It’s hard to explain what it feels like to have a ten foot elephant walking towards you.
At first it’s scary but once you realise how tame the animal is, it’s breathtaking.
When we arrived in Chiang Mai, we had a clear mission and that was to seek out an elephant sanctuary.
Now, I’m not really one for zoos and hate the thought of caged animals. The idea of their woeful faces staring up whilst visitors point and stare is pretty heartbreaking.
We’d heard plenty of stories about the mistreatment of elephants in Thailand which is why we were super wary when choosing the right place.
This meant no riding or ‘tricks’ for our entertainment – just feeding, cleaning and interacting with them.
After whittling down what seemed like an endless list, we found the Kanta Elephant Sanctuary.
With eight elephants ranging from around eight to 75, the sanctuary clearly prided itself on providing a safe and comfortable home for the animals.
On arrival, we were handed the most striking uniforms (genuinely felt like Joseph) and a bag of sugar cane.
It quickly became apparent how much elephants love sugar cane…
They’re wise creatures and wasted no time in getting through my supply!
It was amazing walking with them, getting so close felt unreal.
Once the sugar cane supply had been well and truly demolished, we walked with the elephants into the stream where we bathed them. Now this was something else.
There’s something pretty special about seeing a baby elephant playfully roll in the mud. There’s something extra special about seeing its mother drop down and join in!
Before long we were splashing around with buckets of water and cleaning them with brushes. We also learnt that when elephants want you to continue, they hose you with water from their trunks! Needless to say, no one escaped without a good drenching.
Finding such a caring elephant sanctuary made the the whole experience that bit more special.
It was a day we won’t forget in a hurry and the highlight of our trip so far.