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, 👯♀️ 12 of us headed 1.5 – 2hrs southwest of Chiang Mai, to Mae Win province, 🍃 for a day with Karen Elephant Experience. 🐘
Built on a small hillside, overlooking the beautiful green Forest. 🏞 With the sound of cowbells clinking in the distance ~ 🐄
It was cool that we were also provided some local Karen villager clothing to change into! 💃🏻 So that the Elephants 🐘 who have been owned by the 👩🏻🌾 Karen villagers 👨🏻🌾 here might associate us as fellow village people / feel more comfortable in our presence.
Special thanks to my lil sis Cherie 💕, and her friends, Gavin & Nash 👯♀️ for joining and supporting this trip too!
We met the Village’s three Elephants 🐘 Mae Boon, Tuloo & Comepoo (what a name!!) 😂
We started off with feeding them a whole lot of Melon & Fruit. 🍉 They were previously used as 💪🏻 work-elephants for logging, and then tourist riding until...
SAVE ELEPHANT FOUNDATION 🍃, 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! 💕
After some Feeding, we took a Walk through the Forest with the Elephants 🍃 as they foraged through the Jungle for their favourite tree bark, leaves & roots. 😙
It was a real treat to see the Elephants walk through the jungle as if they were wild & free. 🍃🐘
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? 😂
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.
🍃 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. 😄
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, right? 🌝
Perhaps something to consider on your list of new things to do in 2019!
Tf is Carbon Footprint? 🤔 Well basically…
🐄 Eating less meat 🐖 = reduces greenhouse gas emissions 🐓 (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! 😆
Things got real exciting with young handsome Karen village boys starting to throw Mud at everyone in the pit. 😂
Asian elephants take mudbaths to cool themselves down in South East Asia’s usually hot and humid weather. ☀️ It’s also like their natural sunblock and makes them feel better if they feel Sunburnt or have many Insect Bites. 😵
💦 Thereafter we headed to a small Creek to Bathe the Elephants 🐘 (as well as ourselves!) from all that Mud! 😂
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!
Once again, the young Karen elephant mahout/caretakers created some havoc 😱 dousing us with chilling river water. 💦
I was taking pictures with my DSLR but was not spared this time. 😂 (having already escaped the mudbath as clean as one can be.) 😂
It was really important to Connie (first pic, Happily smiling) that I also got to “Experience”/live the moment. 😂 After a few minutes of taking pictures, she dumped cold water onto me too!! 😱 💦 (That’s me falling out of the Photo right there right after majorly getting splashed.) 😂
It was really heartwarming for me to see people’s Hearts really open up to the elephants and the nature around us. 🍃
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… 😯
💕 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). 🍃🐘
If interested to join, please WhatsApp message me at +65 9184 0209.
This blog post was originally posted at www.heyitsnicole.sg/blog/new-year-s-eve-with-elephants