New Year’s Eve with Elephants

Part of our travel journal series, This blog post was authored one of our trip organizers,Β Nicole about elephant encounterΒ in Thailand. This post was originally published on Nicole’s personal blog.Β 

If you are interested in hearing more about this and other animal adventures, please come to Nicole’s talk on January 24th 2019. Click here for more info.

December 2018

In planning my ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS New Year trip to Thailand, Chiang Mai – I knew we definitely had to spend New Year’s Eve with Thailand’s Elephants!

On 31st Dec 2018, πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ 12 of us headed 1.5 – 2hrs southwest of Chiang Mai, to Mae Win province, πŸƒ for a day with Karen Elephant Experience. 🐘

we had some coffee/tea on this quaint, organic looking wood, bamboo patio!
Β After our long drive πŸš™, we had some coffee / tea β˜•οΈ on this quaint, organic looking wood, bamboo πŸŽ‹Β patio!

Built on a small hillside, overlooking the beautiful green Forest. 🏞 With the sound of cowbells clinking in the distance ~ πŸ„

It was cool that we were also provided some local Karen villager clothing to change into! πŸ’ƒπŸ»Β  So that the Elephants 🐘 who have been owned by the πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ Karen villagers πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ here might associate us as fellow village people / feel more comfortable in our presence.

Special thanks to my lil sis Cherie πŸ’•, and her friends, Gavin & Nash πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ for joining and supporting this trip too!

We met the Village's three ElephantsΒ Β Mae Boon, Tuloo & Comepoo

We met the Village’s three Elephants 🐘 Mae Boon, Tuloo & ComepooΒ (what a name!!) πŸ˜‚

We started off with feeding them a whole lot of Melon & Fruit. πŸ‰ They were previously used as πŸ’ͺ🏻 work-elephants for logging, and then tourist riding until...

SAVE ELEPHANT FOUNDATION πŸƒ, perhaps Thailand’s most successful elephant rescue organisation – behind Elephant Nature Park 🐘 in Chiang Mai came in to offer to help to establish an alternative way the Villagers could continue to obtain income from the Elephants.. in a more Elephant-friendly / Eco-Tourism way! πŸ’•

After some Feeding, we took a Walk through the Forest with the Elephants πŸƒ as they foraged through the Jungle for their favourite tree bark, leaves & roots. πŸ˜™

We walk with elephants walk through the jungle as if they were wild & free.

It was a real treat to see the Elephants walk through the jungle as if they were wild & free.Β πŸƒπŸ˜

Our knowledgeable guide, Pang – would tell us about the elephants & the villagers.

Did you know that elephants spend 20 hours eating and 4 hours sleeping? πŸ˜‚

An elephant walks through the trees

It was nice to be able to enjoy the forest by the elephants’ side. 😌 A starkly different experience from just seeing and feeding an elephant and then moving on to a next location.

πŸƒ We had a vegetarian lunch back on our patio overlooking the forest. 😌

Did you Know? Going vegetarian for a meal/day is a great way to start reducing one’s carbon footprint / environmental impact. πŸ˜„

I am no vegetarian, and the idea of total conversion can be extreme to most (including me! 😬).. but even just 1 meal a week, or 1 vegetarian day a week can be a great way to start!

Well it’s New Years,Β right? 🌝

Perhaps something to consider on your list of new things to do in 2019!

Carbon footprints by diet type

Tf is Carbon Footprint? πŸ€” Well basically

πŸ„ Eating less meat πŸ– = reduces greenhouse gas emissions πŸ“ (produced by the entire cycle necessary to produce meat… 🐏

ie. raising, processing, transporting, cooking your meat from farm to table

After Lunch, we hanged out with the elephants to help them with their mudbath! πŸ˜†

Things got real exciting with young handsome Karen village boys starting to throw Mud at everyone in the pit. πŸ˜‚

Asian elephants take mudbaths to cool themselves down in South East Asia’s usually hot and humid weather. β˜€οΈ It’s also like their natural sunblock and makes them feel better if they feel Sunburnt or have many Insect Bites. 😡

πŸ’¦ Thereafter we headed to a small Creek to Bathe the Elephants 🐘 (as well as ourselves!) from all that Mud! πŸ˜‚

This mini waterfall was basically the deciding factor of why I chose Karen Elephant Experience! 😍

I chose Karen Elephant Experience because we could do many things like walk with the elephants through the Jungle, mud bathe + river bathe at this beautiful little Creek!
πŸƒ Save Elephant Foundation has over 30 different elephant projects one can choose to support. It can get quite confusing because all the names look pretty similar.Β 

I chose πŸƒ Karen Elephant Experience 🐘 because we could do many things like walk with the elephants through the Jungle, mud bathe + river bathe at this beautiful little Creek!Once again, the young Karen elephant mahout/caretakers created some havoc dousing us with chilling river water.

Once again, the young Karen elephant mahout/caretakers created some havoc 😱 dousing us with chilling river water. πŸ’¦

I was taking pictures with my DSLR but was not spared this time. πŸ˜‚ (having already escaped the mudbath as clean as one can be.) πŸ˜‚

It was really important to Connie (first pic, Happily smiling) that I also got to “Experience”/live the moment. πŸ˜‚ After a few minutes of taking pictures, she dumped cold water onto me too!! 😱 πŸ’¦ (That’s me falling out of the Photo right there right after majorly getting splashed.) πŸ˜‚

Thank You to each and every one of you who came with me on this Chiang Mai trip for this Karen Elephant Experience!
I would like to shout out a BIG ELEPHANT-SIZED 🐘 Thank You to each and every one of you who came with me on this Chiang Mai trip for this Karen Elephant Experience! πŸ’•

It was really heartwarming for me to see people’s Hearts really open up to the elephants and the nature around us. πŸƒ

They might not have been aware of animal welfare statuses before… 🐘 But after learning about what the elephants here had gone through in domestication by force and the heavy lifting they have been doing for years before… 😯

πŸ’• Everyone really took this opportunity to shower the elephants with some TLC/Tender Loving Care. I hope more people can become more aware of taking animal welfare into consideration when visiting Animals whilst Traveling.

I will be opening up another trip to Chiang Mai and Karen Elephant Experience in March School Holidays 2019 between Sat 16 Mar – Sun 24 Mar 2019 (final dates TBC). πŸƒπŸ˜

If interested to join, please WhatsApp message me at +65 9184 0209.

Nicole is planningΒ upcoming trips to,Β Madagascar,Β Sri Lanka,Β Fiji,Β Malaysia,Β Indonesia,Β Β The Philippines, and others!

This blog post was originally posted at www.heyitsnicole.sg/blog/new-year-s-eve-with-elephants

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