Our first morning after the full moon party, Megan and I decided to do something weâ€™d been excited for ever since we first thought of Thailand -- go on an elephant ride! It is a surreal experience that you really have to see to believe. The elephants are ginormous, and riding on top gives you an incredible view.
Our elephantâ€™s name was Dumbo, and he had the ears to fit the bill. He was about 45 years-old and we were told that an elephantâ€™s lifespan is as long as humans. We were glad we got Dumbo; he looked like one of the biggest elephants. We rode through beautiful, lush jungle and open grassy areas with nothing but palm trees as far as we could see. The ride is bumpy up top and you have to hold on to keep from falling off. While we rode, we would pet the elephantâ€™s tough hide with our bare feet.
The elephant would stop to eat plants but not stop to poo. It was incredible to see the elephantâ€™s large and agile trunk swing down to pick up some grass or even pull a whole plant, roots and all, out of the ground. The most amazing thing, however, was leaning over the side to see the elephant nimbly place its foot on a coconut to crack it open, then pour the milk into its mouth.
The elephant rider, or mahout, would give the beast pokes above his eye on the left or right side to encourage him to move. The mahout could also give verbal commands. After a while, we had reached a small stream in which the elephant needed a drink and some shade. The elephant fills his trunk with water and sprays it on his sides and belly. Then he fans himself with his gigantic ears. We got soaked!
After the ride, we were able to feed the elephant whole bananas. There are around 40,000 muscles in an elephants trunk, making it sensitive enough to pick up a blade of grass, but strong enough to pull branches off a tree. It is definitely weird to touch!
Go ahead andÂ follow the link to look at the pictures! Enjoy!