Do you love elephants? Would you like to spend a whole week taking care of them? Then the Elephant Nature Park (ENP) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is just your thing. We spent a week doing the ‘Journey to Freedom’ project, and it was simply amazing.
If you’re thinking about riding an elephant, think again. The ENP takes care of elephants who got injured doing just that. It’s not only that the weight of the carrier is too heavy for the elephant’s back, it’s also that the methods their trainers use to subordinate them are pretty terrible. And that’s an understatement.
Fortunately, there’s one courageous lady named Lek, who founded the Elephant Nature Park. It all started with one elephant Lek saved from the tortures of the tourist industry. At present the ENP takes care of 40 elephants. They roam freely in a Jurassic Park like setting, beautiful and peaceful.
We spend the first 5 of 7 days somewhere else, though. Mae Joom Sam, high up in the mountains, is a tiny village with 30 inhabitants. As a volunteer we help them with anything, from fixing the roof to teaching the children English.
Our accommodation is an open room in one of the village houses. A very basic, giant spiders in the bathroom, accommodation. But so cool, it’s good being away from everything, from the iPad, iPhone, tablet, TV, computer, all that. The people are so happy here, and yet they don’t have any of that stuff. Maybe because they don’t have any of that stuff.
The last 2 days we spend in the Elephant Nature Park. Like I said, it’s amazing here. We get to bathe the elephants, feed them and pet them. Afterwards, we sit on the big terrace overlooking the park, watching the elephants.
What did it all cost?
This program costs 360 EUR for one week. It includes everything, transport, food, drinks, accommodation, entrance fees. The money is well spent, we can see it being used in such a positive way. I’m amazed it’s actually that cheap (compared to other – especially American run – voluntary programs). Good value for your money, I would say!
For more info, please visit http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/.
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