Elephant Trekking, Show


Elephant trekking and show. Kho Samui, Thailand.
There are two species of elephant: the African elephant recognized by its big, broad ears and the more placid Asian elephant which is shorter and stockier.

Elephants are the largest land mammals still in existence and often live to be 70 years old or more. The average weight of an African elephant is about 7 tonnes. The largest elephant recorded is reputed to have weighed a colossal 12 tonnes and had a shoulder height of 4.2 metres. Elephants symbolize wisdom in Asian cultures and are famed for their memory and intelligence. The elephant is Thailand’s national animal, and is also seen as a symbol of strength and royalty.

Koh Samui is an island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand – the closest town is Surat Thani on the mainland. The island has white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees, and not surprisingly attracts 1.5 million tourists a year. Therefore a lot of the 25km wide island has been developed into resorts with hotels, bungalows and luxury villas; however the central part is still jungle and mountains which is uninhabited.
There are 30 minute and 60 minute elephant treks on offer in Namuang Safari Park, riding around coconut plantations and through tropical rainforest, which are followed by an elephant and monkey show. These treks claim to be eco-friendly and are popular with families and young people – they are suitable even for quite small children.

The tour company picks you up at your hotel by minibus and takes you to the safari start. You have a trained guide who will show you waterfalls and viewpoints, and tell you about flora and fauna along the way. At the end of the trek you get to feed the elephant by hand.

There is also a full day jungle and safari tour which combines the elephant ride with travel in a 4-wheel-drive jeep over the mountains for great views of the island. It includes a baby elephant show and a visit to the Kunarum Temple and a Secret Garden. The tour includes lunch and the afternoon is spent looking at the traditional use of rubber trees, and then visiting the 15m tall golden Buddha statue. (However bear in mind that the elephant trek part is not necessarily longer on the full day tour.)

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