In The Land of Elephants

A white elephant in Thailand is considered sacred and a symbol of good luck. Elephants have won many battles against ancient Burma and are still loved by the people of Thailand today. And March 13th is Thai Elephant Day! This was started in 1998 to show respect for the elephants, and the 13th of March was chosen because it was the day the white elephant was chosen as the national animal (back in 1963).
I’ve wanted to see the elephants in Thailand for a very long time. And today I finally got to. And yes, it was truly amazing!!
My real reason for traveling to Chiang Mai was to visit an elephant sanctuary, however I must admit that I actually have fallen in love with the city. It reminds me a lot of Siem Reap in Cambodia (which is one of my favorite places), but just larger. And with no Angkor Wat ;). But it’s a beautiful city. With friendly people :). 
Though I digress, so back to the elephants! With the help from some amazing friends I decided the Elephant Nature Park would be my place to visit. And it really is the best! They’ve rescued so many elephants! And they don’t allow riding which I actually found out is a good thing! (So sorry to the elephants I rode in Cambodia!)
Elephant Nature Park allows you to choose from a variety of programs. Depending on how much time you have? I’d recommend doing the full week. It includes room and board, and the food is absolutely delicious! It’s all vegetarian (I thought of you beautiful Marcy!) and simply one of the best meals I’ve ever had. 🙂
They pick you up from Chiang Mai in lovely air conditioned vans and then drive you an hour north to the sanctuary. They play a brief documentary on the ride up that will simply break your heart… those poor elephants! One at the park, (Jokia), is blind because she use to be involved in logging. She lost her child while being forced to log and then simply refused to work any longer. Her owner didn’t take kindly to this and ended up hurting her in both eyes to make her work. Thank goodness she’s now been saved and is able to live out the rest of her life in this beautiful place. It really is just lovely! There’s baby elephants too! They are so cute!! And you’ll get to feed them and bathe them in the river! This was probably one of my favorite parts. Not only was it nice to get in the cool water (it’s a bit warm here) ;), but it’s really fun to throw water over the elephant to try and help it get clean (nevermind that they just go back and throw mud on themselves after) ;).
Elephants truly are remarkable creatures. So sweet. And I can’t recommend volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park enough. It’s really amazing :).
I’m completely in love with Southeast Asia. Thailand is fantastic!! Oh and have I mentioned how cheap it is?! It’s lovely! I also really enjoy watching monks walk around everywhere- they’re so amazing!! 🙂 I may never leave ;). Keep exploring this beautiful world friends! Love you all so much :).

Jokia is on the right :).

Me and the elephants :).


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