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Captain Yeller's Treasure Book.

The tenth episode: Elephantsworld.

THAILAND | Wednesday, 18 May 2016 | Views [289]

What you need to know in front is that when I planned my world trip I really wanted to get close to an elephant. My dream was to ride on one thru the jungle. Little did I know that this is very bad for the elephants. I'm not going into full detail, you have google for that. Since I believe I love animals I did not want to be part of any animal abuse. I did not tide donkeys, camels or horses in Jordan. I refused to ride a camel or horse in Egypt. I did take ride on a horsecart in Egypt since that was the only way to reach a temple. So I refuse to ride on an elephants back as well. I searched for a place where my money did actually some good to the elephants. There are not many places where this is happening. This place Elephantsworld is a sanctuary. They take care of abused, old, retired,.. elephants who worked most of their life in poor conditions. Currently there are 27 elephants in the sanctuary. The logo is: Elephantsworld: Where we work for the elephants! If you like elephants, please think of this in the future.

As usual an early morning but this day was going to be great. I got picked up, we picked up other people along the way and guess what, the people from yesterday (grandmother, mother and daughter) were amonst them. The ride took a bit less then an hour and when we got close to the entrance I saw them standing there.. THE ELEPHANTS! Right in front of the gate. I think we might be the only species that get happy from seeing another animal then we. We had to check in at the reception and pay but my visacard did not work there. I started to wonder if it got blocked again, they told me to try in the shop later on because this system wasnt connecting with my card. We drove a bit futher to arrive at a big wooden complex, very nicely made, 3 long walking ways on wooden sticks with a typical hut roof, open sides and at the end a shop with restaurant and toilets. They greeted us and made us sign a document that this was at our own risk since the elephants are still animals and unpredictable sometimes. We were with 8 people but got divided in two groups, I ended up with the three ladies from yesterday.

First needed to wash our hands to insure the elephants wouldn't get toxic near them. There were some sort of buckets waiting to get picked up, I got one and was walked to my elephant. Feeding time! Just imagine feeding a massive elephant, giving the food to its trunk, we call it "Slurf" in dutch which is way nicer so I'll be using that word and some of you might learn something from reading my blog. The feeding and touching of an elephant even behind the wooden bars but his slurf constantly grabbing you for food is just so amazing! Such cute wonderful animals. Just after this sort introduction and feeding we went to sit near the river to see those elephants enjoy playing in the river. Super cute, then it was time to actually work for them. We got to a different hut next to the river Kwai where we prepared sticky rice balls. Basicly while cooking rice, cutting vegetables into tiny pieces with a big knife until the rice cooks and add them to the big rice bowl on a stone oven. Then just moving the wooden sticks around so the rice wouldn't cook against the cooking pot.This took a while and when it was ready we put it in different pots to let it cool down. All the time 2 massive elephants were closeby watching us. Then it was time for us to feed ourselfs. A big typical thai meal was prepared. I catched myself in eating fast to go sit close to the elephants nearby.

The elephants take their mud bath just after we ate. This is their playtime, the elephants are free all day but have mahouts (elephant caretakers) who watch them and take care of them. This is the time they are alone, they play, they are social, they fight sometimes. The 2 youngest elephants were playing in the big mud bath others just came to spray mud on us. Thats what happens when you get close to animals. This takes about an hour and I enjoyed every single second of it. Time to get back to the hut where we prepared the sticky rice balls. We still needed to roll them into balls and in some powder. We really made a lot of them and then it was time to start feeding them to two elephants. The three ladies got one and I got one old bull. So close to this giant, I had to put the sticky rice balls in his mouth. This is one of those things I will never forgot in my life! I don't know who was the happiest the elephant with his candy or me feeding it to him! A little later it was time to get them their bath, we went to the river which was full of elephants, got a brush and bowl to splash and wash the elephant in the middle of the river, just behind him the two youngest were playing in the water. The elephants splash themselfs with their slurf. Unbelievable to be this close in a river next to this wonder of nature.

Bading time was over and we went back to the main complex get information about the elephants and their food, and how this sanctuary works, I will keep that info for last to give you a better idea. A very interesting lesson, we watched a movie about elephants right behind it and then needed to work again by washing the elephants food and make their next meal which is selective and different, every elephant has its own diet. We could feed them once more and then a little later it was time for the people who stayed only one day to leave. I end the elephant day by walking them to the forest where they sleep all night. I stayed a while to see them enjoy in the wild, its also funny they dont move all night.

Lucky or smart as I am I booked 2 days and I was the only one who did so! This means I got a big hut with 4 beds next to the river all for myself. I was free for the rest of the evening. I went for a little walk around the domain to see the elephants standing there, eating, getting sleepy. When I went for the last meal of the day I was invited to sit at the table with people who work there and have a lot of history there. Two other belgians were there, one girl was a veterinary in the beglian zoo's (The Zoo & Plankendael) for the elephants there, she started a project here about the feet of the elephants. Very interesting talks with her and learned a lot about elephants. The other belgian girl was a volunteer there for one month. There were also 2 dutch ladies, they are really making a difference overthere, they didn't start this project but pretty close to it, its like a second home to them where the return all the time. She told me how much she could see me enjoying being with the elephants. We talked for hours and hours and you know.. I really fell in love with this place, its like a place you see in movies, people who take such good care with their heart for elephants. We sit there almost till midnight and it was one of the best conversations in the last years for me. Listening to the history of this place, the future plans, the fights they had to keep this up, to get improvements. For me this place is a little heaven on earth and I had no idea that I would ever end up or be a (little) part of such a wonderful place. Time to go to bed! In the darkness, with the sounds of the wild, under a mosquito net. Everything here is just back to nature and I love it!

The next morning I could walk back to the elephants to get them from the forest but I chose to take my breakfast and eat it just next to the elephants who were back already. Such an amazing view, I could never get bored of this! About an hour later I was asked to go feed them, different this time. We picked up their food and just walked to a field mongst them where they were all around me. In seconds I was surrounded by three massive elephants who wanted food. This moment I can not explain in words. Standing in the middle of them, feed them, pet them,.. Just WAUW!! This took about half an hour and I had some time left, I chose to sit close to them and move my pictures from my phone to my notebook since my memory was full, what a stupid timing! Estimated time left: 1 hour. I cancelled half way to walk this 80 year old massive beauty to another place in the river where I was alone with 3 elephants, I feed two of them, I don't think this magical feeling will ever change. My elephant was very picky so I needed to unpeal her food or she wouldn't eat it. Shows how good they have it there! When they were full it was time for me to be alone with this elephant in the river. Just me and the elephant and splashing her, if I stopped she took her slurf to splash herself to show me I shouldn't stop. I played with her for an hour then we both needed to leave but she didn't want to. Can you imagine how special that must have been? Slowly she got escorted out by her mahout but you could see she didn't really want to, step by step very very slow.. So cute! She followed me back to the 'village' where I could pet her some more. Aww I love her!

Another meal for us then since half of the day was gone already. Finished my food fast as usual, I went to sit with the two little elephants, he tried to get on the wooden structure, blows his slurf towards me, so much fun with the little one. Just before they got their daily mud bath time again. After the mud bath I selected something different, they drove me away and gave me a lifevest to put around my legs, I would float down the river Kwai for about an hour, back to Elephantsworld. This was another wonderful experience, just floating down the river, surrounded by nature and sometimes local houses and after about an hour I see elephants standing next to the river. How beautiful life can be! Where I needed to get out the other daily tourists were giving a bath to the elephants, I came along swimming amongst them, super nice! I had one hour left before I needed to leave and there was time to bath and feed them but I simply stayed, shopped and observed them a bit. This was without a doubt the most magical experience in my life and I have had some eperiences by now! I will never ever forget these 2 days in this little heaven on earth.

Elephants world is a sanctuary for abused and retired elephants. This is one of the few places where you actually support a good cause with your money there. There are also cheap volunteering options or mahout programs. If you decide to go there, stay at least for an overnight, its your best decision ever. There is room for 30 elephants, when I'm writing this there are 27 elephants there. They are raising money to buy the nearby fields to be able to host even more elephants in the future. I observed this place for 2 days, the people working there are little heroes in my eyes. The elephants are always free, they are never locked up inside. Some are in poor conditions, some are kept apart because they are dangerous, since they are new they dont know how to behave yet. Not every elephant is happy, it is not the perfect place for them, they belong in the wild but this place tries to make it as good as possible for them, like a retirement home. I'm thinking when I get back home to start a fund raising in some way for this place. I'm also 100% sure I will come back here in the future. If your dream is being close to an elephant, dont go on an elephant ride, come to Elephantsworld and you will get so much more, yes its a bit more expensive but you're supporting your dream to be happy.

Any more information http://www.elephantsworld.org . Support this!


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