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Chiang Mai

Visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Park in Chiang Mai

The Thaiger

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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.

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.

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.

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.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

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Chiang Mai

Heavy rains leave provinces on flood alert

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Tropical storm Bebinca has now moved westwards into Myanmar as it continues to weaken but it’s left a trail of floods behind as home and farmland across the the north and north-east as rivers and canals swelled with the heavy rains. Around Petchaburi the situation is still perilous for residents in the wake of the Kaeng Krachan Dam.

In Chiang Rai, a large section of a half-completed flood barrier along Lam Nam Kham canal in Tambon Mae Kham, Mae Chan district, collapsed, inundating 230 homes in four villages with floodwater up to a metre deep. Residents of Ban Moung Khammai Moo 11 and Moo 13, Ban Rong Kor Moo 4 and Ban Santhat Moo 9 were sent scrambling as the tide submerged roads as well.

The runoff then also submerged 100 homes in Tambon Jajawatai further downstream.

Chiang Rai Governor Prajon Prajsakul dispatched officials to help people evacuate their homes and to distribute drinking water and food. Prajon said 76 villages in 23 sub-districts of six districts had seen flooding in recent days, but he expected most to return to normal soon if the rain stopped.

In Muang Nan, home to Tangjit Nusorn Market, flooding was not as severe. Nan Governor Paisal Wimonrat and disaster-prevention chief Narong Inso inspected the Ban Don Kaew sluice gate to supervise repairs to broken panels. With pumps installed around affected areas, officials were optimistic that the situation would improve – again, if the heavy rain lets up.

In Chiang Khan and Pak Chom districts in Loei, the Mekong River had risen to within one metre of breaching its banks as of 7am yesterday. Residents living along the river and connected canals were bracing for floods and prepared to evacuate if necessary, Chiang Khan district chief Chatchapong Art-kaew said. Downstream in Nong Khai, the Mekong reached its highest level of the year yesterday – 11.91 metres – with overflow spilling into to low-lying homes and farmland in Tha Bo district on the southern bank.

Sluice gates were closed and pumps installed in Muang Nong Khai and 3,000 sandbags were prepared.

In Phetchaburi, the Kaeng Krachan Dam was holding nearly 767 million cubic metres of water as of 6am yesterday, representing 108 per cent of its capacity. The sluice gates remained close to minimise impacts on nearby communities, but water was being released via spillways and 20 siphon pipes were installed to help drain it.

As the water was flowing at the rate of 247 cubic metres per second, from the Kaeng Krajan Dam to the downstream Phetch Dam, lowlying downstream areas located between these two dams were flooded. The Tha Yang, Ban Lat, Muang and Ban Laem districts which were downstream from the Phetch Damj were not yet flooded as of press time but Phetch River running through them were rising and inundating some riverside lowlaying areas.

Dozens of specially designed boats to push water were anchored in the river at Ban Laem with their engines trying to hasten the current towards the Gulf.In Kanchanaburi’s Sai Yok district, people living along the Kwai Noi River in Tha Nam Pak Saeng felt the double impact of flooding from the rain-swollen river and fromVajiralongkorn Dam, which was releasing water at a rate of 43 million cubic metres per day.

With that amount to be boosted to 53 million cubic metres from August 23-27, residents were told to move belongings to higher grounds.Residents along both sides of the Moei River in Tak’s Mae Sot district, meanwhile, were warned of possible flash floods. The river had risen close to the ”red alert” level near the First Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Tambon Tha Sai Luad, disaster-prevention chief Kittisak Boonchan said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Nan, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai report damage from current floods

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Weather warnings remain current for 38 Thai provinces affected by tropical storm Bebinka which is currently hovering over northern Vietnam, moving west. Meanwhile its affects are already being felt in the north.

Moutain run-off has hit and washed away three sections of the main Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai road early today. The Doi Saket police station in Chiang Rai was alerted at 3am that the run-off had taken out sections of the highway No 118 making the road impassable. The police station issued an urgent warning for motorists to instead use the Chiang Rai-Prao-Chiang Mai route.

The Highway Department is currently trying to provide urgent temporary repairs to the highway.

Meanwhile, a community on the Nan River bank in the downtown of the northern province has been inundated after the river burst a flood levee.

Nan Governor Phaisarn Wimolrat and Muang Nan Municipality Mayor Surapol Thiansutr visited the Ban Suan Tan community shortly after the river burst its flood levee at 6.40am this morning and the water from the bloated river gushed into the community, flooding it. The community was quickly under 30 centimetre-high water, causing problems for small vehicles.

Officials have since said that water has started seeping into other communities along the river.

Surapol said the water level in the river has surpassed the crisis level to now reach 8.4 metres – the same level as during the 2006 “great flood”.

But Surapol said the damage this year could be less than in 2006, because flood levees have subsequently been built along the river banks and local residents have been warned in advance of possible flooding.

At 7.10am workers were using sandbags to build flood levees around the Nan Provincial Hospital. At 7.50am, hospital officials closed the bridge near the hospital.

PHOTO: Nan provincial administration’s PR office

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Malaysian tourist caught lying to Chiang Mai police

The Thaiger & The Nation

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PHOTO: Chiangmai News

A Malaysian tourist is in hot water after telling Chiang Mai police that he’d been robbed by a foreigner in the city centre this morning. He’s now been charged with filing a false police complaint.

20 year old Pravin Krishnan was charged early this morning (Friday) less than two hours after lodging the complaint. Police say that he admitted to lying but claimed he did so because he’d run out of money and wanted an excuse for his parents in Malaysia to send him more.

Krishnan’s original complaint was that a Western man with a blond beard robbed him at knifepoint while he was walking along Loi Kroh Road at 1am.

Police went to the scene, spoke to residents and a security guard, but found no witnesses. They returned to the station and confronted Krishnan. The Malaysian admitted he’d made up the story.

He wanted the police complaint document to convince his parents to give him more money and didn’t want to be get in trouble for exceeding his holiday allowance. He’s now got a lot more explaining to do to his parents.

SOURCE: The Nation

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