November 2016: Chiang Mai, Thailand: Elephant Sanctuary

Imagine you’re a baby. You’re just chilling out in your carrier, bouncing along with Mama and Dada, unfazed by all the crazy places they take you. You’re a world traveler after all. Roman ruins, castles, airplanes, boats. No big deal. You got this.

Now they’re taking you somewhere new. Whatevs. You take a nap in the back of a truck and then hang out while your parents put on some ridiculous shirts. Then back in the carrier for exploring.

And bonus! Mama has a bunch of bananas in her hand. You LOVE bananas. This is going to be a great day!

Only instead of exploring, or handing you a banana, Mama brings you right up close to some crazy grey giant CREATURE! And the thing reaches out a big tentacle thing and grabs YOUR bananas! Every single one gone in an instant.

Well, there’s only one thing to do at that point: Cry as loudly as you possibly can so Mama knows to get you the heck away from whatever this great big banana-eating beast is. RIGHT. NOW.

What is this giant CREATURE?!?! 🙁 🙁

Maybe the baby elephant will— NOPE!

While we were in Chiang Mai, we took a side trip to visit an elephant sanctuary. Sadly, the majority of elephants in Thailand are used for tourist riding, logging, and circus activities, which is damaging and painful to them. Additionally, they’re often beaten/whipped to “train” them/force them to do what the operators want. Their ears get cut in these activities, and the riding typically shortens their lifespan in half. Terrible.

The place we went to was an elephant sanctuary who worked on raising funds to rescue these elephants and give them a healthy home. All of the elephants there (except for a few born there) are rescue elephants. We got to go and bathe the elephants in the mud, splash around with them in the river, and feed them, all while supporting an organization that gives these elephants a safe, wonderful jungle home. Win-win.

Joe feeds a baby elephant.

Ali makes a new friend.

Annabelle’s still a little wary.

Hiking across a bridge through the jungle.

Enjoying time in the jungles of Thailand,

More information about the elephant sanctuary we visited (1 of 2).

More information about the elephant sanctuary we visited (2 of 2).

We had lots of other adventures while in Thailand, but this one was pretty special for Joe and Ali. Maybe not so much for Annabelle.

Up next: the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai.

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