Bring on the Elephants

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By: leelefever on June 18, 2006 - 5:18am

Though they say that the classes are sold out until August, I somehow got myself into a three-day "homestay" elephant mahout training course, starting tomorrow.  It's through the much-respected Thai Elephant Conservation Center, which offers 1 day, 3 day and 10-30 day courses where you learn to care for, bathe, ride and train a single elephant.  This should be really, really interesting.  I do love those beasts. 

  Sachi isn't going to join me, so she is going to party solo in Chaing Mai for a few days- our first (even hours) apart in six months.

More info on the course here

By: Mom (not verified) on June 18, 2006 - 8:00am

I can't wait to see the Photos from this experience. I am so jealous.What a great experience.I can see you as an elephant trainer!! maybe that  be your new job when your trip is over.Have fun


By: Casey (not verified) on June 19, 2006 - 10:55am
Lee and Sachi, Glad to see you guys are well and having a blast in SE Asia. I got your email and thought I would respond in regard to my past travels from Northern Thailand into Laos and Cambodia. Here goes... I left Chiang Mai and took a bus north to Tha Ton. I hooked up with the Thip Travel company (053) 459312 and took a boat/bamboo raft with 2 guides down the Kok River. It was an overnight journey that included meals, beers, village stops etc on the way. The guides did not speak English but were cool to hang out with. I stopped midway before reaching Chiang Rai and visited various hilltribe villages by truck, whcih was arranged by Thip Travel. The Golden Triangle area is cool and I went to the border of Myanmar but didn't cross. I was dropped off in Chiang Kong where I made arrangments to go to Luang Prabang, Laos. The trip to Luang Prabang is the Mekong River trip JJ and I spoke of. There is a slow boat and a fast boat. The slow boat takes 2 days and is pretty uncomfortable. The fast boat takes 1 day and the boat goes have to wear helmets and it is loud. I took the slow boat and did my best to enjoy the scenery and read...but the wood seats and monotony of the trip takes a toll on you mentally and physically. I would recommend the fast boat. Luang Prabang is a cool city and worth a visit. After that, I went to Vang Vien...please excuse the spelling as I am trying to write this from memory! Vang Vien is small and there is a cool river for tubing/swimming. It is really laid back there and nice for natural beauty- in fact, the pic/ad for is in Vang Vien...but it is very small and shouldn't be considered a big city. After Vang Vien, I went to the capital, Vientiene. I stayed there 2 days and it was nice. I was en route to Southern Laos...aka 10,000 islands. The Mekong gets really wide in the south and there are lots of small islands. The journey south was very slow and crowded in the back of a pick up truck. It is pretty in the south and there are some nice waterfalls. However, you are not supposed to swim in the Mekong due to pollution, so it is not the island paradise you are used to in southern Thailand! I enjoyed my time there and met some cool people, but it was hard and uncomfortable travel. Plus, once you get all the way down there, you may have to travel north again to get back into Thailand. When I was there, the border with Cambodia was closed in this area. In fact, rumor was that the border area between Southern Laos and Cambodia was lawless and somewhat dangerous, so I went back through Thailand to cross the border into Cambodia. You may find that the border is open now and it may be an easier journey. Ok, this post is getting long so I will wait to post regarding Cambodia. Hope my info helps...particularly in regard to the boat trip from Thailand to Luang Prabang Safe Travels....Casey
By: leelefever on June 22, 2006 - 2:46am
Thanks so much for the info Casey. We're heading to Luong Prabang tomorrow. The word on the street is that because it is low season, the fast boats aren't running. We're taking the flight on Lao Airlines, which sounds a bit scary knowing what I know about the country. You've been a big help...
By: yuri (not verified) on June 22, 2006 - 9:06am
Hello, i am still little sad . it was great to spend time with you. it was really wonderfull experience,wasnt it? i will go there again with my sister next time. so safe trip LEE&SACHI!! and keep in touch, welcom to japan anytime. yuri