Trip Start Apr 25, 2010
Trip End Aug 01, 2010

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Today we went to visit the elephant park and hospital just outside of Lampang and I have to say that riding nellys is just about the best and most random thing i've ever done!
We started with a half hour ride around the park, which included going through a river so the elephant could have it's morning bath, up to the top of the hillside, stopping for the odd snack as we went, quickly followed by the loudest fart i've ever heard!! At the top of the hill was the elephant nursary where all the elephants without mommys go, and the younger ones that need some extra care. Then past the elephant hospitol, and back to the main park.
After the riding was finished we walked back to the hospitol where we saw some elephants that had been rescued from the hills and forests of the north and south, some very badly injured either from other animal, or as a result of poachers. The worst had had it's mother shot as a baby, and due to not getting any enough milk had soft bones which we were told is common in elephants, and had a broken leg and shoulder and was covered in cuts and huge areas where he had no skin left. That, as you can probably guess, put a huge downer on the morning.
After that we walked to the nursary where we got chance to see a mother and her baby showing off with a football! We got to feed them and they tried to play with us!
Then it was back to the main park to see an elephant show which lasted around 1 hour.
The show started with all the elephants being led down to the ponds for a bath time display, then they were led to the arena where they did some amazing tricks.
They were doing all sorts of things like sitting and laying down on demand. carrying things to show traditional methods. playing a song on some kind of drum. taking peoples hats off and putting them back on there heads, and some where even painting. Not just random pictures but things they had seen and remembered, and the detail was unbelievable.
All in aall it was definatly the highlight of our time in Thailand.
They also run a programme where you can go and stay at the park for a week learning how to train elephants and be a part of there team and there shows... maybe thats next years holiday!

We also got a chance to visit the golden triangle which is where Thailand, Burma, and Laos meet, in a triangle.. funnily enough!
And went right up to the Burma border, the most northen point in Thailand. This was kind of interesting as it shows the less tourist occupied places of Thailand, where the people are just very very poor. A common practice here is to send your children across the borders to beg for food and to steal from people, and to beg for money to bring home with you.
Not a very pleasant place at all to be honest, but i guess if we hadn't seen it, Thailand would still just be "the land of smiles"
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