My experience:After a very early start and a bumpy 2-hour car ride up into the valley we arrived at the sanctuary. Upon arrival we were given a multi coloured thread top. I would recommend bringing shorts as otherwise you look half naked like I did. But to be quite honest no cared about the semi-nudity, least of all the elephants. After an introduction to the team we were given a talk about elephant care and a history of all the elephants in that location. The carers were kind and intelligent, stressing the need for improved conditions for these animals.
After this we were lead down to the wide open field where the elephants were. Coming face to face with these creatures in an environment that is entirely their own is indescribable. The elephants were not fearful and would happily walk around us sniffing our hair and eating bananas out of our hands. All the food is provided by the sanctuary so do not worry about bringing any with you. Fun tip: the elephants love the bananas and sugar cane, but aren’t as keen on the cucumbers so grab the former if you want to be popular with them! Be calm and patient with the elephants, they’re naturally curious and playful. But mind your feet![gallery ids="3762,3763,3764,3765,3784" type="rectangular" orderby="rand"] Everything is done on the elephant’s time; the feeding session can take thirty minutes or an hour. It is completely up to them. After the feeding we went on a short walk with the elephants up the ravine and finally down to the small lake that lay below. [gallery ids="3773,3798" type="rectangular"] Then it got really fun. We were shown how to help wash and scrub the elephants. Definitely bring a swimming costume or trunks with you because it gets very wet. No matter what age everyone was splashing around in the water. Truly unforgettable. After this we walked back to main hut and said goodbye to our new friends. This entire experience felt calm and natural, a far cry from the mechanic and capitalist attitude seen at other locations. This piece is by no means meant to sound preachy or condescending. Obviously no one in his or her right mind would wish to see an elephant hurt. My aim is to merely pass on the knowledge I learned from this experience and share the magic I felt from this day.
Thank you and happy travelling xFollow more of Grace's adventures here. Useful links to learn more and the website of the sanctuary I visited: http://www.saveelephant.org http://www.elephantjunglesanctuary.com