Jaza's World Trip

Elephant ride

If there's one thing you simply must do when you visit Thailand, it's elephant riding. This afternoon, for the grande finale to our Doi Inthanon trek, the 15 of us hopped onto a troop of 7 elephants, and went on a lumbering stroll around the jungle. The seats atop the elephants can only accommodate two persons each: and since we were an odd-numbered group, and everyone else was a pair, I ended up sharing an elephant with the German guys, and straddling the beast's enormous neck. It was a jolly old ride (if a bit uncomfortable for me): it's very impressive how these seemingly clumsy animals can daintily saunter up and down steep, narrow jungle trails; and it's good fun when they walk splashing right across a river, with you getting sprayed on top.

Indiana Jones-style bridge leading across to the elephant camp.

Local caretaker riding one of the beasts.

Myself and the Germans atop our elephant.

Elephants walking sure-footed down a steep, muddy trail.

Crossing the river: boats give way to elephants.

Thai man sit on elephant head, farang sit in chair.

The whole affair wasn't that long — perhaps about ½ an hour of riding — but that's easily long enough to appreciate what you're doing, and for the novelty to run its course. When I jumped off the elephant, my a$$ was sore as hell for a few minutes, but I was otherwise good. We ended the elephant ride by snacking on some ice-cream and some strange, very bitter fruit (pomelo, I think?).

That marked the conclusion of the Doi Inthanon trek. After that, it was another long and boring truck ride back to Chiang Mai — I slept most of the way, and I said goodbye to all my companions when we arrived back in the big city. It's been a fun little tour: calling it a "trek" is a bit of a joke, in my opinion; and the 2- vs 3-day agency stuff-up was a pity and an aggravation; but it was certainly worthwhile, and it was good to get out and to see the jungle for a few days.