Pachyderm Princesses in Phuket

I’ve always had a serious thing for elephants.  The amazing trunk, their impressive size, the huge ears, the eyelashes, the two-year gestational period…..

I’m pretty sure I can trace it back to my love for Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! and Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar.  I mean what’s not to love about the world’s most faithful and trustworthy of all elephants?  And of course, the most stylish of all elephant royalty?!!!

Part of my lifelong love of elephants is that high on my Bucket List was a wish to some day interact, up close and in person, with an elephant.  And because it’s clearly in Cute Husband’s job description that he is the Official Maker of All My Dreams Come True, this week, while we are on Spring Break in Thailand, he arranged for all of us to participate in an absolutely incredible Elephant Experience.

As always, when we opt to participate in adventures like this, especially with our children, we make sure to research and find an outfitter that respects the culture and environment of a place, and above all, treats their animals with dignity and safety.  Due to the logging ban in Thailand the majority of elephants in the country are “unemployed” and “on the streets,” and so captivity is a safe, protected environment for the animals, where they are well taken care of and given all that they need, as there is no option to simply return them to the wild.

After an introductory session learning about Thai rice farming and enjoying Thai tea and coffee {Thai tea, by the way, puts my beloved Chai Tea Lattes to shame, and The Cuties were sucking mine down like nobody’s business!}, we set off to meet our first elephants.  Up first were the two baby elephants, both born at Siam Safari.  The Cuties and I were literally squealing at the sight of such cuteness.

Like with most “toddlers,” toys are used as teaching tools.

After the babies showed off everything they were learning from their trainers, we were able to feed them their snacks (elephants eat pretty much all day while they’re awake ~ about 16 hours! and adults eat up to 600 lbs of food per day!}.  The Elephant Experience promised us we’d get up close and personal with elephants and they certainly delivered.

After we played with the babies, we needed to go prepare snack for many of the adult elephants {silly me, I thought I was on vacation from cooking! :-)}.  We chopped baskets upon baskets of pineapples, cucumbers, and Nino bananas and then made up “vitamin packs” of special nutrients, wrapped in banana leaves for each basket.

I made the decision not to give The Cuties access to the giant meat cleaver set out for cutting up pineapples and our guides designated them “veggie distributors,” instead.

And here comes the chow line…

As you might imagine, Thailand is hot.  I can only guess it feels even hotter if you are covered in elephant hide.  So next we gave the elephants a nice cool bath!  This was my very favorite part of the day.  Despite most of the elephants being in their 30s and 40s they acted just like the little kids, the second the water was turned on!

{and to think we used to outsource bathing our Newfoundland because we thought he was too big to manage!}

And I have to include this picture just for Little Cutie’s physical reaction she’s having to the elephant next to ours having just let loose with a rather large case of post-snack flatulence!

It was time to hug our elephant goodbye.  You can tell how much fun The Cuties were having that they didn’t even hesitate to snuggle right up to wet elephant trunk.  Little Cutie won’t even pick up a wet towel off the bathroom floor because she doesn’t like the way it feels.

 And now, be still my foolish heart, because we ended our day by riding elephants.  And Big Cutie and I got to lead the group, atop the very sweet Jimlim.

And check out the view of Phuket behind Cute Husband and Little Cutie.  Life’s tough, eh?  We are beginning to feel rather sorry for their future husbands…

I found myself whistling Baby Elephant Walk the whole time.  Of course The Cuties had no idea what I was talking about or who Henry Mancini was {Thank goodness their education isn’t completely neglected and they do know of The Pink Panther!}

On our way back to our hotel, we even saw that you had the option of parking your elephant or your scooter.  I wonder what the parking rate is for an elephant for the hour?

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7 Responses to Pachyderm Princesses in Phuket

  1. happypoppeye says:

    Good post …going to be up at Measa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim in two weeks. Makes you wonder why elephants are behind bars in most countries. Hmmm …maybe, it’s the people, not the elephants.

  2. Hayley says:

    Some great pictures!

  3. glamcookie says:

    Wow! I am so jealous of, like, your whole life!

  4. allie says:

    Thanks for sharing these pics! What a great trip!!!

    I don’t know if you do netflix but there is a cute Australian show called The Elephant Princess that you and the cuties might enjoy.

  5. Jeff says:

    Great blog..makes me want to pack a suitcase and check it out

  6. Shelli says:

    What an experience the girls and you guys are having!

    Great pictures!

    Shelli

  7. Ashley says:

    I’m so very happy to see the elephants are being cared for with dignity and that you took the time to research out a good place. They are incredibly noble animals and sadly too often poached for their tusks. Glad u had fun!

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