Adventures as Miss Saigon

Elephant Heaven! Day 1!

Posted on: January 10, 2013

What an incredible first day at the Elephant Nature Park!! I was picked up from my guesthouse around 8am, and we drove for about an hour or an hour and a half, in what I can only guess to be a northward direction. Along the way, I chatted to the other park goers and we watched a short show that focused on Lek, the woman that runs the Elephant Nature Park, and all of her work here. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the stories of the elephants, and I found myself crying in a car full of strangers.

Upon arrival into this lush green mountainous area, we were led straight out into the elephant’s field. There are only 5 of us in our group (all staying over for 2 nights), and we have a guide all to ourselves. Bee, our guide, introduced us to some of the elephants up close and showed us how to feed them. We were encouraged to get close and to touch these incredible creatures. We had the absolute pleasure of watching a 2 month old baby elephant and his mother. The baby was nursing and running and playing. Adorable! The elephants here ranged from the 2 month old baby to 90 year old grandma elephants. Shortly after the elephant’s snack of watermelon, bananas and pumpkins, it was time for our delicious vegetarian lunch.

After lunch, it was bath time!! The elephants were waiting in the river for us to arrive. We took turns splashing buckets of river water on our elephants and rubbing the dirt off, only to watch them go and get muddy again afterwards!! We watched them from “street level” and above on a viewing platform.

Lek herself arrived while we were watching 3 or 4 elephants get treats from one of the handlers. I was lucky enough to have my picture taken with her and the elephants. She is an amazingly kind and gentle woman, and the elephants all seem to know her. After another snack, we went to watch another video about elephant conservation and the difficult lives most of these elephants start out with. Yet another tearjerker for me.

We were then allowed to check into our rooms. Up a few steps, looking out onto the elephant field, I have a single room with private bathroom. It’s basic, but everything that I could ask for. I had a quick shower before dinner was served. We sat with beers and delicious food, and watched the sun set on the elephants and their park.

The elephants at this park all seem to have sad stories and beginnings. Lek has rescued these creatures and is allowing them to live out their lives the way they should be…as friends of humans, and as naturally as possible. All of the elephants have mahouts, men that bond with and take care of the elephants. It was amazing to watch each mahout with their elephant. You could clearly see the bond between the two.

It’s now 8pm and I’m tucked in for the night. Breakfast is served at 7am before we set off on a walk around 8am. Such an amazing day, so many fabulous pictures already, and 2 more full days of elephant fun!! Can’t wait to see what is in store for tomorrow…!!

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