Elephant ride

Trip Start Aug 26, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, December 5, 2009

We came to Pai because of the Trekking and out door adventures it has to offer. That morning we walked around the quiet, not yet full of tourist's town looking for a two-day tour. It worked out to be $40 or the average two day tour, which either involved 10 hours of Hiking or 10 hours water rafting. Wanting a combination of the two at a lower price, we decided we would do an elephant ride this afternoon and then rent a bike and explore the country side on our own the following day.

13:00 we were collected by a man in a pick-up and driven to "Noi’s Elephant Camp". If approaching the massive animal, weighting what i can only guest a few tones was not scary enough we were asked to climb onto the elephants back within a few minutes of arriving at Noi’s. You can use a fixed seat on the elephants back but you are unable to go into the river as the seat can cause harm. Wanting to get the real experience and make it more comfortable for the elephant, we went for bare back with a small blanket. The skin is so thick and course prickling you legs with every movement.

First we started to walk down the street until we approached an entrance to the forest terrain. Mai (our female elephant) who is 35 years old, has been extremely well behaved, she stopped every time she heard traffic approaching, and listened to most of her commandments for the Mahout. Now and then she would divert to a bush to grab some green leaves to munch on before anyone could notice.

An elephant would be the last means of transport if you were in a hurry. Using every muscle in her body for every step seemed such strenuous work.  The body of the elephant rocked from side to side, with every step it slowly takes, making you hold on as it is a long way down.

We started to enter the forest where the elephant would walk up hills, over fallen trees and down steep gravel tracks. By now, we have been on the elephant 15 minutes and already have a numb bum, and tired legs from stretching over the elephants back. Leah was sat more at the back of the elephant, which was more uncomfortable as the spine got bony.

The Mahout was sat on the elephant’s neck tapping its ears with his feet, instructing her to keep going. Once we got into the jungle he got brad to sit on the neck, whilst he stood at the back of the elephants showing off. Sitting at the front means you have nothing to hold on to except for the big flapping ears. Mai would move her ears back so you can rest your legs on top of her ears.

After the relaxing part of the trip we were then taken to the river, where the elephants loved to play in the water.  The freezing water was a shock to the body when the elephant throws you off his back. Climbing back on numerous of times after trying to stay on the neck (like bull riding) whilst she was throwing her head from side to side, up and down. When you ended up in the water you had to watch out for the other elephant’s poo floating down stream. I think it had an upset stomach.

Our hour and half was up, time to head back and say our good byes. The trip seemed a lot longer  but a perfect amount of time to spend with the elephant any more than this I would recommend the Seat as you will suffer from serve numbing, dead legs and serve discomfort the following day, brad found it difficult doing the splits for this length of time. So stretching before hand would be worthwhile.

Back in town we made it our mission to find a room and forgo sleeping back at Fritz’s freak house. We were in luck, the 3rd place we asked had a room for 200B, not bad considering Fritz had just asked us for 100B each to have the pleasure of sleeping o9n his balcony (we didn’t pay this much in the end) so we headed back to Fritz’s to say goodbye and pay him the 150B we agreed on.

Nanya House, our new residence was not much better than Fritz’s balcony but at least we had our own space, it as a very unstable feeling second floor, wooden room, every time someone walked past you could feel the whole building shake.

Fritz had told us about a small local restaurant that we “wouldn’t like, as its for locals” so we decided to check it out, the its a very odd setup, you write your own order once they acknowledge you are there, but seeing as we cant write Thai we had a hard time getting them to take our order, in the end they did and the food was amazing, its all cooked outside and stir-fried. Once chef does all the work with one wok, its fast moving and entertaining to watch, he loved to show off by getting the oil really hot then throwing in all the ingredients, only to erupt into a huge fire ball.
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