We purchased the bathe and breakfast + safari ride package for our anniversary. We were told that we would be picked up between 6:30-7am by the company so we waited for our driver from 6:15. We did not get picked up until 7:55am, because our driver was lost and originally went to a different hotel with a similar name.
We arrived at the elephant lodge and spoke to the manager who allowed us to have the buffet breakfast first despite us clearly holding up everyone. Breakfast was good but we felt rushed because of how everyone said they were waiting for us.
Washing TK the elephant was a great experience! The trainer had a good bond with her and was nice to us. Our guide throughout the day was incredibly nice and took many photos for us.
The swim was also incredible. The trainer was also nice and had a good bond with Mona. I definitely recommend this activity because it felt less commercialised and inhumane than the safari ride. (See more later)
The show was good. Didn’t look inhumane or circus-like. It was a short show which I was happy about because it was a hot day for us let alone the elephants.
This is where things take a turn. The safari ride. It is a very long ride if from the beginning you want to get off. The trainer on our elephant for the ride was not friendly and very aggressive to the elephant. He would consistently hit her on the head with a bull tusk?/ wooden stick or in her ear. He would also kick her behind the ears or grab her skin behind the ears to make her do what he wanted. He didn’t talk to us (which surprised us when we saw other people enjoying their ride) and gave us the sense that he hated his elephant and didn’t want to be there. There were many things we wanted to ask or have explained. Like the elephants chained up. Or like the very skinny elephant chained up at the start that was making a lot of noise. While I’m sure there’s explanations to these things, we didn’t get one. I will never do a safari ride on top of an elephant again. Only bare back like the swim.
The manager offered for us to choose a painting done by an elephant to remedy the 2 hour wait for our driver. However they had already picked one for us and didn’t allow us to choose. It was made clear that the value was $75 USD. We didn’t have an option to turn down this offer. It was pushed on us.
The lodge is a great place to relax for half the day. I recommend the bathe and breakfast without the safari ride if you want to experience up close encounters with the elephants.
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