La-Nah my elephant thought it was really funny to dunk while crossing the river and then come up and splash me. Spending time with the elephants and the Mahouts is something I will never forget. I will be leaving a piece of my heart in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Bob’s elephant forgot Bob was on his back and decided he wanted to roll around and play and wouldn’t roll back even with the Mahout trying to help. Bob ended up having to swim back.
Meet La-Nah …my new BFF she weighs 4.8 tons and is 31 years old. She was rescued 5 years ago from a circus where she was forced to work long hours, she came to the camp completely broken but living at the sanctuary has restored her spirit and today she sparkles. The whole ride she kept flapping her ears (a sign of happiness).
There is divided opinion about riding elephants. It’s a debate that often goes back to cultural differences and economic realities. If we lived in an ideal world, then there would be no riding at all. Just to hang out with elephants is an amazing experience in itself. Elephants that are already domesticated need to be supported and often this is done through riding.
To continue riding them, the sanctuary only allows people to ride them on their neck, allowing them to walk at their own pace and allowing them to stop to eat and drink whenever they want. An experience I will never forget.