A few weeks prior to us departing for Thailand, my parents called late one evening to let me know they just watched Samantha Brown travels to Thailand. My sweet parents knew that riding an elephant was very top of my list, and they told me to TiVo her show as they traveled to Pantara Elephant Farm. A fellow blogger who lives in Thailand also highly recommended this particular place as they treated their elephants kindly, so with these two suggestions and it being the #1 activity on TripAdvisor ... I booked it immediately.
After lots of research, Pantara's "Trainer for the Day" seemed to be the best overall experience. It was worth every single penny and some as it was one of the most memorable days of my life. Next to my wedding day and future day when I give birth to a little bambino of my own! I am SO glad we saved an entire day to experience Thailand in this form. It was spectacular, and they really are brilliant creatures.
"Elephant Trainer for the Day" duties:Elephant farm management, tracking your elephant in the bush, how to approach and be near elephant, learn feeding and dietary of elephant, elephant anatomy, life cycle of elephant, daily activities for domestic elephant, daily health care, dunk inspection, age estimation for elephant, the differences between ordinary and special elephants. observation on elephant moods (important), Dos and don’ts for elephant, elephant’s body languages and communications, how a trainer create relationship and respectfulness with his elephant, bathing and brushing elephant in the river, spoken command for elephant, basic and advance riding skills, how to treat elephant to make them happy.
Leaving our Guest House excited to head to Pantara Elephant Farm
Grabbing caffeine on the way :)
Handsome hubs -- Arriving at Pantara!!!!
My first encounter at the farm was with this precious little baby - 6mths old
Trek out to the elephants, beyond breathtaking!
Meeting Be-Joon, the 10yr old female elephant that would be MINE for the day :) The owner said she would be the perfect fit with me as I was young/athletic and could "handle" her. She was a pushy little booger and kept sticking her trunk IN my bucket as I wasn't feeding her fast enough.
This picture was prior to me feeding her bamboo and bananas.
Gabe's elephant, MeCong was 21 years old and had a much calmer personality. He's feeded her here.
We learned you can determine how healthy an elephant is by if they have an appetite, if their feet are sweating, their side is dirty from laying down, their ears are flapping, and by the fibers in the poop.
And we had to smell it to find this out, 'hey a trainer would do it so we did it!'
Brushing Be-Joon the natural way before giving her a bath
Now, it's really getting exciting!!!!!
Our amazing group for the day
We were totally shocked by the spraying water :)
Gabe mounting his elephant to start the ride to give them exercise.
That's Gabe's hand pretty much in the elephants mouth ...
touching the tongue!
Swimming with the elephants :)
Right after their swim, they get filthy all over again on the trek back.
WOO - HOO!!!
Gabe's was awfully hungry
Our view while riding through the pastures in Chiang Mai, Thailand
NOW, we got to ride the same elephant, slightly dangerous as we just held on to each other! Thumbs up from our Smith Family!
One of my absolute favorite shots
Saying goodbye with some bananas and love!
I cannot express the love I had for these elephants, Thai trainers, and overall experience I had on this particular day. I am forever grateful I was able to do something like this!!
Now, I can check it off my bucket list with a huge smile.