After my little adventure on the back of a motorbike (see https://wonderlustvlogs.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/riding-on-generosity-kata-thailand/) we booked our elephant trek with the receptionist at our hotel (the Palmery) and we were collected and taken to Kokchang Elephant Trekking centre. Kokchang is a brilliant centre where the elephants are looked after very well. They offer trekking as well as playing with the elephants in water and feeding the elephants too. The elephant trainers are called Mahouts and ours very evidently loved the elephants, treating them with great care and respect. It was raining pretty heavily when we arrived and so we waited in the bar/cafe area for maybe 20-30 mins for the rain to ease off.
Once it did, we made our way up on to a wooden platform, put our shoes in to little pigeon-holes and boarded our elephants. Millie and I were on one elephant, with Milo strapped to the from of Millie, and my sister, her husband and son were on another. Each elephant had a small bench strapped on like backpacks on their backs, which is where we sat. We were given umbrellas just in case the rains came down again, which was pretty helpful as it did! Fortunately, with the climate being tropical, we didn’t suffer from it seeming too cold and so being a little wet was no problem.
Our Mahouts started by sitting on the shoulders of the elephants and we were guided through some pretty bumpy ground. It took a bit of getting used to as it regularly felt as if our bench might fall off the elephant’s backs, but before long we got used to it and felt comfortable. We trekked through some pretty dense rainforest and before long, the Mahouts were happy that the elephants were comfortable with us on their backs and went to the ground, aided by the elephant’s trunk. The Mahouts were very happy to take our phones and photograph our experience. The Mahouts were entertained by our 1 year old son copying the Mahout’s calls. Fortunately for us, I don’t think the elephants listened to him!
The rainforest soon cleared and we were gifted with a beautiful view of the sea from a very high viewpoint. Despite the rain coming down on and off, this view was still stunning. We waited there for a few minutes, taking photos of the view and the Mahouts taking photos of us.
On our way back to base, the elephants seemed very happy to stop every now and again to eat some leaves and sometimes they seemed like they were taking in the experience too.
When we returned to base, the elephants were given a little snack and were taken to a shelter to keep them out of the rain.
We had a wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone. We were very happy to hear of the extents the Kokchang Safari went to look after their animals and hope that any business they gain from people reading this blog will be able to fund the continued good work they do.