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Visit the Mae Nam Taeng Valley Elephant

Listed under Activity Courses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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My first encounter with Thai elephants was hanging on precariously to an elephant howdah during a monsoon downpour in the forests of Northern Thailand. A time to really appreciate and respect the sure footedness of such a relatively huge pachyderm travelling on a steep and slippery narrow mountain path.

Following my new found elephant friend and her keeper again the next day we made our way down to the river for her morning shower and I joined them to bathe and wash away seeds and insects before work begins - An Elephant Spa ! Contrary to popular belief pachyderms - 'thick skinned mammals' have very sensitive skin.

In the north of Thailand Mahouts ( elephant keepers) are traditionally from the Karen Hill -Tribe minorities with commands and skills learnt over many generations with their partnership lasting over a life-time as both man and elephant may live over 60 years.

Over the day I was taught commands in Karen tribal dialect and got to know and care for this amazing creature, learning of foods and medicines that can be picked from the forest for an elephants well -being as I journey on elephant back following forested paths.

Late afternoon I returned to my Elephant friend to continue my lessons of traditions, forest-lore and ways of the Thai elephant with a forest walk returning the Elephants back to their resting place for the night. Personally it really was a once in a lifetime experience!

Take time to look deep into their all knowing kindly eyes for these our friends are one of the last remaining links to another maybe better world.

..."Let www.trekkingcollective.com take you on an unique personal journey through northern Thailand.."

Written by  Caroline Marsh.

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