Wang Pho Elephant Camp
You may recall my post Three Steps To Heaven – Kanchanaburi’s Erawan Waterfall in which Wonderful Wi and I visited the beautiful seven tier Erawan Waterfall and later that day travelled on the Thai – Burma Death Railway. In between we had a surprise visit to the Wang Pho Elephant Camp and a chance to photograph the elephants bathing in the Kwai Noi River. The visit also ended with a ‘double bonus’ but I’ll get to that at the end of the post.
We were accompanied on our day tour by four other tourists whose nationalities now escape me apart from the lady shown in the top photo, she’s an Israeli national. We had selected our two stop tour package from a list of day excursions and wrongly assumed the other passengers would be joining us on the Death Railway ride.
After leaving the Erawan Waterfall our tour guide announced our next stop would be at the Wang Pho Elephant Camp where the others had booked an elephant trek and the opportunity to bathe with the elephants as well. From then on, Wilai and myself would take a trek of our own on the famous railroad while the others would be bussed back to Kanchanaburi.
On their return from the elephant trek our guide asked me if I’d like to join the foursome and go down to the river to photograph the elephants bathing in the water. It was an offer I could hardly resist. Wilai being a little afraid of these magnificent mammals opted out preferring to stay on firmer ground.
Since returning to England my internet research on Wang Pho Elephant Camp has led me on an endless trail of sites which all seem to have the same word for word information. I have found very little background to the camp, merely that it was opened in December 2000 and is a source of income for hill tribesman who live in the Kanchanaburi area.
The camp had a look to it which suggested it had been established 20 years before its time. Its presentation was well lived in, but homely, and all expense spared. The short trail down to the river followed a well beaten track and after changing into more suitable river wear my four fellow tourists climbed atop the two elephants and each with a mahout on-board entered the mud tinged water.
At the mahouts command the elephants dipped their long trunks in the water and then arching them back sprayed the shrieking ladies and appreciative men. Another shouted command from the mahout and the farang were dunked into the river. They climbed back on but were thrown into the drink once again and the Kwai Noi River was sprayed with the sound of laughter and showered with water a drab shade of green and brown.
The problem for the playful quartet was their camera’s were safe in their backpacks, away from harm, but not able to capture a day in their lives they would never forget. I promised to drop a CD of my photos to their hotel the next day. How could I deny them memories of such an unforgettable adventure. If you love elephants and want to get real close to them then the Wang Pho Elephant Camp is a great place to do so.
I mentioned a ‘double bonus’ at the start of the post and luckily I managed to capture it on film. It is a photograph which proves that everything on a elephant really is big. Look at the jugs (ears) on this one.
I’m very tempted to try a Google search on Israel, wet jugs and beautiful creature. How about you. I know Malcolm from Retired In Thailand and Loving It might have something to add I’m sure. That’s one swell looking lady.
Martyn being a Brit I of course know what jugs are! Not sure about our US friends….anyway definitely a beautiful pair.
Me, I’m off to the nearest Kibbutz with my trusty Canon.
.-= Mike´s last blog ..Monkey Business Thailand =-.
Mike – I not sure if a ‘Canon’ would be big enough. Like a fool a minute back I tried the search and guess what was at the top of the page…this post. To all non Brits, jugs as well as meaning ears are also the part of a woman’s body that new born babies like to feed from. Spelt backwards so as not to offend, in its singular form it is TIT. Mike perhaps I should put an anagram to make it easier.
Oh we here in the good ol U.S. know all about Jugs…even have several magazines devoted to the particular study. A very nice pair of jugs indeed.
Looks like you had a great time Martyn, excellent pictures…even the ones of the elephants!
.-= Talen´s last blog ..Thailand in the news Week Ending 11/07/09 =-.
Martyn, there is nothing like a visit to a elephant camp and I have been to the one you visited many times , when friends come for a visit and they don’t want to take a long drive to see Moll-Lee at Elephant World , we take them here as it is only 2 kl from our house , they do love swimming with the elephants , theres nothing like being able to tell someone that you actually swam with the largest animal that walks on the earth today ,WOW WHAT A SET OF JUGS REMINDS ME OF ONE OF MY OLD FLAMES .Thanks for the great pictures and post , we here in Whang Pho will take all the plugs we can get, great for the local economy. Malcolm
.-= malcolm´s last blog ..SOUL SEARCHING =-.
Hey I fancy being there, especially now it’s freezing!
.-= Adullamite´s last blog ..The Poppy =-.
You don’t see sights like that in Asia, HD. Plus a spare tyre throw in for free, for great value tour packages it has to be Thailand.
.-= Jon´s last blog ..Bump =-.
Talen I’m glad to read jugs doesn’t just mean ears in the USA. If you ever get a chance to visit the Wang Pho Elephant Camp then it’s well worth a look. With your love of photography it would be an ideal picture shoot.
Malcolm if the post gets one visitor to Wang Pho then I’m pleased to have helped. I would have liked to have taken the elephant jungle trek but Wilai is a no no when it comes to elephants. The bathing with the elephants is not for me, I can hardly swim and falling off would have scared me half to death. I did however fully enjoy the hour or so we spent at the camp. I tried to research the camp for this post but found very little information, maybe you should get down there and ask around, it would make a great story for you.
Adullamite I will second that statement. It’s not to warm here in Wiltshire. Fortunately I will be in Thailand next month.
Jon I noticed the spare tyre myself and thought it might be to keep her afloat, but she has more obvious means for that. She sure was one pretty woman and very nice to talk to as well.
Great shots Martyn. I haven’t been to an elephant camp in years.
The last time I went brought home just how dangerous they can be if you do not take care.
In the west, we are used to all sorts of rules for the stupid.
Here, we need to realise that the staff watching the elephants are not there to keep our silly butts safe.
So if an elephant seems too close, it most likely is.
(almost getting squashed between a bathing elephant and the wooden sides of a viewing platform while focusing on taking photos instead of my safety was a lesson learned…)
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..L-Lingo: Learn Thai Online for Free =-.
Catherine I am well aware of the dangers too. I think Wilai realises also that the elephants and days later the tigers we viewed are safe to a degree. I haven’t seen a kite mark on any Thai brochure yet. I remember the story of a British girl a few years back getting trampled to death by an elephant in Pattaya or Pattaya way and it sticks in my mind on these occasions. I think I am over cautious at times but curiosity ain’t gonna kill my cat.
Martyn, I remember that girl (if it is the same one). It was awful. And it did bring home the facts of being in Thailand. Unlike in the west, we are expected to use the common sense we are born with, not mollycoddled with rules. Those who are not born with common sense… well…
.-= Catherine´s last blog ..Bangkok’s Fertility Shrine: Chao Mae Tuptim =-.
Catherine I am sure it is the same poor girl. The tragedy happened at Suan Nong Nuch according to reports I have just read and I think Suan means garden and so it must mean Nong Nooch Gardens. Sometimes being mollycoddled by rules is for the better.
I love elephants!
Oh come on, no one thinks jugs are ears! They were very nice, whatever they are ;). I’m a big fan of elephants, but don’t think i’d enjoy taking a dip with one.