We almost drove right past the elephant trekking zone. It looked much like one of the many wooden snack shacks that we lined the windy roads, with a thatched roof that looked as if it had almost been blown over and then drenched to near extinction during Thailand’s rainy season. A massive chunk of rock with the words “Safari Adventure” scribbled on its surface sat at the entrance. We pulled in, parked our bikes in the sandy dirt, and walked over to the people who were standing in the restaurant area.
Our resort, Lime & Soda, had advertised an elephant trekking trip that included extras like a snake show, pick up and drop off from the resort, water wipe-out activities, and lunch for about 1800 baht, but seeing as I was only interested in the elephants, we opted to take our chances with the tiny map on the back of the brochure to find the elephant sanctuary ourselves. Locating the attraction took about forty five minutes and a few wrong turns, and it was well worth it because the price of the 30 minute trek itself was only 500 baht.
Zach and I were the first ones on one of the massive elephants, and we were comfortably seated in a nice little bench that sat on top of the elephant’s shoulders while the man who was directing us sat free-style on top of the elephants neck. After we walked a few paces out of the main area, past a woman playing with a crocodile, through some roosters, and into a bit of a clearing, the man scooted his body onto the elephants head, and then, with assistance from the elephant, down its trunk. From the ground, he looked up at us and motioned for Zach to slide off of the bench and onto the elephants head, and I to slide onto its neck. As we did so, the man pulled a joint out of his pocket and lit up.
Riding the elephant was pretty awesome, and made exponentially better because our elephant driver gave us the reigns so that he could get high. The elephants skin was like old, wrinkly, sun dried leather, sprinkled with tiny sprouts of itchy pubic-esque hair. He slapped my legs constantly with his ears, and a few times he’d pause, take a deep breathe, and blow out his nose on us. Unfortunately, my mouth was open on one of those occasions. At the end of the trek we were able to feed him bananas, which he grabbed whole with his nose, and popped into his mouth.
On our way out, we stopped by and played with a monkey. He was a feisty thing that enjoyed stealing items out of our pockets, and punching my sunglasses off of my face.