Bucketlist #1 Elephant ride

2008 wasn’t the year I went outside of the continent for the first time, but it was my first time in Asia. At the time I was only 15 years old, so this was a big thing for me! Although, I guess a first time in Asia would be a big thing for anyone… Anyways, when we arrived in Thailand, the first impression was a great one. Bangkok is a vibrant city where women wear fur coats in winter – when it’s still 30°C – and where there’s the same non-stop traffic you’ll find in New York. Very soon we were already off to Chang Rai and then to Chang Mai. This last city is one of the most visited in Thailand and its most popular tourist attraction would probably be The Elephant Ride.

Basically, the elephant ride is a group thing where every duo gets an elephant and a guide. You sit in these bamboo chairs and by then you’re better already prepared for some serious back aches. Believe me when I say riding an elephant like this is painful. Or you could interpret it as some back muscle exercise, depending on how you look at it…  The elephants take mostly the same route through the woods. Sometimes, though, an elephant decides to take a detour, but they all end up on the same path again somehow. Whether this is on purpose or not, I don’t know – but it is surely a surprise when you’re on an elephant with your little brother and suddenly you realize your dad is nowhere to be seen, and you’re in the woods in Thailand…

Finally, you have to cross this river and in front and behind you every elephant decides to ‘let it all go’, if you know what I mean, simultaneously. Afterwards there is the craziest show where the elephants paint a bouquet of flowers, go potty (literally), dance on their back paws… (it all looks pretty unnatural to me) and finally you get to hug them goodbye.

Specific details of the agency we booked this tour with etc. I cannot remember (being only 15 back then and all). I wouldn’t call this a tourist trap, since it still was a fun activity, complete with a river raft and an oxcart that took us to lunch for a reasonable price.

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Have you ever done an elephant ride? How was it? And if you haven’t, is it on your bucketlist?


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