Cost: 1600 baht ($60 CDN)
- 2 hours trekking to a waterfall (1 hour there and 1 hour back)
- Feeding and bathing elephants
- White water rafting
- Bamboo rafting
- Transportation – pick up and dropped off to hostel
We started the day with the hike to the waterfalls. The sign said it would be 1.6km hike but since it wasn’t just a flat, easy hike it took about an hour or so to reach the falls. We had to trek across water by balancing on small logs, climb up and down hills, be careful not to slip on loose rocks all while trying to look around and take in the beautiful surrounding jungle.
We got to a half way point where we played we sling shots trying to hit the bottle in the tree and catching our breath before starting the second half of the journey to the falls which was a bit steeper and more rocky.
Once we got to the falls it made the long, hot hike worth it. We got undressed and went for a dip in the cool refreshing water. We got really lucky because as we were getting there a bunch of groups were leaving so we had the place all to ourselves. We relaxed here for about 30-45 mins before getting dressed and making our way back.
By the time we got back to the truck it was about 12pm so we headed for lunch. After that hike we all had an appetite and I was excited for it. They provided vegetarian fried rice wrapped in a banana leaf. It was so cute. For dessert we had pineapple.
Once we were all full we made our way over to the elephants. There were 3 and they were all female because our guide said male elephants are too aggressive and harder to control. Our guide, PJ, showed us the two ways we could feed the elephants. We could either place the bananas in front of their trunk and the elephant will take it and put it in their mouth or we could place the bananas directly in the elephants mouth.
I was so intimated by these beautiful, massive creatures that I opted for the first option. After getting a little more comfortable and seeing everyone else feed them directly in their mouths, I tried it too and was so scared but I did it and left with all limbs in tact.
Once all the bananas were eaten we went back to the eating area to prepare for the bath. We made natural lufas using the wood from creeper vines that had been cut. Then we took a wooden mallet and beat it down until the bark fell off and the meat was flat. We beat it for about 3-5 minutes and once PJ said it was ready we put it in a bowl with water. Pj explained that this type of wood contained a natural moisturizer and cleaning agents that we could use to clean the elephants. When we added water to the wood it suds immediately came. It was so cool!
We got into our swimsuits again and made our way down to the river where the 3 elephants were already in the water. Each had a trainer on its back who was already washing it. Pj warned us not to stand between the elephants (so they don’t step on you by mistake) but anywhere around them was fine.
I made my way into the water and started bathing my elephant! We splashed them with water and then scrubbed them down. They loved it!!! It was an experience I’ll never forget. After bathing them we chilled for a bit and we saw one of them scratching herself with a tree. You can see the relief on her face in these cute pictures. I definitely fell I love with these huge majestic creatures today.
Next we jumped in the truck to go down to the area for white water rafting. Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera with me so I don’t have any photos except for this one that I bought LOL @ my face. This picture with the frame cost only 100 baht ($4 CDN)!!
Since it’s not the rainy season the rafting wasn’t too intense as the river was quite low (hence the expression on my face lol). Nonetheless the ride down the river offered breath taking views and made me appreciate the fact that I’m in beautiful Thailand having an amazing day. Once we got down the river we got off the raft and jumped on to the bamboo raft.
It was a really long raft about 20ft long by 5 feet wide. Two people sat side by side, crossed legged. The raft floated but when you sat on it you were immersed in about 5 inches of water. The bamboo raft ride was only about 5 minutes or so and then we walked back to the truck where there was a little shop and your photo from the rafting ride in a frame made from poopoo paper – a type of recycled paper made from elephant dung. It only cost 100 bhat so even though I look horrible in the pic I bought it. The frame alone was worth the price.
After relaxing and socializing here for a bit we got into the truck and started the 90 minute drive back to chiang Mai city.
I had an amazing day with the elephant trekking care and highly recommend this tour if you’re ever in Chiang Mai. PJ our guide spoke amazing English and was really fun. She took out photos and videos and made the day even more enjoyable.