Elephant HillsDecember 7, 2018 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C
Today we are off on a 4 day adventure into the depths of Khao Sok National Park. Our transfer arrived right on time and handed us a bottle of water and an envelope containing our itinerary for the next 4 days as we boarded the mini bus. We are staying at a place called Elephant Hills which is around 2 hours from Ao Nang with a quick stop at a services where I had to naviagte my way around a Thai toilet. I obviously dont have the right technique as I definately peed on my foot!
As we pulled up to Elephant Hills, a man opened up the large metal gates and we knew instantly that this was going to be a lovely place. After our briefing on the camp and the days activities with our guide for the day, Pond, we were given a padlock and directed to our luxury safari tent where we will be staying for the next 3 nights. It's absolutely amazing, with a huge bed and loads of cute wooden elephants everywhere, from the stool to the light switches and the walls of the bathroom.
After dropping off our stuff we headed up to lunch which was Thai buffet style and absolutely delicious. You get so much choice and there is loads of it. As I am veggie / awkward they make me my own personal vegetarian options of all the dishes which is great! I am struggling a little bit with the spice though even though apparently it is foreigner hot and not Thai hot!
After lunch we headed off to see the elephants which has been one of the things we have been most looking forward to on our trip to Thailand. The elephants were a short 15 minute drive away so we jumped into the safari truck and headed off. There are 12 elephants living at Elephant Hills all of which are retired from the logging trade after it was banned in 1989. Elephants need to eat a LOT of food a day which can be very expensive and following the ban, many unemployed elephants and their mahouts ended up begging on the streets. A mahout is the name given to the elephants keeper. The same man will look after the elephant throughout their lifetime so they grow old together.
When we arrived Pond told us about the elephants and we got to stroke one of the elephants whose name was Shampoo. 3 of the elephants then took a bath in their big muddy pool so we sat and watched them have a muddy bath. It was then our turn to give them a hose down. Our elephant was very friendly and patiently stood there whilst we hosed her down and rubbed her trunk with coconut husk. She liked us to fill up her trunk with water which she would then drink. After around 15 minutes she got bored and wandered off. Elephants are such graceful creatures. You imagine that you would be able to hear them stomping around but they are so light on their feet (I am definately more heavy footed than they are).
Next up, dinner time! For dinner, the elephants had an assortment of pineapple, banana and tamrind balls rolled in sea salt and seeds and wrapped in a banana leaf which we got to make ourselves. As soon as it was dinner time all of the elephants were there with their trunks stretched out trying to get a cheeky bite. To feed them you had to tuck the food behind the end of their trunk which they curled over for you. You had to be quick otherwise they would grab your hand as well. They really are strong!
Saddly that was the end of our time with the elephants. I could have sat and watched them all day. Before we left, we got to sit up on a high platform and watch them mooch around and do there own thing.
Our second activity of the afternoon was canoeing along the Khao Sok river. We didn't have to canoe though so we could just sit back, relax and enjoy the view which was pretty incredible. Along the way we saw a mangrove snake wrapped around the branch of a tree, a giant frog, lots of fish and some monkeys which was pretty cool.
Back at the camp we had a couple of hours before dinner so we had a quick dip in the pool before jumping in the shower and getting ready for dinner. Before dinner we watched a documentary on elephants, followed by a Thai dancing performance by a local school. We then got to watch a Pad Thai cooking demonstration before tucking into dinner which was once again delicous.
Back in our safari tent we tucked in for the night listening to the sounds of the jungle. We had forgotten how loud the jungle could be and were reminded of the caravan we stayed in in the Daintree in Australia. Surprisingly our tent is considerably more secure than the caravan was so I didnt have any concerns about any creepy crawlies getting in!Read more