I will start sharing some of my travel memories from Thailand with the last city we visited, Chiang Mai, which is the second largest city in the country. There was really only one reason Mike and I traveled there after his work retreat was finished: elephants.
After doing extensive research on where to visit to ensure it was a humane spot, I booked the "Pamper a Pachyderm" package at the Elephant Nature Park. The tour guides picked us up at our hotel and drove us and the other 10 people on our excursion to the park, an hour outside Chiang Mai.
On the way, they educated/tortured us by screening a documentary on the abuse elephants suffer in Thailand as a result of the tourism and logging industries. It was truly awful what many of these animals have to endure, so it made me extra happy to be going to spend the day with elephants that had been rescued from abusive situations.
|A beautiful shot that Mike took on our good camera.|
We spent the day with four senior ladies, all who were 60 years or older. We got to feed them, and feed them, and feed them (they eat so much), take them on a trail walk, and bathe them in the river. The elephant that Mike and I were feeding at the beginning absolutely refused to eat any squash until she had consumed all her watermelon. Mike tried to trick her by sandwiching watermelon inside of the squash, but she was able to separate the two with her trunk and throw the squash to the ground. She knew what she liked. We also fed them bananas and cucumbers.
In the afternoon, we went to the main park area to see the other elephants. We got to see a baby boy, who was adorable. Well, he was adorable until he almost ran us over—and at 300+ pounds, it was no joke. Mike and I had to sprint out of his way, and I didn't realize until hours later that I accidentally snapped a photo when we were being charged, and it became my favorite of the whole trip.
And as if I didn't love this place enough already, they also shelter hundreds of dogs, who clearly have the run of the place.
|I am wearing a fern crown that our tour guide made me.|