Those dreams, goals, and once in a lifetime opportunities where you take life by the neck and scream with joy at the adventure!
These past two weeks on vacation, without sounding cliche, are what dreams are made of. Things I have longed to do were checked off in an orderly fashion with my best friend by my side. For starters; we rode Syed this 14 year old beauty of an elephant. My love for elephants runs deep and it has been a desire for years for me to be able to ride one of these gentle giants. This big boy was huge, but compared to his African counterpart he is among the smaller species since he is an Asian elephant. There are a few differences between the Asian and the African elephant being that they are of course smaller in size, have more of a rounded head, no tusks and only one “finger” on their trunk. After our ride, we bought bananas by the basket and fed our dear jungle trekking buddy. Gary and I kinda spoiled him and bought 5 baskets of bananas because we didn’t have change for how much Thai baht we had on us.
It was amzing being able to interact with the beast that carried us through river beds and palm tree covered forests. Petting his giant head and hand feeding him bananas is an experience I will not easily forget. Taking a short break from our trek we washed our hands and had a quick snack of fresh pineapple from the local safari guides as our main guide lead Syed back to rest. And to our surprise brought out a younger elephant named Joe who was 7 years old. He was certainly past being a baby but still quite a bit smaller than the experienced Syed. Joe happily led us to a small lagoon on the property and we grabbed scrub brushes and waded in knee deep water to bathe him. I’m a bit sad we didn’t capture this part on camera–but being that I did not have a waterproof case on my phone I thought better to leave that memory in my mind. Joe splashed water on us with his trunk and looked amused at dowsing us again and again as we brushed his tough furry head.
*Side-note: I had originally told Gary I didn’t want to bathe the elephants due to being in contaminated water with them…but our package was booked through our resort and we had no way of knowing which one we got until we were in the thick of it. Even know I was concerned about the cleanliness, thank you hospital training–I carry your warnings with me wherever I go, it was still an incredible experience that I would gladly do again.
Joe was probably my favorite part of the elephant trekking experience. After his bath, he played us a song on a harmonica and danced for us. Seriously, it was precious. His last trick for us was retrieving a hat from my head that we do have on film and you can see that below. ❤
If you ever find yourself in Krabi, Thailand make sure to go with Huay Tho Waterfall Safari for your elephant trekking. We were recommended to go with them by our resort as they have a wonderful reputation for treating their elephants humanely and taking excellent care of them. From what we experienced and saw on the property this was very much true and gave us a phenomenal memory we will always look back on with great fondness.
And bonus: they sell you a photo of you on top of the elephant and print it out in a frame for you to take home for only 100 baht!!! That comes to about $3-$5 USD and certainly a steal compared to Disney and Universal photo memories. To answer your question, yes…yes I did purchase one. It is in my office now near my photo wall. For every “activity” we did it almost became like a game for me to collect more of these framed photos for 100 baht. I only got two since we ended up doing only two big main activities but not gonna lie I was stoked each time we bought one. You just can’t beat that price point.
So that leads me to our other activity! We went sea kayaking with my brother-in law Rob. Our kayak excursion included lunch and exploring local caves. Usually on the sea-kayaking tours you see native monkeys hanging around the mangroves and in and around the caves. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any monkeys on our expedition but the entire voyage was breathtaking. We passed through small oyster farms, towering karsts that give our skyscrapers competition, nile monitors in their natural habitat, small colorful sea crabs lining the shores, and the most amazing caves led by a water path. I was certainly in heaven. Gary and I were paired up in one kayak and Rob actually was paired up with our guide. Which was hilarious because almost the entire length of our paddle time our guide would say: “Rob, you want to take pictures of your friends? Get your camera ready.” Gary and I enjoyed laughing at this quite a bit actually as Rob was trying to search out nile monitors from the shore line and kept getting re-directed to take pictures of us. Nonetheless it was a beautiful tour that is definitely worth all the rowing.