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Elephant institute

THAILAND | Tuesday, 20 May 2008 | Views [642] | Comments [5]

Amy:  I don’t know if riding an elephant bare back was on my life list of things to do but it should have been.  What an amazing animal and what an amazing experience.  It is hard to describe what it feels like to sit on an elephant’s neck and be able to rub its head and ears as you walk through the jungle.  The elephants at the National Elephant Institute near Lampang Thailand were gentle giants and we had the pleasure of taking a 1 day Mahout (Elephant trainer) training course there.


We didn’t learn about the opportunity for the one day program until we had arrived at the Institute so we were glad that we had arrived in time to take part.  The day started with some basic information regarding how to approach the elephants and what the basic commands were to get it to go where we wanted it to go.  Then we were hands on.  We practised getting on and off the elephants from the side and front and we walked around a small compound to get used to directing the elephants to go forward, turn and stop.  After spending some time in a grass field to allow the elephants to eat we rode our elephants to the Elephant Hospital.  The institute has a hospital on the grounds where it cares for elephants with a variety of problems ranging from depression to infections and injuries.  We got a tour of the facility and learned about the elephants that were currently receiving care.  We also saw a baby elephant and I got to feed it milk from a bottle.  It is unbelievable how strong its trunk was.  I made this discovery when it grabbed my wrist in an attempt to take the bottle.  Patti was playing with it at one point and it took her hand into its mouth.  She felt its tongue but thankfully not its teeth.


After the tour of the hospital we had a break for lunch.  After lunch we watched some elephants take a bath before they put on a show for all the visitors to the park.  We got to feed them bananas after the show.  From there we had a tour of the Dung Paper Factory.  The park uses the elephant dung to make paper.  We saw how it was made and even made a sheet ourselves.  They sell the paper to help raise funds to run the institute.  After our tour we got to take our elephants for a bath in the river on the way back to the compound.  The elephants seemed to love the water and some of us got as wet as they did.  


It was quite sad when the day came to an end.  We were fortunate that our group was a small one again.  There were only four of us and we were all from Canada.   It turned out that the other two women were also going to Chiang Mai so at the end of the day the 4 of us stood on the highway and waited for a bus.  The first bus didn’t stop but the second one did and we made it to our planned accommodations without any trouble.    This day is certainly one that will be on the list of favourite experiences from our travels. 



Patti, Amy,

Hello from Albania! Wow, you are exemplary bloggers, we just posted Lares! Looks like you are having a blast, will definitely reference this info when we get to Asia.

Have Fun,
Mike and Trin

  mike and trin May 23, 2008 2:05 AM



Your excellent adventures continue. It appears you are experiencing another interesting leg. Have fun....you will soon be home picking up puppy poop!!

See you soon,

AM & Shelly

  Ann-Marie May 23, 2008 4:11 AM


it would be even better with video clips being added here...but thanks for the fun as well, good luck on the journey.

  nnmsat May 27, 2008 1:11 AM


We arrived home from China yesterday very weary, but with great memories! It seemed as if we were gone for a month it was so busy and we saw and learned so much. My highlight was climbing the Great Wall, but there were many great sights. Love the elephant picitures - that must've been wonderful! Now you'll be home before you know it. What a year you've had!! Stay safe just a little bit longer!
Love Dodi

  dodi May 27, 2008 11:11 AM


Hi Patti and Amy;
More amazing adventures you're having!
I just love reading this stuff!!
Everything seems to be going good for Joanna and Kristen. They have been in
Italy for the first 3 weeks and just went to Nice today. they just did the 5
villages (CinqeTerre I think its called) near La Spezzia the last 2 days.
They booked a couple of hostels before they left but are not having trouble finding them where they haven't booked they say. Since they started travelling on the Busabout section of the trip, they have stayed a couple of times at campgrounds in little cabins which they seem to think is really good.
They are finding emailing pretty easy to find and the phone they have is
working not bad. Between Jo's fiance, Tim and I, we are hearing from them quite
regularly. Can't wait until we get to see them in Greece in less than 3 weeks though!
I think they are looking forward to us coming too.

  Judy May 27, 2008 1:32 PM

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