There are many ways people can interact with elephants in Thailand. For tourists, it often means an elephant ride at a tourist spot or participation in one of the many elephant trekking camps. Riding an elephant is probably the most popular activity when visiting Thailand. Who wouldn’t want to ride an elephant? I sure did! That is, until I started reading about how an elephant’s back is the weakest part of its body and how its spine is not designed to support the weight of a human, much less a metal basket and a family of humans. After explaining this to the children, we all agreed that riding an elephant would not be part of our plans. Instead we felt that our time and our money was much better spent at an elephant sanctuary where elephants were free to just be elephants. No rides. No circus tricks. After some research and some consideration between an organization in Chiang Mai (Elephant Nature Park ), we decided on Elephant’s World in Kanchanaburi as it was easily reached from Bangkok and this time of year was not a good time to travel to Chiang Mai due to the poor air quality.
Elephant’s World is a non-profit organization established in 2008 for injured and old elephants. Many of these elephants come from the now defunct logging industry and the tourism industry (circuses, street begging and trekking camps). The majority of them have some sort of injury from their past work. Loss of eyesight and torn ears from logging work. Permanent spine/back damage from trekking camps. Leg injuries from begging in city streets. Malnourishment from inadequate or poor quality food. At Elephant’s World, all their needs are taken care of and they are able to rest and live in peaceful natural surroundings.
Spending the day in the presence of elephants was the perfect way to celebrate our girl’s milestone birthday. To our pleasant surprise, it was also National Elephant Day so we had an extra special day with the elephants due to the festive celebrations in their honour. Party for both girl and elephant. Perfect.
Ready to see photos from our day? There can never be too many photos of elephants right?:)