(in South and Southeast Asia) a person who works with, rides, and tends an elephant.
I think if there is one thing that people know about me, it’s that I love elephants. Honestly, it is a little bit of an obsession. I have elephant jewelry, clothes, toys for my future children, decorations… you get the picture 🙂
If you only had one day in Thailand, I would recommend this tour.
Here is what your day as a Mahout would look like:
7:30-9:30 am- Pick up from your hotel and take an incredibly scenic 2 hour drive to the village. If you get car sick- I would recommend taking some medicine beforehand.
9:30-10:30 am- This part of your day is all about getting to know all of the elephants and observing them in a very non-structured environment. Sun, your tour guide, will teach you a lot about elephants and how to tell if they are healthy and happy.10:30-11:30 am- Now you are assigned an elephant and you get to bond with them. Sun tried his best to match the elephant’s temperament and personality with that of the volunteer. You are taught their name, specific commands, how to approach them, and then you are given about twenty pounds of bananas and sugar cane to feed them. They LOVE that stuff!!
During this time you also get to examine your elephant’s dung to look for worms and signs of malnourishment. I know it sounds gross, but it was actually really fascinating! You also get to mash up herbs and create some sort of nutritional balls to aid in the health of the elephants. They love those too 🙂11:30 am- 1:00 pm- Riding elephants in Thailand is a serious problem and can cause a lot of pain to these gentle giants. Fortunately, Sun teaches us how to do it without causing any sort of discomfort to your elephant.
In fact, riding and exercising your elephant helps keep them healthy. For one, it is good for them to get into the wild and eat different kinds of organic food. It is also good because walking helps elephants naturally file their toe nails which prevent ingrown nails- one of the top 3 ailments of elephants in Thailand.This picture of Matt makes me giggle every time. He is rocking that poncho/leaf hat combo!1:00-2:00 pm- You get to enjoy the most amazing meal of chicken, sticky rice, fruit, and Thai desserts. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life!2:00- 3:00 pm- This is when we bathe the elephants. Proper skin care is very important because elephants are prone to hot spots and worms that dig into their skin. Both of those irritations keep the elephants from sleeping well at night and that really affects their mental health. Plus the water helps the elephants (and volunteers) cool down and the elephants love playing in it.3:00-3:30 pm- Say goodbye to your elephants and get your FREE picture CD. Sun takes great pictures on his DSLR and then gives you all of them at the end of the day as a gift. He doesn’t skimp on pictures, either. We have over 100 on our CD and they were all amazing… as you can see!3:30-5:30 Cry as you drive home because the best day ever is already over.
Having my very own elephant to feed, bathe, and take care of for an entire day was an absolute DREAM! Truly, the best day of my life! Sorry Matt, our wedding day is a close 2nd 😉