Elephant trekking in Bangkok is a great experience, but swimming with the elephants is mind-blowing!
Our day began with our awesome Bangkok guide, Mandy, picking us up for a three-hour journey west of Bangkok near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I told Mandy, before we came to Bangkok, that I wanted something more than just elephant trekking – I wanted something that the kids would remember forever.
We drove to a small, local elephant farm where the family raises and breeds elephants. They all live on the property with the elephants, and there were a few baby elephants wandering around the property. I know that some people are adverse to riding the elephants, as they are concerned that the elephants are treated poorly, but we did not see any poor treatment of the elephants while at the farm.
We were the only people out at the farm, which was a nice change from the crowds of Bangkok. It was crazy hot, and the elephants were even hotter. Luckily, we were standing right next to the beautiful River Kwai which was beautiful green/blue, clean water and just screaming for us to jump in and take the elephants swimming.
Up we climbed, and off we went trekking on the backs of the elephants. We took a nice ride, for about 45 minutes, stopping to take some pictures and hanging in the shade for the elephants to cool off.
Fun Fact – Did you know that elephants can get sunburned and that they use their trunks to cover themselves in sand to block the sun?
I was truly amazed at how gentle the elephants were, and they seemed to really respond to being touched and hugged! Awww, we fell in love!
The two boys who took us around on the elephants held small sticks with a ball on the end – this made me sad at first – and had they hit the elephants or shown any signs of abuse I really would have had a problem.
However, we saw only love for the elephants, and the boys explained to us that the elephant’s skin is thick, very tough, and to slightly poke or bump the elephant is the way to get their attention but it does not hurt the animal or break the skin. The skin is just so thick and tough there is no other way to tap them and get their attention. They only use the tip of the stick if the elephant is not listening/misbehaving.
These guys were truly like elephant whisperers – speaking to the elephants much like you would a pet dog. We were mesmerized! They never even raised their voices; they spoke quietly and gently to the animals, patted them, and they responded. WOW!
Fun Fact – Did you know that an elephant can hear another elephant’s trumpeting sound up to 5 miles/7 kilometers away?
For a 100.00 Baht (3$/2€), the boys took an unlimited number of photos for us, with my camera, and we got to ride on the elephants neck – wow, they are so big! The boys and Benas all thought it was cool. Me, I was a little intimidated by the size, and I decided to get back into the chair! Yikes! After trekking around the property, we rode the elephants straight down into the river to go swimming! AWESOME! Here is where the real fun began!
We were with one of the farm hands and his son, and they told the boys to hold onto the elephant’s trunk… and the elephant lifted the boys onto his back! They rode the elephant in the water as he dove under the water and squirted the boys with water from his trunk!
Fun Fact – The elephant’s trunk has over 40,000 muscles in it!
We swam, played, jumped, and dove with the elephants. I am not sure who had more fun – us or the elephants! It seemed like they truly enjoyed playing in the water and cooling off! It was an amazing time that none of us will ever forget!
We were all sad when the day ended and we had to say goodbye to our elephants who honestly seemed sad to leave the river as well! We hugged and patted and said our goodbyes. We might have to go back and visit our new giant friends in Thailand one day!
Cost for the day:
- Elephant riding and swimming – 900 Baht per person (28$/21€). We are four so the total cost was 84€/112$.
- Guide – 7$/5€ per hour, six hours of a private guide was 42$/30€. Flat fee not per person.
- Mini van – 2100 Baht for six hours and 200 Baht per extra hour. (66$/49€) for the day. You also will pay for gas – approximately 1000 Baht (31$/23€). Flat fee not per person.
- We paired this tour with a visit to the tiger temple – reason for the six hours+ cost.
- Total for the day – 251.00$/187€ and totally worth the money!