This weekend Theresa, Migle and I went to Elephantsworld in Kanchanaburi. http://www.elephantsworld.org/ here is the website if you want to have some more information. But basically this is a place where we, the people, work for the elephants instead of the other way around, which sadly is happening a lot in Thailand. We chose to do the overnight program.
Most of the elephants here have been rescued from logging, where they are dragging tons of logs to the woods, and trekking camps, which is the tourist attraction of riding elephants. However trekking is taking a big toll on elephants. Their backs can only carry 100 kg, and only the seats weights 50 kg. So imagine putting two full grown persons on those seats… not good nor healthy for the elephant. In these logging and trekking camps the elephants are also underfed. An elephants needs to daily eat 10 percent of their body weight. So a full grown elephant needs around 400 kg food, per day.
On Friday afternoon we left Rangsit campus to go to Kanchanaburi. As we left in the peak hour of traffic jams the journey took a bit longer than it should. All in all it took us 4 hours, when it should have taken around 2,5 hours. We checked into our hotel for the night and went out for some late evening food.
On Saturday evening an open back truck picked us up and our 45 minute journey to the countryside began. The first thing we see when entering the gate are huge elephants walking with their mahouts. Amazing.
First thing we got to do was feeding the elephants some corn, pumpkins, bananas and watermelons. We gave it them from our hands straight to their trunks or even their mouths. Pretty cool to be so close to them. After feeding we took them down to the river where they drank and some of them went into the river. After that it was time to cook some more food. We were split up to smaller groups and our group made sticky rice and pumpkin for the two oldest who no longer has any teeth. The oldest one is 80 years! When that was done it was time for our lunch. Lots of gorgeous Thai food to choose from as they had a smaller buffet style serving.
After lunch we watched the elephants cooling down in the mud. They have two elephant kids who were very playful and clumsy, one of them pushed the other one down in the mud pool and he had then later problem getting out of it and kept on sliding down again. Adorable.
Then we went back to finish making the food, this time adding pellets and some fibres and vitamins and rolling it into balls. And lastly feeding the two elephants that had been standing outside of the hut cheekily trying to get into under the roof to have a piece of the food. Once again we fed them straight from our hands to them.
Now it was finally time to bathe the elephants! Down the river we went together with the elephants and scrubbed and washing them. Water was thrown here and there and we were all soaked after that bath. After this the one day visitors leave. We were offered to follow some of the mahouts to go with them and their elephants to the bottom of the mountain where they sleep during the night. So we left and walked them there. Back again we checked into our bungalow we were to stay at. It was located with a view of the river with a porch going around half of the bungalow. The rest of the evening we took it easy with some dinner and a beer and had a semi early night.
Day two we got to decide ourself what we wanted to do. So after breakfast we started with some feeding of the elephants out in the open and then took 3 elephants down to another part of the river away from today’s new visitors. We fed them some more and then taking them down in the river and had a bath with them. So nice being only 5 plus 4 workers with them. You could really get up close with them without a lot of people flocking them, so nice.
After an hour or so we joined the others to the other part of the river and had a bath with those elephants.
After lunch we had booked us into floating. Which meant we were to be floating down the river in the stream for an hour. We jumped on to the back of a truck and went further up the road. We were told to put on the life vests as diapers if we wanted a nicer floating, which of course I wanted so despite feeling silly doing so it was on and we went into the river. And wow, such a relaxing and cool experience. We floated down the river and had a nice time. And I got to say we chose the right day to do so as the temperature was up to 38 degrees! An hour later we arrived to the river opening where the elephants were about to go down again. As it wasn’t that much time until we were to leave we went up and had a shower and change into dry and clean clothes. And that was how we ended our amazing time at elephant world. If anyone is going to Thailand then it is defiantly taking a trip out there!