For the people around you that don’t know what a mahout is. A mahout is an elephant trainer that basically dedicates his life to the elephants. Whilst being in Thailand, that even has a beer brand with elephants, you just can’t leave Thailand without coming close to these animals.
Being around at Woody’s Elephant Training Farm in Chiang Mai all day was definitely one of the highlights of our stay in Thailand and today I’m sharing my favorite pictures and I tell you all about the experience.
Firstly, let me say that I do not support the very touristic elephant rides in Thailand. I did this myself previously not knowing how badly these animals are taken care of, a bit shallow, I know. It’s not without reason that these rides are pretty cheap and tour operators are skipping them from their programs.
The elephant farm I’m telling you about today is nothing like that and really loves and takes good care of their animals. The organization we chose for our day as a mahout is Woody’s Elephant Training near Chiang Mai.
Around 9 am the four of us were picked up, together with two other tourists, from our hostel and drove for about an hour to the farm. We cuddled with the lovely puppy’s, had something to drink and changed into original Mahout clothing (not that fashionable I must say).
Woody started the day with explaining all about the elephants, what they need and how they are trained. We learned how to pronounce all the basic commands such as stop, open your mouth and left & right. After some studying and writing most of the commands on our hands (better safe than sorry) we headed down to where the animals were.
We started with feeding the elephants and started to get to know these animals a bit and feel comfortable around them. After cleaning up their poop (that’s what you do when you’re a day at the farm) we learned how to ‘climb’ up the elephants backs: This. Is. Hard. I’m way too small and inflexible to got up in an elegant way, but I managed to get up in a not so elegant way. We spent the whole morning learning how to get up and off, how to make the animals go to the left and the right, and how to stop them.
After some lovely lunch at the farm we headed back to the elephants to make a small ride through the surrounding area. Two of us at one elephant without anything to hold on to, yep I was scared.
After the ride we ended at a pond where we washed the animals. This was my favorite part of the day, the animals really loved it and it was so much fun to be in the water with them and wash them. We also actually swam with the animals in a larger pond next to the other one. The swimming was mostly screaming, laughing and trying to hold your head above the water, so much fun!
After a welcoming shower we were brought back to our hostel around 4 pm and looked back at the most amazing day! We woke up with the worst muscle pain the next morning by the way 😉
I think we paid around €50 euro each for this day and therefore we got pick up service, lunch, a professional photographer and of course a lovely day with the elephants. There can be a maximum of 14 tourists a day. Also, the money is mostly used to take care of the animals. This is the reason Woody has tourists coming over, taking care of the animals is pretty expensive.
Again, Woody really loves and takes care of his elephants and Woody’s Elephant Training is very animal friendly and not cruel at all. Please make sure that if you want to do an activity with elephants you choose an organization which top priority is to take care of the elephants. Make sure you do some good research about this, before booking the activity.
Did you ever had such an amazing experience with elephants?