Monday, August 24, 2015

Luang Prabang, Laos, Part 2: A Day With The Elephants

Elephant Village! Such an incredible and real place.

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • 2nd day in Luang Prabang, I booked a full-day trip to Elephant Village - it's an elephant rescue and sanctuary about 15 minutes outside of the city.  They rescue and care for elephants, and the LP says they're an ok organization - so ELEPHANT TIME.  I had reserved a trip called "Mahout training" (mahout is an Indian word for the elephant caretakers), where they spend the time to teach you how to care for the elephant - the day included an elephant ride, elephant feeding, and elephant bathing.  Squeeeee

We started by learning all the commands for elephants. All I remember is commanding "Song" makes the elephant raise his leg so you can step on it and get on his neck. And "How" means stop, and "Pai" means go. There - you're all now (Laotian) elephant experts.

And then we got to ride our elephants down into the river

And then our mahout got off and let me drive the elephant around for a bit. And by "drive", I mean "sit on the elephant's neck while it kept walking on the pre-determined set path it probably walks down every day"

Our elephant was the cutest

Crossing another river

After the ride, we got to feed our elephant bananas. Their trunks just suck those things right out of your hand

And then the elephant next to ours wanted a banana too and started sucking his trunk all over me searching for bananas

Maybe bananas are on my head
And then we went to go visit the camp's two baby elephants. These are kept in pens during the day because it's wet season and the river is way too high for them
Laos is seriously beautiful and jungle-y
And then we led our elephants to the river again to bathe them. 
Scrub scrub scrub
Each of us had a mahout sitting behind us to supervise. They all seemed to find it hilarious to get a giant bucket full of water and pour it over all of us while yelling "SHOWERRR!" And then they would laugh uproariously.
How cute is this elephant!?  On a side note, I'm sure they get bathed like 3 times every day
  • After the better part of the day with the elephants, our guide took us on a small wooden boat to some nearby waterfalls (called the Tad Sae Waterfalls) for some swimming

River cruising to the waterfalls

Tad Sae Waterfalls

Which you can jump and swim in

  • I love elephants. That is all.
  • After arriving back at the hostel, I ran into a couple people I'd met the night before in the lounge. We all decided to head up to Phu Si Temple, a temple at the top of the hill that overlooks Luang Prabang, and where is rumored to have gorgeous sunsets.

On the hike up to Phu Si, we ran into a monk who was eager to talk to us in English (and Chinese, once he figured out I could understand).  He was so into talking to us and practicing his language skills; it was so cute - he told us all about his life in the monastery, and about his family and the city and asked us a million questions

Views on the hike up - the Mekong River and leafiness was insanely pretty 
Obligatory pano

Then we arrived to the top of the temple and waited for sunset - amongst hoards of other people.  These are Jeffery and Ellen (both from the Netherlands)

Sunset views over the Mekong. SO. PRETTY.

And the people were going insane

Insane skies. Dear Luang Prabang, could you be anymore picturesque

Entire sunset crew. Half Netherlands, half Germany
  • After the sunset, we all went to dinner (and had special Laos buffalo curry) - and then to this incredible bar called Utopia, where you could lie on comfy mats in bamboo huts and look over the river.

I know I say this all the time, but I seriously, seriously love this place.  Except I am truly getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Fun Facts of the Day:
  • Elephants can live 60-80 years
  • All the backpackers here smell. Not the people I was hanging out with (they were lovely), but there seem to be an inordinate amount of anti-shower folks. Why. 
  • Laos had a king until 1975. A KING.

No comments:

Post a Comment