A day with the elephants
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Once in Chiang Mai, you will be inundated by agencies that will want to sell you any kind of excursion. There is really any kind of tour available, depending on what you would like to do. For instance, we have chosen the "elephant tour".
We opt for the half-day tour with the company Dumbo Elephant spa. It has been recommended by the Italian blogger Teresa Agovino (viaggioincontrosostegno) that We thank again.
We choose to do the afternoon excursion, from 12.30 to 6.30 pm for a cost of 1600 baht per person (about 42 euros). However it is a rather high cost for our pockets, we decide to make this new experience. We state that there are really many companies offering tours that are almost the same, but we chose Dumbo because they have guaranteed that the animals are not mistreated, tied or even ridden.
We leave the city with a minivan in a group of 6 people towards the countryside south of Chiang Mai about two hours’ drive. It is a small reserve with 5 elephants surrounded only by crops and vegetation.
The staff give us a colourful tunic to wear because the elephants recognize those clothes and reassure themselves. Each of us then receives a bag with sugar canes and cobs to give to the elephants. As soon as we get closer, they start coming to meet us to eat. At the beginning it seems a bit scaring to feed these big animals, but then we get used to that and it becomes fun to even caress them. The best part comes when it's time to swim in the river. In fact, elephants need to wash a couple of times a day because of the heat. They sweat from their eyes and legs and try to throw dust on themselves to protect from both the heat and the many insects.
We then enter the water with them that, once slumped, let us brush them and start spraying water from the trunk, a bit 'to wash and a little' to play. In fact, the boys from the staff laugh and joke with them and not only...Indeed we begin a war made of buckets of water and proboscis spray. A scene difficult to imagine but really hilarious!
Once the bath is done, we sit around a wooden table and enjoy lunch / dinner with rice, vegetables and chicken curry chatting a bit 'with our friendly group.
It was a really fun afternoon and we are happy to have contributed in part to the maintenance of these docile animals that need tons of food and water every day.
Therefore, despite the rather high cost, we strongly recommend that you try a truly unique experience!