Thailand · 5 Days · 12 Moments · September 2017

Elephant Nature Park (Chiang Mai)

23 September 2017

Last full day at ENP! :( woke up, had breakfast. First job of the day was elephant food, really fun! Tossing watermelons, cleaning them, unloading banana trucks, peeling bananas to then take them to the elephants to feed them. After this we headed to the dog sanctuary and got to see loads more dogs than last time - it was gorgeous. It was time for dinner before our down time afternoon. We went to the fields to take some group pics first which was lovely and the guides took us for a small elephant walk too. We decided we'd chance the dog sanctuary again in the hope we could visit the puppy run which was full of beautiful small dogs and puppies needing a forever home. They were beautiful, seriously tempted to adopt one closer to the time we get home!! We had our showers and caught up on journals etc. Sat and spoke to Megan and Ping for a while. Tea time tonight was a little different, we had a special BBQ buffet - not to be a Brit abroad but, hardly a BBQ if there’s no meat?! Just tofu..
... Tea was made more enjoyable when the little kids we met from the school yesterday came and danced for us whilst we ate. After this we sat and chilled with Ellie and Will with some beers for a while and got to realise how much we all actually have in common! Before being escorted to bed by the parks free roaming dogs, we got some great tips for America off the lovely Raina (American girl who we've arranged to meet up with in the states).

22 September 2017

Pretty eventful day by the end. Woke up and headed for breakfast, same old. First job of the day was the dreaded elephant poo! But luckily, today was school trip day! Which meant we got to head to the local school in the village to meet the kids, so this meant eli poo was cut short! After scooping all the turds, it was a rush to get to the bus to take us to the school. We got there and we're greeted on the playground by beautiful smiley faces. The headteacher gave us a small speech about what we could expect and before I knew i had a small child's hand in my hand taking me to her foot massaging station! So I sat back as her and her friend gave me the best thai foot massage! Such friendly little girls, tried making conversation but they struggled with English, still smiling throughout though. After this, I headed inside one of the classrooms to join Ryan in a drawing game. One of the little boys kindly took my hand and escorted me to the gang I could sit with and colour in...
... made friends with 3 little boys who showed us how to do a Rubik's cube (ish!) hi 5's, made up hand shakes and got into a tickle war too! After this we walked around the stalls, some students were making scented candles for just 10 baht (equivalent of about 20p!) and jewels for about the same price. we donated some money to the school and it was time to go. Absolutely incredible experience! We got back to the park for the afternoons job which ended up being clean up park - which I hate. However all the groups together had to do this so we did it with Ellie and Will. Back for a shower before tea and the hilarious evening entertainment - the Mahout's band! Just so cute!! 14 mahouts stood together with their home made instruments. Beer bottles, water bottles, tin cans, plastic tubes with holes in for flutes! Ryan was dragged in to dance too! Ended the day with drinking games with the group & met people from Australia, America, Germany, Canada, China, UK! Stumbled to bed at 2am!

21 September 2017

... Ellie and Will joined us and we all played a few games of Shithead before Lyndsey (an American girl from Missouri) joined and introduced us to a new card game called spoons! So we played for a couple of hours before Will and Ellie went off for showers and we stayed and got to know Lindsay and her Mum. Lovely people. We sat and had tea with Ping tonight, where we spoke about her history and China. Later on, after tea, the entertainment was traditional Thai dancing. This was great fun and towards the end they got the whole crowd up to dance to Gangnam style, I somehow managed to time my toilet break perfectly and didn't have to join in! We were pretty knackered after this so had another drink and got chatting to Will, Ellie, Lindsay's mum, a woman from Ireland and another American (not sure of their names) we then headed to bed. Oh also, turns out Missy (our adopted dog) is actually called Iron and is a boy, who knew.
Today we woke up and headed straight for breakfast. First job of the day was preparing the elephant food. We were so excited for this one. Heading over to the elephant kitchen we were split into groups where I was sat with Ping (cutest Chinese girl ever) and our guide Wan to peel bananas for the elephants. Not too bad at first, until your hands got so sticky and slimey you couldn't grab anything and critters everywhere you looked!! Ryan was in the other group which involved passing watermelons into the huge pool to clean them up. We got all the food ready and now it was time to carry them over to feed the elephants! Will never tire of doing this. Unreal experience. After feeding a few we headed back in time for lunch before our second job of the day which was clean up park. This was seriously hard going in the heat!! I was on rake patrol and ryan was on spade patrol! After a tiring couple of hours, we had cleaned the park! It was time for a large Chang at the bar...

20 September 2017

... Beautiful little dogs running around in a huge run. They all seemed very happy to live here but the hope is that they are adopted some day and taken to a loving home. We walked back and grabbed a shower before having a lovely tea and a cold singha beer. At 7pm we had a Thai culture lesson, this was great fun and all the guides were full of banter! A quick drink at the bar before heading to bed - knackered. Oh also, a cat invaded our room and wouldn't leave!
Woke up to find missy still outside our door! Headed for breakfast (wasn't a fan today) and got ready for our first job of the day - elephant poo. Fucking dreadful. We had to scoop poo pieces literally bigger than our heads into a truck and kept doing so until we had about 20 truck fulls! Baring in mind the park homes 74 elephants - we had to clean each pen!!! It was so tiring in the blistering heat too. However, with a bit of teamwork we all managed in the end. After that, it was time for a shower as we were covered in elephant dump! Headed for lunch before our second job of the day - elephant walk. Barely a job! Very luckily we got to roam the park and get up close to the elephants and take pictures. This was an unbelievable afternoon and not one I am likely to forget anytime soon. Johnny, our guide, gave us plenty of information and elephant facts throughout. After this we met up with Ellie and headed to the dog sanctuary. This was amazing!...

19 September 2017

... Next up, showered in THE WORLDS WORST SHOWER!!! Dripping out cold water! We headed to tea. Already starting to miss meat! Stayed up for a while with a few Chang beers and played card games before we acquired a cute little dog we've named Missy (definitely bringing her home with me, ryan doesn’t need to know!) she followed us all the way home and slept outside our door.
First full day at ENP! We woke up early to grab our first buffet breakfast - it was wonderful. Then headed over to the meeting point where we were taken to our first job - grass planting. Sounds easy but in this humidity - not at all! Aek was our guide and he claimed it would be a short 10 min walk to the site.. little did we know his Thai 10 mins was our British 40 mins walk! We got there and planted some naripia for the elephants. Seriously strenuous but a strong feeling of reward once done. We had lunch and showered as we were covered from head to toe in mud ready in time for the second job of the day "enrichment" with our guide Jen. He took us to pick some bananas & watermelons to carry over to the elephant enclosures. Here we had to plant the fruit in the pens in order to entice the elephants back to their pens. Jen then took us for a walk around the park to meet some elephants. We got to feed a beautiful elephant who had broken her leg in the circus trade..

18 September 2017

Woke up after a seriously uncomfortable night at the dorm. This didn’t phase us as we were heading to ENP today!! We headed out to find some quick breakfast before being picked up - no luck only a pot of pringles each! We checked out & waited.. & waited.. & waited for our bus to pick us up. Finally they arrived & off we went. Met a lovely bunch of people on the bus. 4 girls from Australia and a couple from Bristol, Ellie and Will! Spoke the whole way to the park making the journey a lot shorter. Got to the park, just incredible. Beautiful elephants roaming free on the huge green landscape - we got to get up close and personal which was ace. We had lunch - vegetarian Thai buffet, interesting. Had my first taste of tofu - a bit unsure! We had our induction & watched a short documentary about the elephant trade in Thailand. It was heartbreaking with the whole room fighting back the tears. We checked into our room before for our first job of the week...
... unloading trucks of bananas! Bloody ants and spiders everywhere. We grabbed a beer after this and chilled watching the elephants walk by whilst hanging out with a couple of the parks 400 dogs!!! 6pm was the welcoming ceremony, this was something quite special. We were blessed by a monk and given a splash of holy water along with a bracelet which he blessed to wish us a long and happy life. It was lovely. Then it was tea time, another variety of Thai buffet! Lovely too. We had a couple more beers and played some card games. Hung out for a bit with Ellie and Will before heading to bed. Early start of actual graft tomorrow!!