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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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Rice Farmers of Thailand Through the Lens

September 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Features, Photography

Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand. A combination of natural beauty and countless cultural activities makes the area a popular tourist stop. Travelers have the opportunity to visit local hill tribes, sample delectable local cuisine, and raft along the Ping River. On this day, a local guide led our small group of travel writers on a tour of Lanna or the “land of a million rice fields.”

Follow this photographic journey featuring the Akha hill tribe transplanting rice:

khum-lanna rice-paddies-thailand Khum Lanna + Chiang Mai Rice Paddies © Gennaro Salamone

We were set for a sunrise biking tour along the rural country road from San Kwang village to Phrao to visit the local markets. Leaving the charming Khum Lanna, we were met by steady rains that prevented a view of the sunrise. Despite that, the early showers on the emerald-green rice paddies provided a tranquil atmosphere for the sojourn.

traditional-thai-people thai-women-working Akha Hill Tribe Transplanting Rice © Gennaro Salamone

We visited the local markets, stopping for tea and an interesting traditional drink that consisted mainly of raw eggs, before heading off to the area of the rice paddies where the Akha tribe was transplanting rice. Working in the rice paddies appeared to be labor intensive, but smiles were common among the inhabitants. This work is essential to the economic success of Thailand, which is the world’s biggest rice exporter according to the Bangkok Post.

thai-man gennaro-salamone-rice Local Farmer © Gennaro Salamone + Overzealous Travel Writer (Taken by Ted Beatie)

The highlight of the morning was an opportunity to join the Akha in the rice paddies for some hands-on learning. It’s one thing to observe the nature of the labor, but having your legs ankle deep in mud while bending to stick rice plants into the ground gives a new level of understanding. We were fortunate to have a guide who had relationships with the community. Sometimes, it’s worthwhile to forgo complete independence while traveling.

I was joined on the trip by travel writers: Angela Dollar, Ted Beatie, and Carlo Alcos. Visit and bookmark their websites. After that, view Lake Titicaca photos featuring the Uros people.

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.

 

Receive our free content by e-mail directly to your inbox or through an RSS reader.