Friday, August 6, 2010

Testimonial from Chrissy, a July 31 Elephant Volunteer

Hi, my name is Chrissy and I live in Derbyshire, England. I have just completed 1 week at the Thai Elephant Project in Chiang Mai and it has been one of the most memorable and unbelievable experience!
When I first arrived I stayed at the Imm Eco Chiang Mai Hostel which I would recommend. The rooms are comfortable and I had a room to myself for 2 nights. There is a pool, restaurant and the staff are very friendly. It is within easy walking distance of the Night Bazaar shopping streets which I spent a morning investigating. The local people in Chiang Mai are extremely friendly and I was not hassled once when walking around alone. I felt very safe and at home with the city.
When arriving at the village I was immediately welcomed by the other volunteers and interns who introduced themselves and helped me with my bags. The hut I was staying in had the most fantastic views across the mountains and each morning I woke up I could not believe the surroundings I was living in. I had a nice room to myself with a comfortable mat, I brought my own pillow and sleeping bag which I was grateful for. Overall the villages, staff and mahoots are generous and friendly. I have felt very safe and happy living as part of the village.

The highlight of my trip has to be spending time with the elephants. All this is done in natural surroundings which are breath taking. From feeding the elephants to observing their behaviour the whole experience has been incredible. Walking with the group into the Jungle and observing the elephants along with other animals we found was a joy. The walks are long and quite steep so bring hiking shoes! The views along the way are incredible! We were able to watch the elephants feeding, bathing, and playing with each other within only a few metres and quite often they would come over to us and interact with us as a group. The whole experience has been magical!

I would recommend this trip to anyone who has a passion for elephants and wildlife. To see the animals in their natural environment in my opinion is the best way to observe and learn about them.

Chrissy (England)