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Riding an Elephant in Thailand

October 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Destinations, Features

Chiang Mai, Thailand is the answer. Where to ride an elephant, how to ride an elephant, and where to hug and kiss a baby elephant are the musings. The voyage began with a serene 8-mile bike ride from the rustic Lisu Lodge to the elephant camp. Despite the excitement surrounding the elephant riding, the natural beauty of the Chiang Mai countryside still manages to capture your attention.

On arrival, several gentle giants standing near the river met our group of travel writers. Among the elephants was a pregnant female who managed to carry two of us along the mountainous jungle scenery down the river. The secret to riding this particular elephant was to ensure that she was fed plenty of bananas. Be sure to put aside enough bananas for the entire trip, as her trunk will be jumping back to collect a reward every few steps.
riding-elephants-thailand angela-dollar-feeding-elephants Elephant reaching for Gennaro’s feet + Angela Dollar feeding an elephant © Gennaro Salamone

Behind the pregnant giant was a 3-year old baby elephant that followed along for the journey sans passenger. He spent most of the trip using his trunk to throw dirt over his shoulder ensuring protection against the sun and insects. While the ride along the river was wonderful, the highlight of the day was bonding with the baby elephant at the end. I walked over to the receptive animal and proceeded to hug and kiss him. It’s not every day that you can connect with one of the largest land mammals.
gennaro-salamone-hugging-elephants kissing-baby-elephant Hugging and kissing a baby elephant © Gennaro Salamone

There are several options that allow for a similar experience. Elephant Nature Park is one of the better choices with over thirty rescued elephants from infants to old-timers. They have everything from day trips to three-week long volunteer stays.

This trip to Thailand was courtesy of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The content and opinions in the article are those of the author.
gennaro-salamone-photo.jpgGennaro Salamone is the founder and editor of Enduring Wanderlust. Feel free to contact him with questions, comments, or inquiries with reference to contributing an article or photograph for publication.


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18 Responses to “Riding an Elephant in Thailand”
  1. Alison Wright says:

    Lucky! I love elephants. This is an experience I need to have 🙂

  2. Tim says:

    Hilarious that the elephant’s trunk reaches for the bananas. Looks like a crazy, fun times. Clearly, you’re loving it. Ha, ha.

  3. Gennaro says:

    @Alison Wright – Very lucky. Go for it.

    @Tim – The trunk thing is so funny. Loved it.

  4. Andi says:

    Beyond beyond beyond awesome!!! I rode an elephant in Thailand too, will never forget the experience. That 1st pic is fabulous.

  5. Gennaro says:

    @Andi – Thanks. Nice to hear that you had the chance to do it too.

  6. Randy T says:

    Volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park sounds like it would be really interesting.

    Those elephants look like they have a lot of personality. The trunk reaching for food is too much.

  7. Ayngelina says:

    Gennaro that looks like so much fun, I’m always in awe of how gentle large animals can be.

  8. Gennaro says:

    @Randy T – So much personality. And the trunk eaching back for bananas had me smiling or laughing each time.

    @Ayngelina – Absolutely.

  9. J.D. Meier says:

    That must have been fun!

  10. Alisa Brewer says:

    Oh, my. I want to hug a baby elephant. Please!

    Amazing photos.

  11. Gennaro says:

    @J.D. Meier – Absolutely.

    @Alisa Brewer – Ha, ha. Go for it.

  12. What a fabulous experience. I want to hug and kiss a baby elephant.

  13. Rand says:

    I love the descriptive flow of your writing. The baby elephant is so cute it hard to even find words. Awesome experience.

  14. Gennaro says:

    @Barbara Bakes – Appreciate the comment. Yes, it was a lot of fun.

    @Rand – You’re too kind.

  15. Bodlagz says:

    Elephant trekking seems to be one of the “must do’s” for visitors to Thailand, but please be aware that the elephants are often overworked and over stressed. The noble beasts are becoming merely a tourist attraction, and sorry to say, money over rides welfare.


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