  We learned how to approach them, identify friendly and unfriendly signs, we fed them their breakfast by hand and learned how to perform a full health check on our elephant (including a good squeeze and sniff of the poop).  To prepare them for bareback riding we had to clean their backs and then give them a full bath in the river.  After learning the three ways to mount the elephant we were on our way.  The initial course was an easy climb but we ended up going up the mountain on switchback trails that were too small/rocky for me to walk on…how these enormous animals made it up there is still a mystery to me.  We stopped at a waterfall to eat lunch and by the end of lunch I had almost regained my ability to walk.  The elephants played in the water while we ate and then it was a much easier ride back to the farm.  Truly an amazing experience and if you ever make it to Thailand I cannot recommend Patara highly enough!

Getting up close with our new friends

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Hand feeding is the best way to get on their good side

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Bathing them in the river to prepare for our long trip

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A video of Meg first getting on her elephant

Meg was an instant pro and was able to ride using the advanced sitting position.  I was not 🙂

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Taking a break for lunch by a waterfall

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Recycling our lunch plates (banana leaves)

 

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A video of the elephants playing in the water while we enjoyed lunch

The easy part of the ride, heading back to the farm

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Meg’s elephant stopping for a snack on the way home

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4 thoughts on “Elephants!

  1. oh my gosh–that is so amazing. i love how the elephant helps you up. “don’t give up.” meg–you are a total natural–climbing up there with such ease and grace…looks like you guys are having an amazing time.

  2. What an amazing experience!! We are all living vicariously through you both 🙂 Meg you DO look like such a natural! Are you sure you haven’t been practicing your elephant riding?

  3. awesome vids, awesome photos – I want an elephant!

    Meg you ARE a pro at hopping on like it’s nothing, work it gurl!

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