After my worst fear the day before (throwing up in public), I was ready for the sole reason I booked this trip…ELEPHANTS! This entire Thailand trip came to be one night while I was washing my hair in the shower (#ShowerThoughts) and thinking about seeing elephants up close. So I went to EF Ultimate Break‘s website and without thinking, I put down a deposit on my trip. So fast forward eight months later, and I was in Thailand, about to be face to trunk with Asian elephants and I couldn’t be more excited!
Our group went to Ran-Ton Save and Rescue Elephant Centre. The sign advertised their camp as a “Non-Riding” camp, but EF Ultimate Break had in our itinerary that we would ride. I actually preferred not to ride.
When we arrived, we changed into our “uniforms” for the day; multi-colored linen shirts and pants. Some people’s uniforms looked really cute on them…me on the other hand, I looked like a tacky CNA wearing used up scrubs from the 80’s
Did You Know:
Elephants can not jump
They eat roughly 300 – 495 lbs of food per day
They can walk up to 4 mph
I won’t bore you with too many words…just check out the video below!
All the elephants were in a giant field surrounded by mountains and paid little attention to us vying for their attention. In fact, the babies would basically bump into you and it was up to YOU to move out of THEIR way (elephants have poor eyesight by the way). I was obsessed with the baby elephants and how they were almost as tall as me.
As the elephants continued to graze in the field, we were pulled away to make snacks for our elephants. We chopped up sugarcane, pumpkins, and melon to put into colorful woven baskets to take into the field to feed them. Once we made it back to the field, the elephants saw the baskets and knew that meant “FOOD” and they started to show interest in us (well, interest in our baskets).
It’s amazing to feed these gentle giants. Their trunks feel like a giant, muscular, human hand wrapping around yours to take the food; wrapping the end of their trunks around the sugarcane and pumpkins before stuffing it into their mouth.
Apparently, I wasn’t feeding one little guy fast enough because he just went straight for my basket, grabbing a trunkful of sugarcane, eating it all and emptying me out, THEN went into my other basket for more. When he realized he ate it all, he quickly walked away.
Soon, the entire group ran out of snacks and the elephants went back to ignoring us and fanning themselves with dirt to stay cool in the hot and humid Thailand sun.
To cool down, both them and us, we all headed to a little pond that probably had elephant poop in it. You can’t really see my face, but my body language says it all…I’m super hesitant to go in there! But when in Thailand, do as the Thais do and give your elephant a mud bath…so that’s what I did. And I actually really enjoyed it!
Then we stipped down to our bathing suits and the elephants put on their SWIMMING TRUNKS (GET IT?!!!!!) and we moved to a bigger pond to cool get all the mud off of them. We splashed them with water and a few of us got sprayed by them back!
It was here where I got one of the most iconic photos EVER!
And by iconic I mean over 8 THOUSAND likes on Black Travel Movement page on Facebook…
Re-posted a BUNCH on Instagram…
Earned me almost 500 new followers overnight on Instagram…
All because an elephant has his butt to me, turned around as if to say, “Oh! Didn’t see you there! Come closer!” and scooped me in his trunk, unprovoked to hug me and get a closer look.
My heart skipped a beat and I don’t think I ever smiled that hard in my life. We’re having a real-life connection:
And just as fast as he hugged me, he let me go.
Elephants have always been my favorite land animal. They are so beautiful, elegant, and graceful. It’s a shame that people hunt and kill these gorgeous beings for their tusks.
Please do everything within your power to protect these animals and to stop them being hunted for their tusks! And if you go to a place that allows you to ride elephants, please be sure to ride them bareback, with no saddle.
Peaches, love, and elephants,