Siam Safari Elephant Trekking
Siam Safari Elephant Trekking tours range from elephant rides to meeting the adorable baby pachyderms, all in an informative, entertaining, fun and safe (for you and the elephants) way. It is a delightful and memorable way to explore Phuket’s lush and verdant hinterland and learn more about the natural environment while getting closer than ever to it.
It is 08:30 and Siam Safari’s hillside camp, on the way up to the iconic Big Buddha, is swept clean. The fan-cooled reception area is pristine and different guides call out for their ‘teams’. Our guide is Wi, a young lady from Ranong. Our group clambers aboard a waiting flatbed trailer that is pulled up the hill by a tractor, passing lush bamboo groves along the way to the main elephant trekking camp.
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In 1989, Thailand outlawed logging in natural forests and the large elephant population subsequently found itself out of work. Coincidentally, the tourism industry was just getting into its stride at the time and the animals were put to work trekking. While this industry has received some criticism, both for the risk to passengers and the treatment of the elephants, the four-legged employees of Siam Safari are well cared for and they are all female, making them more even-tempered and safer to interact with.
We gently climb onto the howdah (seat) and off we go through the bamboo groves and back paths of the grounds. The elephants’ tread and grip is safe in almost any conditions and it is amazing just how dainty its gait is, considering it weighs some 3,000kg. The ‘mahout’ (keeper) gently guides the elephant along the jungle path, teaching us about the majestic creatures carrying us and the local plant and animal life. Our elephant trekking experience lasts a memorable 45 minutes.
Meet the Baby Elephants
Wi teaches our group how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in Thai, then introduces us to Poo Nok and Ha Choo – a pair of decidedly cute baby elephants, aged five- and seven-year-old. They don’t seem that impressed with our attempts to speak to them in Thai, but they are still adorably playful. We were able to enter their enclosure, touch them and feed them sugar cane, peanuts and bananas, though the foodstuffs were not included in the price of the tour.
It’s been an interesting and educational three hours at Siam Safari Elephant Trekking camp. We’ve learnt some Thai phrases as well as a lot of information about Thailand. The elephants seem contented and well fed and the camp grounds are extremely well maintained.
Siam Safari Tours
- Address: 17/2 Soi Yodsanae, Chao Far Road, Chalong, Muang, Phuket 83130
- Tel: +66 (0)76 384 456, +66 (0)76 384 777
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