I am a freelance writer, I love writing about gaming, film and my challenges as a parent. I currently live in the West of Sydney. Visit my blog at adamsfilmfoodnfun.com
Published June 22nd 2013
Feed, ride, bathe with the elephants in their own homes
I was excited about the trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary. I have always wanted to be Indiana Jones and here was my opportunity to ride an elephant, thus getting me one step closer to me dream (he rode elephants in the Temple of Doom). The trip and sanctuary did not disappoint. Just so you know there is not a great deal here, you go to this sanctuary just to see, ride and possibly bathe with elephants, it is all elephants and well worth the effort.
It is estimated that there are only 1,200 wild Asian Elephants left in Malaysia, so this conservation centre plays a vital role in the preservation and relocation of these beasts. I have been to zoos and seen the elephants, but to get so close to them, to feed them, to ride them was another thing entirely. The immense strength, beauty and majesty of these creatures is staggering.
The elephants line up behind an open barricade ready to be fed by the gathering tourists. I do mean gathering, this place is busy, we went on a weekday during school times and it was still very full. Saying this there is ample room to feed the elephants and the line to ride them was not exhaustive.
Lining along the barricade peanuts in hand the elephants reach out with their trunks and suck and grab them at the same time, to then shovel them into their mouths. It is an unusual sensation; you can feel their power as well as a gentle nature. They leave behind a trail of saliva, but no-one cares, as the experience is just too perfect.
From here they are brought out to be ridden. Riders climb a large stairway and hop on board the elephant, they are led around by a keeper, and slowly they make their way in a large loop, eventually disembarking where you began. It felt like sitting on a rough mat, they are massive and you feel the muscles moving under you as they traverse around the track. If you do this take a moment to fully appreciate the fact you are on an elephant it is an excellent realisation.
There is an opportunity after the rides to go down to the river, which runs alongside the sanctuary and bathe with the elephants. I did not partake in this, it looked like fun, but a little unregulated for me. My sense of adventure did not extend to a natural jungle waterway.