Getting around Thailand’s outskirts, and by that I mean Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia and now Cambodia, I found myself in a jungle on the North East parts of this country walking and swimming with of all things… elephants! My journey
Sen Monorom and Banglung are two places a bit less explored on the backpack/expat trail in Cambodia but still
Heading back to a small camp/village of indigenous tribal folk that don’t speak Cambodian but have their own language for a locally sourced meal, resting along the river in a hammock after lunch and then heading back into the valley crossing bamboo bridges to wade into the water with the elephants as they took their afternoon swim. We scrubbed them with mud and washed off the dirt so that they can enjoy some loving touch from us humans and we got to experience something that most people aren’t privy to, especially if all they know is to take the normal “ride the elephant” treks when on holiday.
Since this article is for Expat Life in Thailand, I won’t bore the readers with too much info on why we shouldn’t ride elephants however for those of you who read this that do not know, here are some simple facts:
1. Elephants live in herds and are social animals, they play and forage and swim naturally with each other, being held in captivity deprives them of their most natural existence.
2. When they aren’t working they are often times kept on concrete floors and chained so hard they can’t move, not to mention the pain of standing on concrete floors all night.
3. Arthritis, foot and back injuries are common among captive elephants and they die decades short of their normal lifespan.
4. Elephants never forget and the sad truth that we subject them to this humiliating torture can only be left up to us as caring humans to refuse to ride them.
OK, enough of that, but please remember to not ride them. Watching the elephants from afar is one thing, but being able to be right up close and personal was thrilling, a bit scary but also so touching as they let you wash them and feed them without robes or chains on them roaming free in their jungle. After my incredible elephant experience, I was ready to head north a bit closer to the Laos border to a place where they are mining for zircon called Banlung in the Ratanakiri Province.
because they were captured in the first place.
The miners have hard lives, going down into holes deep in the ground to chisel out stones that you hope are flawless to sell to the random tourist that comes by, of
I am still lugging around a suitcase with my paints/paper and brushes doing the odd painting when I have time and
I am writing this article on the balcony of a guesthouse on Koh Rong, an island off the west coast of Cambodia and am enjoying some lazy beach time before heading to Kampot, supposedly a sweet old 19
I only am spending one month in Cambodia, heading to Siem Reap,