Funny story about our outfits, we forgot to bring a change of clothes with us so when we got there they offered us these shirts that the employees wear. So instead of getting our clothes that we came in dirty we opted to wear these. The entire day we looked like we were part of the staff because we were the only visitors in these outfits.
Part of our full day experience included a Thai cooking class. While in Thailand we knew we wanted to do one so it was great that they offered it as part of our tour.
For our first dish, we had crispy fried prawns wrapped in egg noodles with sweet and sour sauce to dip in. This was so simple to make and it was SO good.
Our mahouts made us these little hats out of vines during our walk, Greg’s definitely made me laugh the most.
Our beef curry and our coconut chicken soup (Tom Kha Gai). When making the soup I wasn’t sure that we were going to like it, the coconut milk in it really threw me off, but it was actually really, really good. Thai’s love spicy foods so we made sure to go easy on the spices for the curry.
The baby elephant was SO CUTE. He was so playful and so sweet. When they are born they have to learn how to use their trunk, so here Keng was helping him out a bit.
Saying goodbye to Jake and Keng after such an incredible day.
When we started making our plans for Thailand, one thing I was absolutely sure of was that I wanted to do something with elephants. I started doing a lot of research on the subject and it didn’t take long to find a good amount of blog posts and articles about the do’s and don’t’s of elephant encounters. I did a lot of reading and looked up countless elephant parks and tours. When I came across Phang Nga Elephant Park I knew it was the right one. It is a family-run business that focuses more on the quality of the experience rather than the quantity of people they can get each day. The owner, Jake, cares so much about the wellbeing of the elephants and makes sure that their needs are met on a daily basis.
What To Bring: Camera (I would suggest a regular camera and a GoPro if you’ve got one), towel, bathing suit, bug spray, sun tan lotion, change of clothes, shoes that can be easily slipped on and off, sunglasses, hat, phone (they have WiFi, woohoo!) and extra cash to spend at the gift shop
Our Day: They had a driver pick us up at our hotel at 7am and we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us. Upon arrival we were greeted with smiles and a welcome drink, then spent time talking to Jake. We learned his back story and how the park came to be. He told us about the elephants and their mahouts, the elephants keeper, and explained to us the dynamic between the two. Then it was time to get introduced to our elephants for the day. Greg was with Dowjai and I was with Sawnui. We set off with our elephants, their mahouts and Keng, he would be teaching us about the elephants and then later in the day would also be our chef for our cooking class. Greg and I were the only ones who had booked the full day tour so it was really special to have a day catered to just the two of us. During our time with the elephants, we rode, fed and bathed them. The entire time in awe of every minute we spent with these gentle giants.
After we showered, it was time for our cooking class. We cooked three different dishes, each of them just as amazing as the last. Keng was so knowledgeable when explaining each dish and answered all of our questions about the meals we were cooking. At no point in time did we ever feel rushed or like we were on a strict schedule. The Thai culture is so laid back and relaxed and it showed throughout our entire day. As we were leaving, we were given two frames with a photo of each of us that they had taken. Probably the best parting gift we could have received.
Our time at Phang Nga Elephant Park was unlike anything we had ever experienced before and unlike anything I think we will ever experience again. It was hands down one of our favorite things we did while in Thailand. If you’re looking to spend a day with elephants, this is definitely the place to go. The elephants are well cared for and Jake and his team are working harder each day to make the park even better. Put this at the top of your to-do list and I promise you it will be a day you won’t forget.