Elephant Friends

The final portion of our trip was spent in Northern Thailand, near Chiang Mai.  It was such a retreat – we stayed at a gorgeous resort, ate good American food, and enjoyed perfect weather.  The temperature hung out in the 70s – nice and warm for my family, and nice and cool for me 🙂  A Chiang Mai winter would be my ideal form of season change.

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Our entire time in Chiang Mai was fantastic, as we enjoyed seeing another part of Thailand, a beautiful culture, old friends, and some cool ministry.  A definite highlight, though, was our trip to the elephant farm.

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Let’s be honest, what’s a trip to Thailand without seeing elephants?

Maesa Elephant Camp was recommended to us for this venture, and we were so glad that we chose to go there.  It’s quite an operation; there are 78 elephants, and everything is set in a beautiful part of the mountains.

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We started the day off with an elephant ride.

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We’re not talking circus-pony-around-a-ring elephant ride either – we spent a good half an hour on trails through the trees and the stream nearby.

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The guides were very sweet, and rode on top of the elephants’ heads.  They would jump down to take pictures for us or walk ahead of the elephants, but always had complete control.

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At one point, the elephant behind my sisters raised his trunk up and sneak-attacked Anna!  Her reaction was priceless.

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After our ride, we headed out to see the elephants and feed them bananas and sugar cane.

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The elephants would “hug” you, thump a hat onto your head, or surprise you in other random ways.  Watching people’s reactions was a highlight!

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Just prior to the show, we watching the elephants take a bath.  The baby elephant was be far the most entertaining – he didn’t seem to fully understand the concept, and kept falling over into the water.

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Finally, we climbed up to the elephant show, which was not only very impressive but also quite funny.  The elephants paraded in, danced, played the harmonica, competed in soccer and basketball, painted pictures, and moved and stacked heavy logs.  We watched in awe throughout the entire hour or so.

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After the show we headed out for one last cuddle session with the elephants.  They would “kiss” your cheek with their trunks, which was really more of a sucking-on-you-face experience.  It was really strange!

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Everyone enjoyed the elephants, from my grandmother to my 10-year-old brother to our driver.

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We finished out the morning with lunch at a beautiful orchid farm nearby.  Don’t miss this if you’re in Chiang Mai!

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