Spending a little time with Paitoon and 5-month old Dudu.
Learning how to get on and off an elephant from the side.
From the front
Youngest mahout 14 y.o.
Er… you think she’ll sit down?
Yes! Thank you!
Not the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it!
Cleaning up the elephant’s “quarter”.
Morning shower to clean off dust. Elephants put dust on their bodies to protect themselves from insects.
Getting ready for the elephant rides.
Some ride through villages whilst others stick to the forest.
Peaceful and quiet in the forest. Baby Dudu leads the way.
Baby Dudu often gets stuck in this stretch!
Fun! I think the elephants enjoy it too.
Supposed to brush the elephants, but I don’t really think they care.
De Keu (mahout) and Paitoon the 32-y.o. elephant and a mother of Dudu (5 months).
Paitoon (32 y.o.) and baby Dudu (5 months). Cute as!
Fun doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Elephants can carry 300kg on their backs easily.
Dudu and dung 🙂
All mahouts in this camp are Karens (hill tribe).
During the rides, we often stop when Dudu needs milk. She tries to eat leaves and things but hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet. When feeding her bananas or corn, we would peel the skin or leaves off first.
Noom was really kind and made sure everything was ok for me. We got along really well, and he’s become a friend. An ex-monk (12 years) turned freelance tour agent, he’s knowledgeable, smart and has a very developed spiritual side!
Noom took me to this temple which I never would have found, nor would I have been allowed to enter as it’s within a private retreat. He led us to a short meditation here which was rather special!
I stayed at a nice eco-lodge 15″ walk from the camp surrounded by hills and fields.
Late afternoon at the Karen Eco-Lodge.
Lovely morning light at the Karen Eco-Lodge.
Owner Pat (left), his right hand man, Wan, Noom and I had some good laughs. I was the only one staying there the first few nights so I got to know them a little. Don’t be fooled, they may look serious, but this is a fun bunch!
You can order food and drinks from the road-side eatery and bring it down here for a picnic.
Saying goodbye to Paitoon and Dudu
De Keu has been most patient with me. My very limited Thai proved to be useful as he doesn’t speak English.
Made out of the hair on the elephant’s tail, it’s supposed to protect you in the forest. De Keu gave me this when I was going trekking. The story goes if the other animals smell the elephant hair, they will stay away. Nice story!
Don’t think, just jump you crazy farang! 🙂
Trekking with a French couple and a Belgian.
This group from Paris stayed one night and here they are getting ready to try out the traditional farming method!
Ploughing the field demo.
Frenchman ploughing the field.
Ready for planting
Only a handful of the group tried, rest were just taking pictures!
It didn’t take long for Wan to start a mud fight!
On the way back to Chiang Mai, I stopped by at Noom’s eatery and met his girlfriend. He cooked noodles, too! Useful men, these ex-monks! 🙂
When he was a monk, Noom helped build a temple in Bundanoon! Yes, Bundanoon!!! I will have to check it out when I get home!
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