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The day we became elephant mahouts

8th Jun 2011 -

Woke up early to go on our trip with elephants. We had a look through the flyers of popular elephant day trips yesterday but were recomended a trip that had orphaned elephants, the group we went with were called Baan Chang Elephant Home. As now is the start of the wet season we managed to get a discount, the day costing 3500B around £70 which is good price.

We managed to get a McDonalds breakfast first and then got picked up by the owner Eddie. We drove an our out of city and into the jungle. Turned out we were the only ones who had booked for today which was great because we didn't have to wait on others. We had a briefing on the elephants and were taught basic words which we needed for the day such as stop,forward,backwards and open mouth. We had to keep repeating them until we understood.

Then we met the elephants all 7 of them. We had to climb on them and sit giving them instructions. We got lots of photos, we even sat on their trunks and they lifted us .

We had lunch then went out bareback together on Christina the elephant. We rode up a mountain in the jungle then fed her lots and lots of bananas which we had stopped of this morning to buy.

Then we rode back down and into the water where she splashed us with water in her trunk and then we washed and scrubbed her. It was a great day we both thought it was fantastic.- An elephant mahout (ma-howt) is the handler/trainer of an elephant.

It's hard to know whether to go to places like this, some people are very against it and say it's cruelty to animals, yet we were led to believe these elephants were orphaned and that Baan Chaan was doing something good, we did have a few moments of feeling dubious, like when they played music and the elephants seemingly danced, they may genuinely like the music or were they forced into it? We believe that things won't change, and if we want to experience it then why shouldn't we. We had a great day out and what a once in a lifetime experience!!

We arrived back at our hotel and went for a Starbucks while sunning ourselves in the square. At night we went back to the restaurant from last night then had an earlyish night as we are up early again tomorrow for another adventure.

#traveldiaries #chiangmai #travel #asia #southeastasia2011 #baanchangelephanthome #elephant #thailand #reviews

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