Once again the heat was overpowering. We browsed several of the towns temples and found some lunch.
|small temple near our hotel|
|found this dog in a box at the ENP office|
And then I basically collapsed.
I had some combination of jet lag and heat exhaustion.
It was not pretty.
I couldn't get out of the bed.
Caitlin had to find dinner on her own and bring me gatorade and crackers.
I was praying for a recovery that allowed the next day to happen without issue.
Because it was our day with the ELEPHANTS!
We did a lot of research before booking this adventure. We read several articles about the abuse inflicted on elephants by different companies and while we wanted to spend time with elephants while in Thailand we didn't want to contribute our tourism dollars to a company that encouraged any harmful behaviors.
So we chose to spend our day at the Elephant Nature Park. We booked the Care for Elephants package, which means that we would be able to feed the elephants, bathe the elephants and walk through the jungle with them.
All of the elephants at ENP have been rescued from mistreatment in other places.
We spent our day with four female elephants. They clearly are conditioned to know how this works. When we showed up they wandered up to us because our arrival indicates feeding time. We were given bags of food to carry and if you have food the elephants will follow you.
One of the elephants we spent the day with is featured here.
Anything in your hands is fair game in the minds of the elephants.
So mind your cell phones!
We wandered around for a bit, feeding the elephants as we went. We stopped for lunch and left the herd for awhile.
After lunch, we slogged our way through deep mud to get in the river with the elephants.
One of the elephants walked into the river, laid down and took a huge dump.
I proceeded to wait til that floated downstream before going any further.
The elephants were never forced to do anything. They were, of course, bribed with fruit all day long.
While in the river, we tossed some buckets of water on the elephants and inadvertently, ourselves.
All the while praying we weren't simultaneously contracting some weird disease or bacteria from the not so attractive water.
After walking back to our point of origin we were able to go to the actual ENP main park and see the baby elephant that was recently born. So adorable!
Our day at ENP was awesome. It was amazing to be up close (real close!) to such giant creatures.
If you choose to visit Thailand, I hope you'll consider ENP as the place to give your tourist dollars. It costs a little more, but you'll be able to leave knowing that your dollars are actually going to help give Asian elephants a better life.