After we had enjoyed a nice ride on the elephant, the next thing on the agenda was to go see what the elephants learn to do before they are big enough to ride.
From a very early age, these elephants interact directly with their trainers in various activities, such as playing a harmonica, sitting up on two legs, doing a "hand stand", playing soccer and basketball. One of them even gave me a real Thai massage!
This was a wonderfully entertaining show, and I was happy to see how well the elephants were treated during their show.
Sarah and I booked directly through the cruise line to go on an island adventure, but I think the highlight of my day was actually getting the chance to ride an elephant! Looking back on it, there are many different options on the island, so the best bet is to pick one and have a great adventure. Our elephant trainer was very nice, and seemed to really love his elephant. We went up the hill on the big fella, and several times I felt like we were going to tip over, but in the end we just had a great time!
A few of the tour operators that are available are the following:
Chaweng Elephant Trekking (Tel. 077 231 210)
Living Thailand (Tel. 077 418 680)
Island Safari Co (Tel. 077 230 567)
Neither Claire or myself had ever been on an elephant yet alone even touch one up close so we didnt hesitate to sign up for a piece of this action.
We got picked up by a Thai bloke who must have been in his twenties and was really nice. The vehicle he picked us up in was a battered old Land Rover with the back converted into bench seats. It sounded a bit rough to be honest and unfortunately by the time it got to the top of View Point the radiator had cracked and it came to a halt. Luckily, the guys mates were coming the other way and they tipped a load of water into the radiator and we were on our way. This guy kept saying sorry (we werent bothered by it) and he stopped at a shop and bought us a drink. Top bloke.
As soon as we arrived we were ushered over to our elephant and got on his back. We were at the front which was good because the driver could get good photo's of us which he volentered to do.
The treck lasts about 20 minutes (they say 30 mins but who's counting) and then you can walk up to the waterfalls which is a very hot experience so take lots of water.
There is also a chance to see the elephant show and see some monkeys and give them water (good photo opportunity).
This trip is well worth it as it is something you may never do again.
Due to a lack of cranes any heavy lifting is done by the local elephant population , which is fascinating to watch , however occasionally they get away from their handlers and run amok , which is hilarious unless you happen to be in the way.
These impressive statues guard the entrance to Wat Kiri Wongkaram. That's us at the base of the one on the right. There is a mummified monk here, but not the same one that I mentioned in another "must-see" tip.
Our guide believed that this monk was not for tourists gawking at. I don't know why the other one is.
Koh Samui is good for elephant trecking, and you can ride inside the jungle close to the Nu Muang waterfalls. Feeding the elephants with pineapples is popular.