Chiang Mai Elephants

I spent my second day in Chiang Mai at the Elephant Nature Park; the most expensive purchase of my Asia trip, I wanted to do something with my time out here that is truly memorable.

I had a bit of a fail with my GoPro, so I don’t have any footage to add to my montage video at the end of the trip. But I took lots of photos and a few video clips on my phone.

After getting picked up from the hostel, the group in the bus watched a documentary about why and how the park was set up. It’s a sanctuary for injured elephants, as well as those who were mistreated in the circus or other performing shows.

Upon arrival, we started feeding four of them. After watching a safety video, I think everyone was a bit apprensive about not getting trampled on or getting our hands bitten off.

They love watermelon and cucumbers!

After we emptied the basket, they were looking for more. They seemed pretty happy with their first meal of the day though.

After that feeding session, we had another one. This time we fed the elephants chopped up bamboo from a big bag on our shoulder. We walked for a kilometre or so, just feeding them as we went along.

As you can see, the elephants know how to pose.

The photo below is my favourite from the whole day. Shame the day’s photographer sneaked in behind, but I’m going to try to photoshop him out so I can get this printed.

After a few minutes, I got pretty close and cosy to the elephants. Well I did have food after all, “no food, no friend,” our tour guide said.

We had to wait a few times whilst walking, as the elephants would stop and pull leaves off the tree branches. No one minded, in fact we found it funny!

After about 10 minutes, we reached a clearing where the elephants ate more bamboo. This time it was an exercise for them; the shoots were tied together and the needed to use their trunk to pull it apart.

While they were eating their lunch, we went off to eat ours. Afterwards, it was bathing time! It was hard to get photos, being in the water and not wanting to get my phone wet, but I tried.

We had buckets of cucumber to keep feeding them.

We were told that we would only get a little splash, but one of the trainers poured a whole bucket of water over my clothes! I quickly got changed out of them, just in time and as then I got absolutely sprayed in mud by an elephant! Not everyday that happens.

Check out that water splash action shot behind me!

Not long after this, I was absolutely soaking. Covered in mud, and water, I made sure my phone was safe from harm. The tour guide poured water all over me, like what they do with the elephants and exclaimed, “baby elephant!” I had to laugh, no malice was intended and who wouldn’t want to be an elephant – they eat all day!

We frolicked in the water for some time, then one of the elephants had enough and walked off, with another following. About 50 metres away and just out of sight, the alpha female elephant made a noise – the other two went running! Was magical to see, so natural. I’ve only got a few seconds of the clip, as a French woman next to me started talking.

We then visited the baby elephants; we had to be weary of them because apparently they can be a little aggressive.

And finally, here is a short video of my day. I filmed it on snapchat, so the portrait and landscape images are a bit messed up. Enjoy!

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