Life in the Elephant Nature Park

We arrived in the park in a kind of caotic day, because a big group was staying an extra day. So we were shown around the park and had a lot of information the first day, then we were stowed three people in small rooms for the first night. Very basic accommodation with bed and mosquito net, and nothing else in the room, except the rats. Keep all food and toilet requisites outside! But my bed was great though, and I slept very well all week. Funny thing, at home I can´t sleep if things are not as I´m used to, here I sleep through the nights all the time. Except for peetime in the middle of the night, scary when you have to go out of the room and it is all pitch-dark and weird sounds everywhere. Or when I sleep without my earplugs and wake up by the elephants roaming or the dogs howl to eachother from the huts at night.

A normal day at the elephant park:
Get up 6:30, get dressed, fleece jacket and scarf – it was cold in the mountains, even for a Norwegian. Breakfast at seven, loved banana pancake and fruit with yoghurt, but I really miss my brown bread. 7:30 morning job, like kitchen duty, picking elephant poo (and differ between bad poo and good poo – good is the kind which is round and compact, which you easily can pick up and throw at someone, and is used for making mudbricks after dry), picking rubbish, do recycling of garbage and cans and do the cathouse. From 8:30 new jobs. I have weeded and manured with straws from the elephant shelters, watered trees running with small buckets (we wondered why when it turned out they have a pipe for watering, but we´ll never get any answer), varnished bamboo huts, stamped around in mud made of soil, straws, water and elephant poo to blend it before making mudbricks, and the most funny thing: cleaning the mudpit. Haha, easy…the first time we started out emptying it with buckets, but after a while it turned up a pump. Then trying to get the elephant droppings out of the mud. But all of a sudden a crazy man on a tractor turned up and went total maniac in the pit, so we just resigned and couldn´t do much while he was in there. Picky elephants where not satisfied with the pit, so we had to do it again….Its the kind of job that no one would do, except the people who actually pay money for doing it  When the foodtrucks arrive everybody return to the platform to unload and distribute to each elephants basket, and pealing corncobs. Feeding time was fun a couple of times, but its to crowded with day visitors. Just hanging out waiting for lunch. All the food where absolutely delicious, and we had buffet for both lunch and dinner. I ate way to much every day. Then bathing the elephants or watching from the beach hut, and work for a couple of hours again from 2 till 4. Dinner at 6:30, and at the evenings just hang out with people or having a massage – you never get away from “massage madame” anywhere in Thailand. Usually in bed before ten.

I guess it sound like very boring and shitty jobs, but I really had a great time doing it. All the people in my group where easygoing and fun to be around, so a great deal of fun whatever we where doing. I wouldn´t mind doing more work there for a longer period. One of the days we went to the school in a village nearby. We were divided in groups and had our own class to do something with the kids. They were so cute, and we had a really good time teaching them some English words (which most of them already knew) and playing with them. I don’t really know what to do around kids, but throwing them up in the air I can do, and that was obviously very funny since they lined up and I threw kids for half an hour. We also had one day which we went to the elephant haven where we spent one night.

I had an incredible time, and met so many great people – especially my room mate Marion. Something was going on all the time while we where there, but we also had some time in between to do whatever we liked – I preferred watching the elephants at daytime, and spend time with some of the people there at nights after dinner. I would really like to go back to the park and stay longer, so I guess I have to start saving money when I´m back home!

Make sure you check out my other blog posts from the park as well!

Have you ever been to the Elephant Nature Park or worked with elephants in other countries? What was your experience?

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About the Author Elin

I´m an Oslo based web publisher with passion for communication, travel and a green lifestyle. When I travel, I prefer to go slow, sustainable, and “live like a local”. Why slow? It is about challenging the cult of speed, and to enjoy the small things in life and to live in the present.

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