Saturday, 14 May 2011

Chang Chutiman Elephant Trek, Klong Prao


Today we went Elephant Trekking in Klong Prao.  If you have done this before then you'll know just how amazing this experience is.  If you are unfortunate enough to have not trekked through the Jungle on an Elephant, then I hope this blog will go some way to encouraging you to try it.  It's hard to explain the feeling you get when its just you, the elephant your guide, and hectares and hectares of uninhabited Jungle and Rainforest.  I supposed 'isolation' would be a good word, except when you take a look around at your surroundings and see 8 inch butterflies, 3 inch wasps, spiders and rainforest birds you realise that you are far from alone.

The trek costs 900 THB (£17) and lasts two hours.  We managed to get a discount from our friend and managed to only have to pay £10 for the whole tour.  Our elephant Rambo (above) was one of the largest elephants I think I have ever seen.  He lumbered over to the perch which you have to climb to get on the ladder.  The first hour of the trek consists of a one hour trek through a rubber plantation then on through a Pomello orchard - Pomello is a citrus fruit - the ancestor of the Grapefruit.
Jungle Path
Once you and the elephant have navigated through the Orchards we then got visit a crystal clear rock pool where Rambo and us cooled off.

Washing Rambo

Being a very hot day, it was nice to take a dip into a cold lake.  Unlike the warm sea, this natural lake was a lot cooler than I thought and I ended up getting into it and scrambling to the elephant to catch my breath!  After making a slight idiot out of myself, I got to wash off the Rambo as he sprayed water over his head onto mine - which was amazing.  It's a bizarre feeling being in a lake with such a huge mammal  - You forget just how big they are when they're in the water as most of their body is submerged.  Sophie joined me and the guide took our camera from us for a good photo opportunity

Cooling Off

On the return leg, you are allowed to ride the elephant yourself bareback which is a tremendous experience.  You need good balance as the shoulder bones moving up and down as it walks along can knock you off balance and there really isn't anything to hold on to.

Which way, your Majesty!?

The sun was beginning to set on the way back which provided some stunning scenery (lot of that around here).  Sophie was sat on the saddle like some kind of ancient queen!  The ride back seems to take a lot less longer than the outward trek even though it takes the same route - I think the excitement of riding the elephant ourselves takes your mind off things and you get taken in by the moment.

Return Leg

Once you arrive back at the Camp you get a complimentary soft drink or beer and a chance to dry off, relax and look at all of the other elephants which operate tours.

If I had the chance, I would do this every day.  It is a unique experience and if you have the chance to do it, you must. 

More to Follow...

~ Adam

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