The day started off early and we were promptly picked up from our hotel by a member of the EJS team. We then made our way quickly around Patong and picked up two other couples before we were on our way. We were treated to a ride in the back of a truck for about an hour or so to the jungle outside Patong.
Once we arrived the area was very serene and peaceful. We were introduced to Natalie, an adult female who was with her 7 month old son “naughty boy” and I tell you now he was a little troublemaker but fun!I could tell he might be a handful when hes a fully grown bull elephant!
We went to a tented area where Kay greeted us and imparted his wisdom of elephant rescue onto us. Kay is originally from Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand where EJS have a larger sister sanctuary.
Kay told of how the sanctuary rescues elephants from local mahouts using them in the tourist trade or for logging etc. The team has secured the land and is raising funding to extend the area so the elephants have even more space to roam. He added how Elephant spines do not do well with weight from above and riding them causes serious harm.
We were on a half day (morning) package and so much activity was planned that the time just flew by.
Next up was food prep time. They showed us how to prepare melons and bananas and sugar canes ready for feeding time.
Kay then gave out beautiful tunics made by the karen hill tribes for us to keep as a souvenir of our visit.
Feeding time! The team take you through the area and you meet some of the elephants and hear their personal stories. Sofa is a 3 month old baby elephant and she was so tiny and cute. Her sister appears to be acting as a step mother as her mother sadly died. We fed the elephants and got to interact with them as they could walk around as they pleased without chains etc. Feeding them was such an honour and we met “Gran” who was the oldest at 65 years old! Kay told of how Gran left the sanctuary one night and ate all the bananas in a nearby plantation causing a bit of an upset with the local banana farmer!!!
We then went to the pools and got to enjoy a mud bath with the elephants bathing them while they shot water at us with their trunks.
Naughty boy nearly pushed me over in the mud at one point as you will see on my IG page!
Then we took the elephants to a pool to wash them off and play in the water.
Here is a picture of Sam swimming with baby Sofa.
We then showered in a giant shower area and scrubbed the elephants which they seemed to enjoy.
It was a lovely bond between man and beast that not many will experience and I for one will never forget it. If I learned anything from the visit its that you should never ride an elephant. They are not on the earth for that. Neither are horses for that matter!
Please think before going on an elephant riding trek and think about the animals welfare rather than your stories to tell when you get home.
Please visit the EJS website for information on ticket prices etc. I cant recommend it enough it was an amazing day and a truly spiritual experience. Oh, and the food was fantastic!!
My special thanks goes to the team at EJS for everything they do for these wonderful creatures.
Until next time friends…