Elephants are found in abundance on the Island of Koh
Chang in the South East region of Thailand. Elephants
on an island? Funny I know. People often wonder how
the elephants got there and why they aren't out in the
jungle somewhere roaming around and having fun. The
truth is that the elephants living on Koh Chang are
actually enjoying the jungle and being taken care of.
There are a lot of different places you can go to ride
on elephants on Koh Chang. Most often travellers are
taken to an Elephant Training Camp to see, ride on and
even go swimming with them. Elephants are living on
Koh Chang because quite a few of the elephants were
involved in public service and deserve to be retired.
Elephants are used to clean the streets of Thailand
in alot of places and it's not rare to hear that they
are being underfed, mistreated and overall unwanted.
However, the strength of the animal renders them invaluable
in building and hauling so they are kept for working
Every tour office will offer excursions with just a
trip out to the elephants or a trip that includes some
time on the big grey animals. It's not really all that
over priced when you think about the costs involved
in the day to day upkeep and the cost of the trainer
assigned to each elephant. To ride an elephant for a
one hour trek through the jungle and go swimming with
the elephant for about 40 minutes costs about 1000 Baht
($33USD)per person so take your swimsuit and literally
dive in the water with the elephants.
The trek and swimming can be done in other places than
on Koh Chang but It's a personal favourite at Ban Chang
Mai Training Camp. The staff are really friendly and
are happy just to talk to you about the elephants and
express real joy when you actually show an interest
not just on riding one but in helping to feed them with
banana leaves and purchasing the bananas that are available
at the little hut off to the side. The young men are
interested in showing off their elephants and having
them do tricks for you. It's great to see a huge elephant
dancing around and posing for pictures. It's also touching
when an elephant gives you a kiss with the end of its
trunk. Sorry guys but I think it's a trick for the ladies.
The souvenir shop offers the chance to buy postcards
and pictures of the elephants at their best. Additionally,
local art and jewellery are availablefor purchase so
don't be shy about taking a little extra cash.
What's that thing with the big ears, grey in colour,
long trunk? An elephant of course.
About the Author
James Brown writes about Hilton
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