What can I say about this place? it was an experience that we will probably never have again and we are all so fortunate. It is a sanctuary that a local lady set up with a dutch lady and they travel Thailand with a health clinic for Elephants and buy them off of owner that mistreat or who are unable to afford to keep them. Since the banning of logging in the 80s elephants have virtually been made redundant and they are not cheap to keep. They eat 100s of kilos of fruit per day and Thailand is by no means a rich country. They are made to walk the streets (chained up)of places like Phuket and Bangkok and tourists pay to feed them, it is also not good for an elephant to be ridden- it hurts their backs. Anyway this sanctuary is run by volunteers (gap year students mainly) and the money that we pay to go for the day, we had a guide ‘jack’ who was lovely and attended to our every need. Safety is a huge issue as Elephants can hurt people and some of these had been mistreated so you can’t just get in there with them but we spent all morning on the viewing platform and then fed them before we had our delicious lunch.
Their trunks have got brissly hairs on them and they are very adept with their trucks, mine didn’t like sweetcorn but loved watermelon and cucumber, Caitlin got to feed one of the babies (2 years old) and it kept nicking the sweetcorn that mine rejected, I couldn’t even con mine by putting a sweetcorn with something else!!!
After lunch we got to bathe the elephants, you scrub them with a brush and throw water over them- the river was such a lovely temperature and as it was so hot –a relief. The look of bliss on the elephants was incredible and something I will never forget. You are able to be close to the elephants safely as you are doing something they like.