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For the Love of Elephants

For the Love of Elephants

Author -  Erika Kruidenier

For the love of Elephants

I arrived in Thailand at 6pm and was bursting with excitement, I just had the time of my life in Africa and was ready to start my next adventure. 

Erika Kruidenier 5.jpeg

It was unbelievably easy to find the airport transfer, they were exactly where they said they would be, and I even had a diagram of how to find them! The airport transfer waited for a certain amount of volunteers to arrive before transferring us so there was a girl from England who had been waiting since 2pm! But she was lovely and had just spent the last month at the Panda project in China! So we swapped travel stories. (I know where I’m heading next!)

Erika Kruidenier 8.jpeg

We left the airport at about 10pm after finally picking up all the other volunteers, the drive to Singburi was 2-3 hours, we all tried to sleep in the car but it was hard not to watch out the window as the bright lights of Bangkok flashed by.

When we finally arrived, I said goodbye to the other volunteers I met at the airport, they were all heading to orientation and staying at twin house but since I was only staying one week I stayed one night at brown house and headed to the Elephant sanctuary the following morning. 

It’s pretty amazing driving up to the resort, elephants everywhere, elephant statues, elephant fish ponds, elephant ornaments, literally there are just elephants everywhere but the resort is just absolutely beautiful, it blew me away. We were shown our rooms and even our towels were elephants, it really builds up the anticipation, we were all just looking around for REAL elephants! 

Now there’s no mucking around on this project, we got given our duties first thing and got told to prepare. Our first task “shower and feed the elephants then ride the elephants into the jungle”. And so on my first day, I hopped on an elephant and rode it into the jungle! 

You ride, feed, shower, and walk the same elephant every day, so you get to know them pretty well. My elephant was King-so-par, I’m sure It’s spelt differently but that’s how you pronounce it. She was huge, probably the biggest female but calm and sneaky, very sneaky. Unlike the babies, the baby elephants are cheeky! It’s just like looking after a 2 year old, but they are just a lot bigger! They liked to try push the big elephants into the water and run away while we were going for a walk and where would you find them? Rolling around in the lake, squirting water all over the place! Now it’s hard to be mad when they look that cute!

While we did get straight to work, it didn’t really feel like work at all and the resort was absolutely breath-taking, it had a beautiful pool, dining room, karaoke and gym. So I was definitely thinking I could get used to this!

Riding our elephants every day was surreal. The jungle was beautiful and the elephants were magnificent. It was our choice to ride, there were a couple of days where I didn’t purely because it was nice to see everything from another perspective. To watch the way they moved and to see how they interacted with one another.

Erika Kruidenier 20 .jpeg

Playing sports with the Mahouts was definitely a highlight of my trip, we ended up throwing flour at each other (yes, flour that you bake with!) and I then had to go ride King-so-par looking like a ghost! The Mahouts thought it was hilarious and asked our English translator to please tell me that I looked like an old lady! They introduced crazy games to us and it all ended in fits of laughter. It was the most wonderful way to spend our last day together, it really brought everyone together.

Erika Kruidenier 13.jpeg

This trip is worth it for anybody willing to get outside of their comfort zone for 1 week, only our translator spoke English so you have to have patience and be able to laugh at yourself. Because when shovelling elephant poo there are plenty of opportunities to laugh! 

Erika Kruidenier 11.jpeg

So if you want to give an elephant a spa and massage treatment, if you want to do an elephant health check, shower and feed an elephant and learn how to tranquilise an elephant? (Practice only on a target) and graduate from elephant camp, then this is the project for you!

Read more about our Elephant Sanctuary Project (slightly different to this one which is no longer available in Thailand)

For the Love of Elephants

This trip is worth it for anybody willing to get outside of their comfort zone for 1 week, only our translator spoke English so you have to have patience and be able to laugh at yourself. Because when shovelling elephant poo there are plenty of opportunities to laugh!

For the love of Elephants

I arrived in Thailand at 6pm and was bursting with excitement, I just had the time of my life in Africa and was ready to start my next adventure. 

Erika Kruidenier 5.jpeg

It was unbelievably easy to find the airport transfer, they were exactly where they said they would be, and I even had a diagram of how to find them! The airport transfer waited for a certain amount of volunteers to arrive before transferring us so there was a girl from England who had been waiting since 2pm! But she was lovely and had just spent the last month at the Panda project in China! So we swapped travel stories. (I know where I’m heading next!)

Erika Kruidenier 8.jpeg

We left the airport at about 10pm after finally picking up all the other volunteers, the drive to Singburi was 2-3 hours, we all tried to sleep in the car but it was hard not to watch out the window as the bright lights of Bangkok flashed by.

When we finally arrived, I said goodbye to the other volunteers I met at the airport, they were all heading to orientation and staying at twin house but since I was only staying one week I stayed one night at brown house and headed to the Elephant sanctuary the following morning. 

It’s pretty amazing driving up to the resort, elephants everywhere, elephant statues, elephant fish ponds, elephant ornaments, literally there are just elephants everywhere but the resort is just absolutely beautiful, it blew me away. We were shown our rooms and even our towels were elephants, it really builds up the anticipation, we were all just looking around for REAL elephants! 

Now there’s no mucking around on this project, we got given our duties first thing and got told to prepare. Our first task “shower and feed the elephants then ride the elephants into the jungle”. And so on my first day, I hopped on an elephant and rode it into the jungle! 

You ride, feed, shower, and walk the same elephant every day, so you get to know them pretty well. My elephant was King-so-par, I’m sure It’s spelt differently but that’s how you pronounce it. She was huge, probably the biggest female but calm and sneaky, very sneaky. Unlike the babies, the baby elephants are cheeky! It’s just like looking after a 2 year old, but they are just a lot bigger! They liked to try push the big elephants into the water and run away while we were going for a walk and where would you find them? Rolling around in the lake, squirting water all over the place! Now it’s hard to be mad when they look that cute!

While we did get straight to work, it didn’t really feel like work at all and the resort was absolutely breath-taking, it had a beautiful pool, dining room, karaoke and gym. So I was definitely thinking I could get used to this!

Riding our elephants every day was surreal. The jungle was beautiful and the elephants were magnificent. It was our choice to ride, there were a couple of days where I didn’t purely because it was nice to see everything from another perspective. To watch the way they moved and to see how they interacted with one another.

Erika Kruidenier 20 .jpeg

Playing sports with the Mahouts was definitely a highlight of my trip, we ended up throwing flour at each other (yes, flour that you bake with!) and I then had to go ride King-so-par looking like a ghost! The Mahouts thought it was hilarious and asked our English translator to please tell me that I looked like an old lady! They introduced crazy games to us and it all ended in fits of laughter. It was the most wonderful way to spend our last day together, it really brought everyone together.

Erika Kruidenier 13.jpeg

This trip is worth it for anybody willing to get outside of their comfort zone for 1 week, only our translator spoke English so you have to have patience and be able to laugh at yourself. Because when shovelling elephant poo there are plenty of opportunities to laugh! 

Erika Kruidenier 11.jpeg

So if you want to give an elephant a spa and massage treatment, if you want to do an elephant health check, shower and feed an elephant and learn how to tranquilise an elephant? (Practice only on a target) and graduate from elephant camp, then this is the project for you!

Read more about our Elephant Sanctuary Project (slightly different to this one which is no longer available in Thailand)

For the Love of Elephants

What do you think? Love to hear your comments!

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