16.01.2014 - 16.01.2014 31 °C
One of the reasons I like to be cheap when I travel is that it allows me to go more places and allows me to do 1-2 activities on my trip and still stay within my budget (for instance I have snuck into the resort next to my hotel to write this entry as they have a library with gorgeous iMacs and don't charge for WIFI). When I went to Panama last year we did a snorkeling day trip and looking back at my trip it was a definite highlight. In Thailand I have booked two tours. The first tour is through the tour company Viator- Khao Yai National Park and Elephant Ride Day Trip from Bangkok. The trip is 10 hours, and you cover a lot of ground, but by far the most exciting thing is you get to ride an elephant in the jungle. The tour started bright and early at 6:30 AM. Most of the tour is spent driving, and more particularly traffic within Bangkok. It takes easily 2 hours to get out of the city and on to the highway. Our first stop is to a market in a rural village. The tour guide apologizes several times to us for the market being so quite, apparently a lot of the people have headed to the protests in Bangkok. I however, can not imagine what it would look like if it was busy, the market is jammed with stalls selling literally everything. You need brain, how about bags of blood, or a pig face, this market is for you! I bought a small bag of tomatoes for a few cents and we were off to our next excursion of the day- ox riding! I have no idea why the tour company picked this activity, but all I know, is that for 25 minutes I was in the back of an ox wagon in a set similar to what I imagine Little House on the Prairie was like, wearing a foolish hat and trying not to fall out of the wagon. The gentleman driving the ox knew no English, but could make some pretty interesting noises, which the Ox seemed to understand. After, we were invited for lunch at the farm house, where we were treated to a genuine Thai meal.
See it does look like Little House on the Prairie! Our Thai Lunch being cooked for us
The tour continued to a National Park where we (actually just myself as the other tour members was too tired and were only there to ride the elephants) descended into the Jungle to see a waterfall. It is dry season in Thailand (which means NO RAIN while I am here!) and the waterfall wasn't spilling with water but it still was a pretty site.
Haew Narok Waterfall
Finally on to our last stop, Jungle House elephants! The place is a gorgeous resort and they are proud of how they handle their elephants. It still is within the National Park and elephants roam in the wild in this area. These elephants were rescued and taken in years ago. My understanding was that we would be paired in 2 to ride the elephant while the trainer takes charge. It started this way, and then I was asked if I wanted to sit in front, which I did! To my dismay the trainer jumps down and I am in charge of this elephant. The person from India who was selected to my partner, was already worried about getting on the elephant and has closed his eyes. Through my loud, clear and deep voice (inside work joke!) I was able to steer the elephant on the path. It is great to see they do not condone hitting the elephant, it is all done through talking. The trainer is on the ground helping me talk to the elephant, but for most of the time on the elephant I was in charge. Definitely an experience I will not soon forget!
The Elephant Cherry, the guy from India and myself!