Elephant Adventures in Thailand: Play With Baby Elephants in Chiang Mai by Sheri B Doyle

5 months ago
Elephant Adventures in Thailand: Play With Baby Elephants in Chiang Mai

As crazy as it seems, my husband and I decided to travel the world because of a video he saw on Facebook. It was a girl playing in the river with a baby elephant. After watching the video we decided we were tired of watching everyone else have adventures we dreamed of.

We began researching the video and then charting our course for the trip to Thailand to play with elephants. We booked our stay at the elephant sanctuary, Chai Lai Orchid, outside Chiang Mai.

The taxi dropped us off at the entrance of Chai Lai, a rickety wooden bridge, with our rolling luggage packed for nine months of travel. Our immediate concern of how we were going to get our luggage across the bridge was quickly gone with the spotting of the elephants next to the entrance. Astonishingly, we were welcomed to walk up to the elephants, pet them and feed them as they gave themselves dirt baths to keep the flies away.

It was the beginning of hours we would spend over the next two days playing, walking, riding, watching and finally bathing the elephants. Each experience was more incredible than the last while we and the elephants became more comfortable with each other. Yet nothing could top getting into the river with them.

For the elephants, bath time is a treat, so while they laid down in the water we scrubbed them, doused them with water and petted them. Their incredible personalities began to show as they sprayed us with water. The baby elephant began to play, charging at us and then hiding behind his mother only to come out and charge at us again. It was miraculous the way this 250-pound animal was able to judge his strength at such an early age, managing to nudge us instead of knocking us down.

As we splashed them with water and they sprayed us our laughter filled the riverbed. It was a laughter so deep and pure it could only come from the delight of living a dream, taking a chance and experiencing a connection so rarely found in our fast-paced world.

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Donna John
My daughter wants to do this. She's been looking into volunteer trips, but with her schedule right now it's tough (she'll start her fourth year of college and is trying to get into vet school). How lucky you are to have experienced this! You are living the dream.
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
I have goosebumps, Sheri B Doyle . What a beautiful experience. When we were in Thailand, I wanted to do this, but wasn't sure which of the places that offered elephant experiences were ethical. I think it's important to make sure you only go to ones that treat the elephants humanely. It looks like you found the right one. Can't wait to go back. Thank you for sharing this!
Sheri B Doyle
You are right it is incredibly important to find a humane place. We loved Chai Lai but there are others in the Chiang Mai area which are also humane. The people we met were just as beautiful as our experience with the elephants.
Sheri B Doyle
Donna John I hope she can find a way to do have this experience. It was amazing! Definitely was the highlight of our trip to Thailand.

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