One of the most fruitful experiences in Thailand was definitely the day at the Elephant Nature Park. Before coming to Asia, I was really excited about the elephants. I wanted to ride an elephant and for me, it seemed like the most normal thing in the world. I did the elephant bath in Goa and it was so cool. somehow, I always had this feeling on the inside wondering if these elephants were happy.
(I care a lot, so I found myself thinking about many things). When I saw the brochure about the elephant nature park at my hostel Mueang Mueang Inn , I got hyped about visiting FREE elephants. I knew that the experience would be different from simply watching chained elephants but I didn’t know that this day was about to change my whole view about elephant domestication.
The mini bus picked us up at our respective hotels/hostels. We stopped for quick coffee and then we were on our way to the park. Our lovely guide showed us this video on the way about 2 reporters who decided to show the horrible hidden side of elephant domestication. This video was heart-breaking but not near as much as the one they would show us at the park.
First thing we did when we arrived there was the elephant feeding. I fell in love all over again. These creatures are simply amazing. I wish I could carry the baby elephant and kiss him! But he would probably be the one squeezing me.
I met many elephants that day and they each had a story. Some of them were blind after being used for the circus, the lightning was too much for their eyes. some of them still have scars from the past. We often think that the elephants are happy with tourists on their back but we forget that these creatures were born in the wild life. We never wonder how they became so submissive.. well the answers can shock, and even bring tears. What these elephants go through in order to become so submissive is simply HORRIBLE. There was one who got her eyes pierced because she refused to work after they let her baby roll down a hill and die. She was pregnant and they forced her to work. she gave birth while walking up a hill, the baby rolled down and since that day she refused to work. They destroyed both of her eyes to force her but she refused. Now she is safe at the park. This is one story among many others. Believe me when I say it is horrible. If you have a heart you will never want to ride an elephant again.
It all started with one woman who decided to make a difference. Her work is so admirable! I got to see her and the elephants LOVE her! They play with her and protect her. If you had any doubt about her (maybe she makes up these stories), the simple fact of seeing how the elephants are around her will prove that she must have done something amazing for them. It started with one elephant she rescued. Now they are 30 in the park. They live such a happy life!
PLEASE WATCH THIS (could be painful to watch for some viewers)
The Elephant Nature Park is rescuing these animals and giving them freedom again. Over there, you can enjoy the elephants but you enjoy their freedom. You don’t have to ride an elephant to enjoy him. If you still want to do so after watching this I strongly question your heart.
It is also possible to VOLUNTEER at the ENP! If you feel any interest in helping take the chance! It seems like a wonderful experience. They provide room and food and the park is in the middle of nature. Perfect combination of ‘work’ and leisure/relaxation.
Please share and make a difference
A travel lover