The Elephant Conservation Centre

Aka The Day I Lost My Mind

On our way to Chiang Mai we decided to get off the train early in a city called Lampang in order to check out the Elephant Conservation Centre located right outside the city. There are many places that you can see/ride elephants in Thailand but Lonely Planet suggests that many of them are not great situations for the elephants so we didn’t want to support them. This particular centre is supposed to be good though, so we figured we’d check it out.

We arrived via night train at about 10 am and as soon as we got to the hotel I got hit with some serious stomach pains and spent a good chunk of time running back and forth between fetal position on the bed and the toilet. But since we’d only planned on one day in the city, I rallied and we made it out to the centre for the last show of the day.

I really wasn’t expecting to get all that excited about the elephants, but boy was I wrong. Basically as soon as I saw an elephant I lost it. Went crazy! I was so freaking excited! I don’t really have a good explanation for why, so I figure that I was an elephant in a past life and this was me being reunited with my long lost sisters and brothers. Why else would I turn into a five year old who was just told that I could eat all the candy in the world?

It was love at first sight...

It was love at first sight…

It started with the Mahout’s (elephant trainers) bringing the elephants out to a pond to wash them. They were all playful, spraying each other and splashing. I think it was really all for our benefit, and realistically I wasn’t complaining. I was too busy weeping for joy and giggling my brains out.

P1100857

Next they started walking over to the place where they give the show. Naturally there was someone selling bananas to feed them so obviously we bought some so that we could join the fun. They were hilarious using their trunks to grab the food and shove it into their mouths. Nom nom nom, they kept shoving it in (all the people were feeding them) until it was actually falling out. What big pigs! (I mean elephants?!)

The show was awesome, although I would have been happy just gazing at them adoringly for hours and hours. They demonstrated some skills that they used to use when they were apart of the Thailand logging industry and also did cool tricks like tossing balls into buckets (say whaaaaaa!). Then as the finale…they painted!!! And it was better than I could have painted (although admittedly that’s not saying much). So cool.

Painting...did I mention that they are geniuses?!

Painting…did I mention that they are geniuses?!

P1100897

They all came up to the fence to say goodbye, which of course suckered us into buying more bananas to give to them (“No Keith, don’t get the sugar cane, there are more bananas so I can hang out with them longer!”).

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

How could you not love that face?! I.Want.Him.

P1100908

We stopped at the little shop and bought postcards (luckily resisting buying the entire store’s worth of novelty items) and then went over to sign up for a ride. How could we not! Although I would have rather ridden bare back like the Mahout, we sat in a saddle thing. We went through the pond (where the elephant took a giant, bubbly dump) and then down a trail to see some babies. I was still going crazy and couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face.

BFFs

BFFs

At the end of the ride we were offered the chance to buy a picture that they had taken of us on the elephant that they’d nicely put in a lovely little frame. DUH, we bought it. Again, how could we not!

We are lucky that we didn’t come home from the centre totally broke, as I was enthralled and wanted to buy everything. I think that Keith spent more time watching me then watching the elephants, I was going that crazy. Really the only appropriate adjective is giddy…I was giddy the whole time we were there!

Santa, if you’re reading this, I’d like an elephant for Christmas.

They are so playful, and cheeky!

Oh, and if that’s not enough to convince you about how awesome they are I have one word for you…TRUNKS! They can do anything with those nifty noses!

Baaaah! Elephants are the best.

[End excited rant… I mean post]

One of my fave photos of the day

One of my fave photos of the day

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did... :)

Keith also enjoyed the day, just not quite as much as I did… 🙂

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it's the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Keith thought the way they got up was hilarious because it’s the same way one of his grandpas gets out of his lazy boy

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

Feeding our elephant before he took us for a ride

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

My face hurt by the end of the day from smiling so darn much:)

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The Elephant Conservation Centre

    • I don’t feel like I could ever do those animals justice, but I’m glad you enjoyed it and felt like you were there! They were so cool, and every time I look at the pictures I get my goofy grin back!

  1. nice story and pics. but, unfortunately, sometimes the keepers use a tools like a hook to “educate” elephants to follow keeper instructions. It also happened in many tourism place, included here. i think we should try to change how to educate the elephants or just release them into original habitat.

    • You are very right, there is way too much abuse and mistreatment of these gentle giants all over the world. We tried to choose carefully when deciding which place to visit and from our reading this centre was better than some of the others. They deserve so much more than human mistreatment!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s