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Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Tigers, Elephants and Backpackers of Chiang Mai - Page 2

Written by Adam O'Hern
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Tomorrow a couple of girls plan to go bungee jumping.  Kelly is going on a zip line ride in search of Gibbons through the top of the forests of Thailand, and Dave can’t decide what to do.

“There are too many choices here,” he remarks in his lazy British accent.  “Every time I look at the brochures, I get overwhelmed and just come back and sit here.  I want to go elephant riding a second time.”

My ears perk up at this.  Before I left for Thailand, I ran into a girl who had lived in Bangkok for 8 months.  One of her fondest memories of Bangkok was the elephants that you can feed in the streets around central Bangkok.  When I asked her if I would be able to ride these elephants, she told me no, and ever since then I have harbored secret fantasies about how I would find a way to ride an elephant.  Usually these fantasies involved a ninja outfit and me having to fight off a herd of elephant trainers.

In Chiang Mai though, it seems that elephant riding is pretty commonplace as Naomi has also been elephant riding and Kelly spent two weeks volunteering at an elephant reservation riding elephants every day.  I might not have to invest in a ninja outfit after all.

Siena, the only other American that I’ve seen in Thailand, is also intrigued about the elephant riding trek, and after Dave recounts his experiences finishing with “It was one of the best days of my life,” Siena and I are sold.  Even though we were strangers 20 minutes before, it feels like we’re old friends as we go together to the guesthouse desk and book the elephant trek for the next day.

Seeing our quick action spurs Dave to make up his mind, and he heads to the desk to book a white water rafting trek for tomorrow.  As the sun sets, Dave tells us of a local curry restaurant.  With all of our stomachs grumbling by this time, the group heads over to eat curry and drink some local beer as we continue to trade travel tales and talk excitedly about our plans for tomorrow. 

Elephant Rider

P5041578In the morning Siena and I are greeted by a smiling Thai man who introduces himself as Woody.  Together with a couple of Scottish girls we pile into Woody’s truck and drive an hour out of town to Woody’s elephant camp.  Once there Woody explains that we’ll spend the first part of the day getting familiar with riding the elephants and in the afternoon, we’ll all mount up and ride up to the top of the nearby hill and then down to the elephants’ watering hole.

(Page 2 of 7)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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