Life sometimes offers outstanding moment
that brings us back the wonder of childhood. Like this magic moment with the Asian elephants of Elephant Hills. Elephants protected and cared, an important point! My darling is Haha, the baby elephant born in Elephant Hills (pictures 1, 9, 11 & 12). Playful and so cute! Here, the relationship to the animal is respectful and there is no question of trekking on elephants for the pleasure of tourists at the expense of the health of the elephants. The program of the day is: preparing a meal and feeding the elephants. Honestly when I quickly read the program, I didn’t know what to really expect, everything seemed so organized!
After a road that seemed so long from the pier of Cheio Larn Lake, we arrived at Elephant Hills, near the jungle of Khao Sok natural park. Meeting with Jon and his team and having a quick lunch. The rush to drop my bags in my wow tent, inspired by an African lodge, reinterpreted in the Thai way (awsome!). And respond to urgent email : thanks god for the wifi in the common area and restaurant, a kind of large outdoor hut. We are in the largest rainforest in southern Thailand. And I bravely managed to stay without internet connection the previous two days on the floating hotel (what a challenge, LOL)!
A few minutes later, I am in a canoe down the Sok river
in torrential rain … which lasts unlike usual (picture 2). The scenery is just gorgeous. Arriving at my elephants buddies, I’m soaked to the bone. Pictures 3, 4 and 5: the preparation of meals, sugarcane (cut with a machete, a tense moment for me), pineapple, bananas, cucumbers and mixtures of seeds and fibers wrapped in banana leaf, for transit. In the end, a basket by elephant (picture 5).
And the next step, feeding a greedy and selective trunk, was my real odyssey! Each animal has its own character, his tastes and “affinities” (not sure to use the right word in English) ! Magical. My elephant, I say it because I immediately liked her, was an old chic lady really picky. She always leaves falling down all she doesn’t like or can’t chew! To the delight of her greedy neighbor who is a kind of vacuum food. The most impressive is, their eyes and look (picture 6). And agility of the trunk, which is always in motion, a sign of good health.
The mud bath
Picture 8: the mud bath to remove parasites, a must for this young elephant that enjoys diving, rolling in the muddy water and beating with its trunk the surface. Then the shower. It’s crazy how elephants love the water! After a demonstration where we learn how to wash them, I rinse with a hose the youngster crazy of mud. At first I was not very comfortable, but the elephant lying full length on the slab looks really peaceful. I’ve never approached an elephant so close!
Since childhood, the elephant has always been my favorite animal, my totem. I love its graceful and clumsy way of walking. Paradoxical because as a diver, I often prefer the underwater world. But these elephants are irresistible, so imagine for children: even a jaded teen couldn’t resist! A big thanks to the elephants (for their patience with us the humans), Jon for the explanations about them, the guards and the entire team at Elephant Hills for this unforgettable encounter with elephants.
Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés
Follow my whole trip in THAILAND and Twitter. I was hosted by the Royal Thai Embassy in Belgium and all my opions are mine. You can also discover my other pictures in the Facebook of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Facebook of the Royal Thai Embassy in Belgium. ENJOY!
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