At about 20 minutes’ driving distance from Sikeud a quiet and not very touristic elephant farm is located. Johannes kindly took us there, that is Isabella, Jana, and me, Jule, to this extraordinary place. Retired working elephants are used to take tourists for a stroll around the premises.
For me, who has never been close up to an elephant, seeing those giant animals from close up and being able to touch and feed them was really impressive.
Since we were almost the only people there, we did not have to wait before the ride. Getting up onto the back of one of the large mammals was not quite as difficult as I had imagined. Sitting there, about 2,7 meters above ground, I spent the first thoughts on what could happen if this bulky animal would not do what the (comparatively) tiny Lao ranger wanted him to do.
Fortunately though, the unhurried ride went as smoothly as planned, and my thoughts soon wandered off, focussing on the special and sedative ride. After about 10 minutes on top of the elephant, we arrived safely at base again. Also, when I took my shoes off, I noticed how hairy elephants really are.
Riding an elephant was definitely an unforgettable experience, but the real highlight of the trip was to sit and relax in one of the many pavilions at the elephant farm, snacking fried grasshoppers and watching the elephants walk by and taking baths.
Text by: J. Reissig
Photos by: J. Reissig