One of my goals for this trip was to ride an elephant. This goal was accomplished at Baan Chang Elephant Park near Chiang Mai. This park is one of the more humane elephant parks in Thailand. You even ride the elephants bareback because putting a chair on the elephants’ backs hurt them.
You start the day by changing into denim shirts and shorts. Then, you feed the elephants bananas and sugar cane. I never realized before how happy and adorable elephants are. They were quite pleased to eat right out of our hands.
The elephants were very playful. The baby elephant even gave me and Mr. Selfish big wet kisses.
After the feeding, the guide teaches you the three commands you need to know for riding an elephant – go, stop, and turn. Everyone had a chance to ride the elephant and try the commands. Since I can be a little obnoxious at times, I was yelling at other people in our group that they needed to say the commands “with feeling!” when their elephants were not listening to them.
Our guide took note of my boisterousness. After lunch, he started assigning couples to elephants. I noticed that he pointed us to the elephant all the way in the back, and I asked him if he gave us a “nice” elephant. He just laughed. We soon discovered that we had the “naughty” elephant. She was the worst behaved in the entire group. We didn’t even need to bother with the commands because she didn’t listen to any of them. Her trainer had to guide her the entire time whereas the other elephants were just left to wander on the path through the jungle.
We still had a blast, and it probably wouldn’t have been as thrilling if our elephant had been complacent. In any case, she loved bath time and was completely subdued in the water.
Mr. Selfish and I had a wonderful time at Baan Chang Elephant Park. I highly recommend it if you’re going to Thailand!