In June 2017, during my trip to Thailand, I had the opportunity to spend two days at the Elephant Hills Camp in Khao Sok National Park – one of the highlights of my tour of the Land of Smiles.
In the morning I was picked up at 8am at my hotel in Khao Lak, the ride took about two hours. After a warm welcome in the camp of our guide Ms. Kong I was already able to move into my tent for the next night, which was already finished. I was very pleasantly surprised: it was spacious, with a large bed, wooden floor, enough counter space and a brick bathroom. And above all – insect free!
But time to rest did not stop first, because it started with the first program point – with the elephants! A typical safari truck took us to the enclosure 15 minutes away. The gray giants were visible from afar and I was very excited as I had never seen elephants so close before. I was a bit queasy when they suddenly stood in front of us. But every elephant has its own mahout, which ensures that both the elephants and the visitors do no "nonsense".
First, we were allowed to observe the huge colossi while bathing in a pool. You could really see how much they enjoyed it! Sometimes they are completely submerged and it was only the trunk to see. After a while, we all found ourselves at the feeding place and we were allowed to "get used" to the pachyderms with pats. Our guide gave us a lot of information, for example what the exact differences between Asian and African elephants are. And would you have thought that a full-grown animal consumes about 250 kilos of food daily? Gigantic!
Now came the active part. We went with the ten giants to the washing station and were allowed to lend a hand. With the help of a water hose and a lump of root / tree bark it was scrubbed, until the mud is gone. These pachyderms also seemed to enjoy a lot and enjoyed almost everything.
With "holding ears" and patschnassen clothes we were finally allowed to accompany the elephants back. They were now very hot, because they knew exactly what is to follow – food! On the menu were pineapples, bananas and leafy vegetables that the elephants have long been waiting for. Since the trunk are nimble and greedy, you have to look that you let go of his hands in time. But no one was eaten at the end … Now, unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye to the pachyderms. In the adjoining café we were shown a small movie about the gray giants, before we made our way back.
Back in the camp there was a delicious lunch buffet and I enjoyed the little break afterwards with a swim in the swimming pool (albeit with rain) and a foot and neck massage. In the afternoon, a canoe ride on the Sok River was on the program. Unfortunately, the weather did not really go along, but you have to expect that in the jungle. This is compensated by the breathtaking sight of nature in one of the oldest rainforests in the world!
After a warm shower in the tent, there was a small dance performance by local children in the evening, whose school is supported by Elephant Hills Camp. Afterwards, we were introduced to the arts of Thai curry cuisine on the basis of a live demonstration and we were all mouth watering. Fortunately, the dinner buffet was also served and we let the evening feasting and chatting in dreamlike jungle scenery finish.
The next morning we were able to enjoy a delicious breakfast at 8am before tackling the hardest part of the two-day tour – a jungle hike. At first the weather seemed very friendly that day. However, that changed very quickly to our grief. Hardly on the way, it poured already from buckets. But we did not let that stop us and marched over hill and dale. By canoe, we crossed the river, trudged up a stream, learned a lot about the various species of bamboo and the "harvest" of rubber, and fought our way past some giant spiders that hung in the nets among the trees. Arrived in a small shelter, there was even cooked curry with freshly squeezed coconut milk and grilled. The way back led us downriver in still pouring rain and we were all happy when we arrived safely at the camp again.
Gallery on the jungle hike
Showering and packing was now on – My Elephant Hills Jungle Safari was coming to an end. Time passed much too fast and today I like to think back to it with a smile. The mighty elephants, the unique jungle scenery, the nature experiences, the great guides and the delicious food. It will not be the last time for me!
P.S .: The tour is also three days with two nights bookable. Or how about the three-day Elephant Hills Jungle Lake Safari, sleeping in the Rainforest Camp in a floating tent on Cheow Larn Lake? More information about Elephant Hills can be found online.