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Visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Park in Chiang Mai

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By Sebastian Jacobitz

At the end of last year, I had the opportunity to travel for more than three months through Southeast Asia. I have already stated my travel plans before, and now the time has come where I want to recap on visiting the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai. It was hands down one of the best experiences in my life and I want to share this awesome day I had with you. All of the following images have been taken with my FujiX100F.

The Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai

I would like to describe my actual day at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai.

There are a lot of different elephant sanctuaries that you can go to and offer a great service. I visited the Elephant Jungle Paradise Park, which has been recommended by my Airbnb host. This sanctuary has a 4.9 Star rating out of over 500 reviews on Facebook, which should tell you that they really offer a great experience.

I was living a little outside of Chiang Mai and the day began very early when a Tuk-Tuk driver drove me to the city of Chiang Mai. There I was already greeted by the driver of the sanctuary which would lead us to the paradise park.

All the sanctuaries are located in the mountains and driving there takes about two hours from Chiang Mai. On the way there, we also had the opportunity to visit a local market, which was a nice change since a lot of places in Chiang Mai are already very adapted to the tourism. The drive to the elephant sanctuary was an experience itself. A lot of the roads were under maintenance or construction work and driving there was already very exciting.

As we arrived, we changed our clothes and were provided traditional tops that should calm the elephants. That morning, I learned that elephants have terrible eye-sight and the purpose of the clothing should be to make them more familiar with new visitors.

After the introduction and the Do’s & Dont’s, we were led to the first feeding ground. There the elephants already patiently waited behind the small log railing. Every elephant has its own caretaker and the caretaker also provide the extra food to the elephants. While the elephants are not forced to wait behind the railings, it is their usual daily routine which is rewarded with food.

Not long after, the elephants left the railings and roamed freely among us visitors. There we could feed them very closely and take pictures. Keep in mind though that these are still wild and powerful animals. Although they are very gentle, they can still hurt by accident.

This is especially for the newborn which was also in the middle of the action. Only a few months old, its idea of playing with us was a little too rough and it wanted to prove that it is the stronger of us too with playful headbutts.

Visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Park in Chiang Mai | News by The Thaiger

The elephant group also split at some point and single elephants were left into the jungle, while others were still eager to be fed or played with a tire.

Following the first feeding session, our group was lead to the waterfall and base camp of the elephant sanctuary. There we had a fantastic lunch consisting of local meals and fruits.

After finishing our own lunch, we prepared some snacks for the elephants that we could feed them later. What was great was that everyone was involved in preparing the food and our guide also explained what the elephants eat. In general, the tour was not only really entertaining but also educational at times without being boring.

To help the elephants out, we got in the mud and essentially bathed there too. We rubbed the mud on the elephants and feeling the thick skin was awesome and much different than I had anticipated. The elephants were thankful and “showered” us in mud too. Yes, they were basically inhaling the muddy water and spraying it at us with their trunks. Seeing the elephants having fun and being close to them is so much better than seeing them lying down lazily in a zoo.

Now we were all dirty from the mud, but luckily there is a natural shower in the form of the waterfall. So we got back to our camp and cleaned ourselves and soon after, the elephants were joining us too. In the small river, we splashed buckets full of water at them until they were cleaned as well.

This pretty much concluded the whole day which lasted from the morning till the evening. It was everything I looked forward too and much more. I am no expert, but to me, the elephants were genuinely happy, didn’t show any aggressive behavior and were very well kept.

In the morning, I recall that there was about a handful of elephants and for the evening apparently only two were eager to go to the mud bath. At the very morning, there was also the birth of another elephant calve, which were kept safe and away from the visitor’s area.

Visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Park in Chiang Mai | News by The Thaiger

All of the people working there were really interested in the well-being of the elephants. The caretakers were providing food but didn’t force the elephants to perform tricks or other unnatural behavior.

To conclude my trip, I can only recommend to visit an elephant jungle sanctuary Yourself. Have a look at Tripadvisor or Facebook before booking one and you will have gained some good insight into the work of the sanctuary. In general, look out for sanctuaries that explicitly state that the elephants are not for riding, as this will be a good indicator that the place does care for the elephants and not the tourists.

The trip was truly an experience for life and I can’t state enough how great of a trip it was. Please stay away from conventional tourism businesses where elephants are used for riding or show tricks and support these animal-friendly places.

To read Sebastian’s full article and some tips on ethical travelling, click HERE.

Visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Park in Chiang Mai | News by The Thaiger

I am Sebastian Jacobitz, a 29 year old hobby Street Photographer from Berlin, capturing the everyday life in this city. Streetbounty has been founded with the idea to share my learning experience in Street Photography and to inspire others to follow this difficult genre of photography.

Find out more about Sebastian and his work HERE.

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Tourism

Tourists flock to Chiang Mai Royal Park Rajapruek over the long weekend

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Tourists flock to Chiang Mai Royal Park Rajapruek over the long weekend | The Thaiger

Over the long holiday weekend, more than 1,500 tourists a day flocked to the Royal Park Rajapruek in Chiang Mai. Most of the visitors were Thais from other provinces to enjoy the beautiful display of seasonal flowers adorning the park grounds. The Ratchaphruek Flower Gardens are considered a “must-see” when visiting the northern capital. The expansive gardens are incredibly picturesque. Bike rentals are available and, for less active travellers, a tram is available to take you around.

One unique place to visit during the tour was the orchid greenhouse, where a variety of orchids are currently in full bloom. TripAdvisor recommends about 2 hours to get around the park.

Another attraction to the park was its dedication to featuring toxin-absorbing and air-purifying plants that draw in tourists to relax in the fresh air and natural beauty of the park. However, all visitors are asked to wear face masks and to observe the normal Covid-19 protocols of washing hands and socially distancing to protect themselves and others from any possible infections.

Other northern National Parks and mountains also had a high level of visits over the 4 day long weekend.

Thailand yesterday recorded 11 new cases of Covid with 1 case being locally-transmitted at a refugee camp in Tak province. The Burmese refugee reportedly snuck out of the camp and crossed the Thai-Myanmar border for a visit, and then returned to the camp. The refugee was displaying symptoms and later tested positive for Covid. Such an illegal crossing has seen Thailand impose stricter controls over its border with Myanmar after the latter nation saw a spike in virus cases.

SOURCE: The Pattaya Mail

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Chiang Mai

5 injured in Chiang Mai collision after driver falls asleep at the wheel – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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5 injured in Chiang Mai collision after driver falls asleep at the wheel – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Mai News

5 passengers in a public transport vehicle have been injured after a pickup driver fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into them. Nation Thailand reports that the collision occurred on San Kampaeng Road in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

Rescue workers had to use specialist equipment to free the passengers, who were trapped in the bus. They managed to get them out just before the vehicle burst into flames, with another group of rescuers extinguishing the fire. The injured passengers have all been taken to hospital.

Police have launched an investigation into the collision, with the 29 year old pickup driver, Jetsada Norakaipan, admitting he fell asleep at the wheel.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Chiang Mai

Financial hardship spiking Thailand’s suicide rate

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Financial hardship spiking Thailand’s suicide rate | The Thaiger

Thailand’s police and health workers continue to work with online influencers such as Drama Addict, Mam Po Dum and More Lab Panda, to help identify, and if necessary intervene, in people sharing distressing messages over their battles in the current Covid era. Police have also been recruited specialist to help to prevent suicides and provide counselling.

Thailand’s Department of Mental Health reported a 22% rise in the suicide rate in the first 6 months of this year, some of the rise, they say, could be attributed to additional hardships from the lockdowns, business closures and restrictions imposed during Thailand’s outbreak in the early stages of the global pandemic. There is also anecdotal evidence in a rise of foreign suicides during the Covid-19 pandemic although there are no official statistics about the current rates.

Thailand, ranked in 32nd place in 2019 with 14.4 of suicides per 100.000 population… nearly 10,000 suicide deaths in 2019, The country holds the unenviable position of number 1 among ASEAN countries on the WHO suicide list, followed by Singapore (Rank 67 with the ratio of 11.2) and Laos (Rank 84 with the ratio of 8.6. The Philippines has the ASEANS’s lowest rate (Rank 163 with the ratio of 3.2).

According to the WHO, in Thailand, depression causes a significant number of years of life lost due to disability. The study of burden of diseases among Thai population in 2013 showed that depression was the third leading cause of disability-adjusted life year (DALY) lost in Thai females, after cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, respectively. Among males, it is among the top 12 causes of disease burden. Stigma surrounding mental illnesses, including depression, remains a major barrier for seeking help from family, friends and professionals. But mental health officials say that depression is a treatable condition.

Mental Health Department Director-General Dr. Kiartipoom Wongrachit notes that the rise in the country’s suicide rate is of great concern. Dr. Kiartipoom said that 2,551 suicide cases, or 3.9 out of every 100,000 of the population, were reported in the first 6 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to 2,092 cases for the same period last year.

Facebook already blocks video clips portraying self-harming or suicides, but Dr. Kiartipoom said mental health officials have detected increasing signs of suicide risk on Thailand’s social media platforms, such as farewell messages or self-harming plans.

“These people in distress are in need of help immediately. However, that is often difficult for health officials to contact them.”

“The department had solicited help from CSD police, as well as social media influencers, in a pro-active approach to help these people.

The Thai Mental Health Hotline is 1323, in Thai language. Additionally, if you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline… 02 713 6791 (English), or 02 713 6793 (Thai).

Police in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province have reported a 68 year old woman and her 41 year old son who committed suicide in their home on Thursday. Chiang Mai Police report that the pair were found lying side by side, dead, with a BBQ grill filled with ashes next to their bodies.

According to the sister of the deceased woman, the 3 lived together after the mother and son returned to Chiang Mai from Bangkok 4 years ago. Over the past few months, however, both mother and son had been complaining over their financial situation. As reported in CityNews, both had lost their jobs and had no income.

The sister told police that she had left the house to run some errands and returned to find the dead bodies. A suicide note thanked the elder sister for her “good care and telling her that this was the best solution”.

Chiang Mai Police have also reported another case of suicide. This time a 46 year old school teacher was found dead in his car, also with a charcoal burner inside the vehicle. Relatives told police that the man had been suffering from “some illnesses and was also stressed by life and his financial burdens”. The man also left a suicide note for his family.

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