Camille is a freelance ghost blog and web content writer. She's also a musician and an "Autoimmunee". She loves learning and sharing about how to live life with positive energy and meaning.
see: www.islandmeetscity.com.au and www.autoimmunee.com.au
Walk beside these gentle giants
Would you love to see elephants in their natural habitats, wide and open spaces? Feed them, bathe them and play with them by 'volunteering' a day at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Though this is still a 'touristy' thing to do, you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants without causing harm to them like many other elephant 'touristy' things you can do.
Last year, my husband and I did so. He made my dream come true. Previously called "Happy Elephant Care Valley", at Chang Chill is where we 'volunteered' (didn't really feel like volunteering, it was that enjoyable) to spend the day with some elephants and walk alongside them. Located in the hinterland mountainous part of Chiang Mai, it's a short drive from the main city and it's nestled in a beautiful setting.
I loved it, the guides were wonderful and they were talking gently to each elephant as we walked up to the hill to their grazing pasture. No sticks or other instruments of pain were used to coerce them to move, except maybe food. Like little kids, they happily went along by moving to other areas when food (watermelons, bananas and bamboo shoots) were used. Our main guide, Goy, was fantastic! She was really friendly, knowledgeable and made us feel super at home in the elephant's home.
We began our day feeding them. We all love feeding animals and the animals love eating - especially as they have a strict schedule to follow and know when to expect the goodies. After our morning feeding and walking, we were treated to a delicious Thai lunch ourselves. In the afternoon, we had a fun mud fight with them, then went swimming in the waterfalls. We almost enjoyed it more than the elephants! They sure did look happy!
Fun in the mud!
I encourage everyone to 'volunteer' at an elephant sanctuary rather than ride an elephant, where you hear the keepers shout and see them hit them too. It's a sad feeling knowing you're helping to continue that cycle. But at an elephant sanctuary, like Chang Chill, you can be rest assured they truly take good care of the elephants and they look happy and healthy.