Bangkok Diaries: My first elephant ride

Monday, April 02, 2012

I was struggling with navigating through the streets of Bangkok from day 1. However, that's not going to stop me from doing one of the most exciting things on my bucket list: riding a REAL elephant. The good news is the hotel was offering some packages. I just had to check the rates from other travel agencies outside to compare rates. Theirs turned out to be the cheapest which is really surprising. I thought hotels usually charge more than usual.

The package includes transportation, entrance fee, elephant show, crocodile show and the elephant ride. That's a pretty decent deal. Others may still find the fees a bit steep (especially budget travelers). The elephant ride alone is about 16USD (equivalent of a good 3D movie in the US). But I have to say, it's worth it!

The van that picked me up was 30 minutes late. The driver picked up a couple of families from other hotels. I was the only solo traveler on the van. We headed to Samphran which is about an hour away from Bangkok. We started the tour with the elephant show. It was one of the most entertaining animal shows I've seen so far.

These elephants were real professional actors! There were a lot of dancing, fighting even exploding (fake bombs which really scared the shit out of me to be honest).

After the show, we had the chance to take photos with the elephants. The nice Australian lady was nice enough to take my photo.

Then we headed to the crocodile show. I am not a big fan of crocodiles (though I am a big fan of crocs - the footwear). They always remind me of Lake Placid and that giant croc Lolong who swallowed a fisherman alive. There were two men who were playing around with the crocs, putting their heads between their open jaws while the crowd is standing, waiting for an accident to happen. But it didn't. These crocs are well trained and the guys were professionals. Thank God nothing bad happened to them during the show.

After the shows, you can walk around the park and check out the other animals. I was more interested in the finale which is the elephant ride. At first I was really scared because I didn't know if the elephant would like a big guy riding it. Fortunately, there were bigger elephants with comfortable seats. We walked around the park for about 20 minutes. It was the most calming activity ever! I mean, it was the only time I didn't think about anything but how beautiful the trees were, how relaxing the sound of nature was, and most importantly,  I was on a freaking elephant!

A young Thai boy volunteered to take my photo while I tried to get on the elephant. What surprised me was that he took my phone and ran off with it! But he didn't steal it. He ran to the other side to wait for me. He was also pretty familiar with the features of my phone so he was able to get great shots. Like this:

I gave him a good tip. He deserved it.

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