Chiang Mai is exhausting! Yesterday, we went to an elephant sanctuary! We left early in the morning and traveled in vans up a mountain. On the way there, we watched a TV episode called Caught in the Moment which showed all the work the elephant sanctuary had been doing. When we arrived, we were led upstairs to a patio-like roof. We sat on pillows around long tables as the cool breeze of the mountains played with our hair and our tour guide gave us the lowdown. Always wash your hands before feeding or touching an elephant. Don’t pet James Bond, one of the dogs; he might bite you. It’s a good idea to always approach the elephants with food; otherwise, they will be a lot less amiable towards you. Try to only touch the elephants on their sides and try not to touch them on their trunks too much. They don’t like that. Only approach an elephant if it’s with its Mahout, or keeper. The rules were a bit overwhelming, but did not damper our enthusiasm one bit!
First, we fed the elephants their snack. As we went downstairs to the porch the most beautiful scene opened up before us. A vast green valley littered with water buffalo and elephants stretched out to a hill covered in trees. The hill looked like it came straight out of a picture book; there was a silhouette of the trees and vines at the top of the hill that looked almost unreal. In the valley, there were trees as well. Around each tree was a wooden porch on stilts. Some of the trees even had small buildings built around them. To the left of the porch we were standing on was a long walkway high above the ground. The roof of the walkway was built from hay. They nicknamed the elephant sanctuary “Elephant Heaven,” but I don’t think they realize how accurate the name really is.
The elephants lumbered over to us being led by their mahmouts. We filled baskets with various fruits and began to feed the elephants. We would hold out the fruit towards the elephants and they would take it, wrapping the end of their slobbery trunks around it and bringing it to their mouths.
There is so much more to write about our day with the elephants, but I am afraid I don’t have the time right now. Hopefully, I will finish telling our story later tonight (your morning!).
Enjoy, and thanks for reading!