Happy Songkran!…why not join me in Thailand for Loy Krathong?!

Over Easter, Thailand has celebrated Thai New Year. This festival involves a lot of water – appropriate as April is supposedly the hottest month in Thailand!

Elephants love water and the entire elephant community throw themselves exuberantly into the festivities.

This is certainly an optimistic season for the elephant village I visit regularly. The mahouts recently moved into brand new accommodation. I’m visiting in July and looking forward to viewing the changes first-hand.

If Songkran looks a little ‘full-on’ for you I will be offering a (slightly more) sedate opportunity to join the locals in October/November 2017. Loy Krathong rejoices in the end of the rainy season and the sense of renewal that brings…think lanterns and floating flower offerings instead of water fights!

As usual, this visit to Thailand will focus on elephants…rewarding you with the opportunity to live in a village dedicated to the continuation of this remarkable species in an ever-changing world.

You will enjoy an extremely hands-on experience working hard to ensure the ‘retired’ elephant in your care benefits from your hard work…think a little boot camp/maximum fun…giving you a wonderful chance to live and learn about elephants in human care.

Visit www.elephant-encounters.com for more information.

 

 

 

A unique story

Ian & Donna were my first American tour participants and I couldn’t resist sharing their romantic background story.

They met at a Starbucks coffee-house… Ian was an expert in the Starbucks system as he studied there using their wifi and naturally had tried many of their products…Donna was a novice in desperate need of a caffeine fix. Ian walked Donna through her first Starbucks experience and the rest, as they say, is history.

On that first meeting, Donna was wearing a t-shirt with an elephant motif. Attention to detail is one of Ian’s strengths and he soon realised almost all her t-shirts featured elephants. When the time came to ‘pop the question’ Ian knew he wanted a unique ring to commemorate the occasion and sourced a wonderful double-headed elephant design that Donna would not be able to resist. Ian then set about finding his “trip of a life-time” and cemented his offer to Donna by booking a pre-honeymoon holiday with www.elephant-encounters.com so that Donna could experience her first hands-on contact with elephants. Irresistable!!

I wish them every happiness together.

 

 

Cause for Optimism

In August, I added two new National Parks to my travel itinerary and what a wonderful discovery they were!

Kui Buri is beautifully managed with visitors only able to access the Park for 4 hours of the day, always accompanied by a ranger and with the added security of footbaths on access and departure.

Along with my eight guests, I saw many elephants…families with calves, solitary bulls (both tusked and tuskless) and interesting interaction between bulls and families. Matriachs led their groups to and from waterholes and gathered calves to prevent clashes with bulls intent on accessing fertile cows within the groups.

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We witnessed waterplay, dust-bathing and feeding.

Apparently, there are approximately 237 elephants in the Park with an estimated carrying capacity of 400. The human-elephant conflict on the Park borders is minimal and with no known poaching for the past few years, the outlook for these wild elephants looks good.

We even had the added bonus of spotting Gaur!

It was an absolute pleasure to bring in some tourism dollars to support the rangers and help secure a sustainable future for elephants in Thailand. This National Park will definitely be in my itinerary for July 2017!

 

 

Celebrating National Elephant Day

National Elephant Day

March 13

I visit Thailand with a small group of tourists every year to celebrate this special day surrounded by people who value and appreciate elephants, who devote their daily lives to the care of these unique creatures in a modern setting.

Few who have had a close experience with an elephant could doubt they have great intelligence and complex emotions.

I like to pay my respects to the expertise and elephant knowledge built up over many centuries and the best way I can do that is pay for the experience, thereby ensuring elephants and their human carers continue to thrive.

Continue reading

August 2016 Tour and News – Thailand’s Elephants

Exploring National Parks with experts!
6-20 August 2016

kbnp

You can now reserve your spot!

Every tour with Elephant Encounters includes a week in an elephant village where you take care of an elephant (under expert guidance). Learning first-hand their individual personalities and helping ensure a sustainable future for these wonderful animals is such a privilege! The tour will also celebrate World Elephant Day with the local community.

Equally interesting is the elephant’s role and future in the wild, mostly confined to National Parks these days!

So, during this trip we will visit two unique National Parks – Kui Buri and Sam Roi Yot. Both offer distinctive glimpses into exceptional habitats and species. Our boutique group size (maximum 8 people) will enable us to make the most of our viewing opportunities!

For more information, visit www.elephant-encounters.com

 

Kamlaiphet & baby Tina Feb16

In March, you can check out Elephant Encounters on FB for first-hand info during my next trip to Thailand.

Bookings for this trip have closed but I’m excited to be returning to the Elephantstay village to witness changes and progress over the past few months and see the latest calves that have been welcomed since my last visit. Kamlaiphet delivered little ‘Tina’ (pictured right) on 1 Feb in the middle of the day! Highly unusual as babies are usually born during the night…

Gik on bike

Once again, I’d like to thank everyone who supported our recent fundraising efforts to purchase a new, safe motorbike with side-cart for the Elephantstay community.
Together we raised close to $4000.
The new fully-functional transport will make a huge difference to the lives of the village mahouts, enabling them to spend more time caring for the elephants…and a lot less in keeping the old vehicle running!Expect to see a smiling photo of Gik when the new bike arrives! 🙂

Elephant Encounters – August, 2015 newsletter

WorldelephantdayIt’s World Elephant Day today – 12 August!

A day when all people and organisations around the world come together and unite to help save this incredible species from extinction…a newsletter seems fitting!

National Elephant Day in March was a highlight of our visit to Elephantstay.

merrinlynNED

Each elephant had its own celebratory table of delicious treats, seen here being carefully arranged by Merri and Lyn. School groups, families, monks and local dignitaries joined us to celebrate the unique place elephants hold in Thailand’s history and culture.

Barbnbaby

Elephantstay provides safe homes and incomes for many elephants and their breeding program to fight extinction is the most successful I’ve heard of. Barb enjoyed her chance to meet the latest newborn sleeping peacefully with her mother.

Awareness-raising and education are the keys to fighting extinction and social justice 

Sajeeeducating

Highlights from this year’s visits to Khao Yai National Park have been very varied indeed. We’ve explored the area’s beautiful cloud forest, listened to gibbon songs, observed troupes of pig-tailed macacques, sighted Samba and Barking deer, Hornbills, Serows, micro bats and a huge variety of insect life. Our groups have joined in teaching sessions with children from International Schools and supported blind children from Thailand’s Orchestra for the Blind while they enjoyed swimming and even diving lessons.

Alongkotsteam

Alongkot Chukaew continues to draw passionate people together intent on making
a better future for Thailand’s people and wildlife.

snorkeling

802

Snorkeling in Krabi at the end of our July trip was wonderful – great company, clear warm water and so many fish!

Diary dates

NeilnMatt

  • Early October: Neil and Matt will be in Melbourne. If you’re keen to catch up with these dedicated Elephantstayers let me know!
  • 8 November – pre Christmas fundraiser. Details TBC
  • March 5 -21 Next trip to Thailand – filling fast so please register your interest asap

Warm regards Jenny Dickens m 0400 594 773

Please share and follow this blog 🙂

Come On A Unique Adventure
Involving Elephant Conservation And
A Special Look At Thailand Attractions

Thaitour6 Thaitour7

Next Tour 17 May 2014

Elephant Encounters’ tours will give you the experience of a life-time.

An introduction to the amazing world of Thai elephants and their conservation.  With me, you will see all sides of elephant conservation in Thailand – from the joys of caring for your own elephant in a working elephant village, to exploration of National Parks and Sanctuaries in the company of elephant experts dedicated to finding ways for people to live in harmony with these huge neighbours.  Participating with Elephant Encounters means you will be assisting elephant conservation and sharing a passion for adventure, animals and the environment. ​ There’ll be time for shopping and other fun as well!

Thaitour4

Thaitour3

Trip leaving Saturday 17 May 2014 ​

ITINERARY: ​

Day 1

Our afternoon flight leaving from Melbourne (Australia) allows for an evening arrival in Bangkok where we will be transferred to twin-share accommodation ideally situated in Bangkok’s colourful shopping and entertainment centre near to Siam Square with easy access to Skytrain. Amenities include swimming pool and restaurant.

Day 2

After a buffet breakfast, this day is free for shopping, exploring & relaxing. Tours may be organized if you prefer. The Grand Palace is a ‘must see’ for those on their first visit.

Days 3 – 8

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Ayutthaya where we have reserved 6 nights twin-share accommodation in a working elephant village, all meals included.

Today we will be introduced to the elephants we will be caring for over the next week! Under the guidance of experienced mahouts, you will be responsible for a retired elephant’s daily welfare. Throughout the week you will get to know your elephant’s personality and enjoy the mutual delights of that insight.

Every day we will clean up after our elephants (so be prepared to use a rake and broom) and throughout the day make sure they have plenty to eat and drink.

Twice a day we will ride our elephants to the river so we can all cool down, drink and play. Each afternoon we will also pamper elephants with an extra scrubbing massage.

There will be plenty of time to witness daily life in the community, to join in village activities and to enjoy interacting with the calves in the nursery.

During our week we will also go to local markets, temples and historical sites, including the area where the ‘working’ elephants take tourists for rides around the ruins of ancient Siam. Ayutthaya was once the capital of this empire.

Day 9

After a full day caring for our elephants we will farewell the village to spend a night in downtown Ayutthaya where we have reserved one night’s accommodation (single rooms optional) and breakfast in a colourful backpacking establishment.

Days 10 – 12​

Today we will be transferred to Khao Yai National Park by mini-bus (2.5 hours) where we have reserved bungalow accommodation with all meals included.

Here, we will have an introduction to Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Foundation (TERF) projects. Activities may include tree planting; a visit to a bat cave; gibbon & bird-watching walks; Gaur viewing; a walk to beautiful Heaw–Narok Waterfall and the opportunity to swim. 4 x wheel drive transport included.

Day 13 – 15

After breakfast we will be transferred to Faa Sai Resort at Kung Wiman Bay (5 hour drive). This award-winning boutique Eco Resort includes a swimming pool and massage facilities along with organic gardens and food, solar power and a sustainability focus. We can choose to explore the area, participate in gardening, cooking, soap-making activities, or simply relax and reflect on our experiences.

Day 16

After lunch today we will be transferred to Bangkok Airport in time to join our flight which departs just after midnight bound for Melbourne.

INCLUSIONS:
Economy class return air travel from Melbourne (Australia) to Bangkok. Please note, arrangements can be made to meet in Bangkok if you are traveling from other parts of the world.
All Thailand Transfers
All accommodation based on sharing rooms with private bath or shower
National Park fees
Meals as indicated
Water supplied during all activities and meals as indicated
Conservation levy

EXCLUSIONS:
Travel insurance (compulsory for all participants)
Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
Snacks, food and activities outside scheduled itinerary
Additional transport required due to an emergency situation
Tips / gratuities

​Please note – This itinerary is based on information available at time of print and is subject to alteration due to changing circumstances beyond the control of Elephant Encounters.

Register Your interest here

Thaitour5 Thaitour2

A Unique Elephant Tour Of Thailand

Come On A Unique Adventure
Involving Elephant Conservation And
A Special Look At Thailand Attractions

Thaitour6 Thaitour7

Next Tour 17 May 2014

Elephant Encounters’ tours will give you the experience of a life-time.

An introduction to the amazing world of Thai elephants and their conservation.  With me, you will see all sides of elephant conservation in Thailand – from the joys of caring for your own elephant in a working elephant village, to exploration of National Parks and Sanctuaries in the company of elephant experts dedicated to finding ways for people to live in harmony with these huge neighbours.  Participating with Elephant Encounters means you will be assisting elephant conservation and sharing a passion for adventure, animals and the environment. ​ There’ll be time for shopping and other fun as well!

Thaitour4 Thaitour3

Trip leaving Saturday 17 May 2014 ​

ITINERARY: ​

Day 1

Our afternoon flight leaving from Melbourne (Australia) allows for an evening arrival in Bangkok where we will be transferred to twin-share accommodation ideally situated in Bangkok’s colourful shopping and entertainment centre near to Siam Square with easy access to Skytrain. Amenities include swimming pool and restaurant.

Day 2

After a buffet breakfast, this day is free for shopping, exploring & relaxing. Tours may be organized if you prefer. The Grand Palace is a ‘must see’ for those on their first visit.

Days 3 – 8

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Ayutthaya where we have reserved 6 nights twin-share accommodation in a working elephant village, all meals included.

Today we will be introduced to the elephants we will be caring for over the next week! Under the guidance of experienced mahouts, you will be responsible for a retired elephant’s daily welfare. Throughout the week you will get to know your elephant’s personality and enjoy the mutual delights of that insight.

Every day we will clean up after our elephants (so be prepared to use a rake and broom) and throughout the day make sure they have plenty to eat and drink.

Twice a day we will ride our elephants to the river so we can all cool down, drink and play. Each afternoon we will also pamper elephants with an extra scrubbing massage.

There will be plenty of time to witness daily life in the community, to join in village activities and to enjoy interacting with the calves in the nursery.

During our week we will also go to local markets, temples and historical sites, including the area where the ‘working’ elephants take tourists for rides around the ruins of ancient Siam. Ayutthaya was once the capital of this empire.

Day 9

After a full day caring for our elephants we will farewell the village to spend a night in downtown Ayutthaya where we have reserved one night’s accommodation (single rooms optional) and breakfast in a colourful backpacking establishment.

Days 10 – 12​

Today we will be transferred to Khao Yai National Park by mini-bus (2.5 hours) where we have reserved bungalow accommodation with all meals included.

Here, we will have an introduction to Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Foundation (TERF) projects. Activities may include tree planting; a visit to a bat cave; gibbon & bird-watching walks; Gaur viewing; a walk to beautiful Heaw–Narok Waterfall and the opportunity to swim. 4 x wheel drive transport included.

Day 13 – 15

After breakfast we will be transferred to Faa Sai Resort at Kung Wiman Bay (5 hour drive). This award-winning boutique Eco Resort includes a swimming pool and massage facilities along with organic gardens and food, solar power and a sustainability focus. We can choose to explore the area, participate in gardening, cooking, soap-making activities, or simply relax and reflect on our experiences.

Day 16

After lunch today we will be transferred to Bangkok Airport in time to join our flight which departs just after midnight bound for Melbourne.

INCLUSIONS:
Economy class return air travel from Melbourne (Australia) to Bangkok. Please note, arrangements can be made to meet in Bangkok if you are traveling from other parts of the world.
All Thailand Transfers
All accommodation based on sharing rooms with private bath or shower
National Park fees
Meals as indicated
Water supplied during all activities and meals as indicated
Conservation levy

EXCLUSIONS:
Travel insurance (compulsory for all participants)
Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
Snacks, food and activities outside scheduled itinerary
Additional transport required due to an emergency situation
Tips / gratuities

​Please note – This itinerary is based on information available at time of print and is subject to alteration due to changing circumstances beyond the control of Elephant Encounters.

Register Your interest here

Thaitour5 Thaitour2