Elephants are without a doubt, the largest mammals living on land. They also happen to be the revered animal famous in Thailand’s history and culture, having their fair share in fighting battles for the kings in the past. Therefore, it has always been one of my wishes to ride an elephant so as to feel the power of being on top of the world at least for once. One day while we were taking a cab towards Patong from Le Meridien, we saw a couple of huge elephants along the way and our curiousity got the better of us. We found out that there’s a Safari Elephant Club just nearby the Karon beach, open for elephant trekking to the public.
Elephant trekking in Phuket
Without much ado, we asked the cab driver to let us down so that we could find out more information about it.
“Elephant are big animals the king used as vehicle 200 years ago”
The Elephant Trekking price was stated on a piece of white paper, ranging from a 30-minute ride to a 2-hour ride. We decided to pay THB1000 each, which entitled us to a 45-minute ride. Bear in mind that the price stated was for one person. So you might think that each person should get an elephant since the price paid was individual. The fact was, if you chose to take an elephant to yourself, you’d most likely end up with a smaller baby elephant that could seat one person. But if you chose to share it with another person, then they would let you have the big adult elephant which was taller and more sturdy.
Elephant trekking price
We made a reservation for the ride a few days later, with necessary arrangements that would allow a pickup at the hotel with no extra charges. They were more than willing to comply since we stayed less than a couple of kilometres away.
Bananas for sale at THB100 each basket
A few days later, a Safari Elephant Club pick up came to our lobby as promised.
Pickup from Safari Elephant club
Our our way there (look at my tan lines! *gasp*)
We reached there in the morning while some of the elephants were still feeding on sugarcane leaves.
A Mahout (elephant keeper) attended to us shortly with an adult elephant. It was then harnessed with a double seat on its back, complete with secured ropes and cushion. We were then asked to sit on the cushion by climbing on the elephant back. I have to admit, I was rather nervous with stepping onto the elephant back, for fear that it might trigger him and set him running away. 😛 But it just stood there steadily, as if nothing happened when both of us stepped on its back to sit down.
Back of the elephant
Soon, the elephant started its journey with the Mahout in front. It was quite an experience to be so high up there and to be so.. exposed in the open. Once the elephant starting walking, I could feel myself swaying from left to right, which got me panicking and holding on to dear life. Walk walk walk, sway sway sway. It was quite scary as I didn’t feel comfortable enough to let go of the sides of my seat. I felt like I would get thrown off if I didn’t have something to hold on to. So for the first part of it, I did not really enjoy it.
After a while, I sort of got into the rhythm of the swaying and started to feel comfortable with it. It took some practice but I felt comfortable enough to start releasing my hands to snap photos instead.
On the way up
The trek was going uphill on a tar road, with a magnificent view of the sea and Le Meridien greeting us at the top. It was breathtaking indeed to see the sea from this vantage point. We stopped for a few minutes to admire the beauty of it all, and to rest the elephant.
View of the sea from the top
Le Meridien Resort Phuket
The trek soon turned into the jungle, with the elephant going downhill. At this point, I started swaying more as the path was uneven. Also, going downhill made me lean forward a little and I felt like I was going to fall off anytime soon. I started holding on to my seat for dear life again. I started to wonder if it was only our elephant or if it’s common to feel this way. Anyway, we stopped once we reached a clearing in the jungle, when the Mahout instructed the elephant to stay still.
Picture with the elephant
It was at this point that we took many pictures of us with the elephant, thanks to the help of our elephant keeper.
Saucer trying to sit on its bareback from the first time
Even though I was quite insecured especially on the way downhill, I found the ride to be rather enjoyable and unique. It was not like any other rides that I’d ever been, and it was high on top. Our ride took exactly 45 minutes and I felt it to be worth every cent paid.